Marketers are losing out by failing to recognise 11- and 12-year-old children as a distinct consumer group, according to research from specialist marketing agency, Kids Inc.
The consultancy has called the age group the “InBeTweeners” after finding that parents rather than peers or celebrities are the key role models for 11- and 12-year-olds. It adds that marketers need to tailor messages carefully for this age group as parents still make most of the major brand decisions.
Kids Inc director Sheena Horgan believes the findings contrast with the belief of many marketers and agencies that children “grow up younger” and make independent choices as consumers at an early age.
The research follows the recent outcry against brands marketing to children. It also comes as broadcast watchdog Ofcom research shows the public supports restrictions on junk food advertising.
Horgan explains: “This age group wavers between wanting to hang on to childhood and aspiring to be teenagers. A lot of brands say they don’t market to children under a certain age, but they need to be more careful about targeting their messages in the light of these findings.”
The research shows that 11- and 12-year-olds do have control over using new technology such as using mobile phones for socialising and computers for homework.
Horgan says this is because many parents do not understand the market.