6 Marketing Insights From Kids

The below article has been contributed by Rajeev Nagi, Vice President- Commercial Excellence at AstraZeneca India

As marketing professionals, we take our lives a wee bit seriously and get enamoured with glossy presentations, tons of data on spread-sheets and exhaustive talking points, forgetting in the heat of the process, the fundamentals of what we are supposed to do in the first place.

In very simple words, the purpose of all marketing is to help connect people through a transactional relationship, in a manner that they feel happy about doing so. The buyer feels happy about having bought, the seller feels happy about having sold. If both continue feeling happy about this, the relationship will only grow.

Very curiously, watching my toddler niece go about her day – got me thinking that kids can perhaps teach us or rather remind us marketers, several lessons on how to go about our art!

children's cartoon image

So, here is what I think a marketer can learn from observing kids:

1) Get passionately curious

Look at kids- they are fascinated by everything they see around themselves: the sights, the sounds, the smells – they soak in everything around them. This keen eye for the details completely excludes the possibility of taking something for granted, because they don’t really know what it means! No less a mind than Albert Einstein had said: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious”.

Would ‘consumer insights’ that we pick, be different if we were to adopt this attitude? Think about it!

2) Explore relentlessly

A toddler who has just learnt crawling will leave nothing unexplored- every wardrobe, every drawer… A kid in the park will do a reconnaissance of every nook, corner, twig and tree. As Steve Jobs had said famously in his speech at Stanford, you never know how the dots will connect!

What would come out of our definitions of ‘the external environment’ or ‘target market’, if we were to adopt this attitude too?

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 3) Play to learn

A kid obviously doesn’t understand experiential learning, but does it all the time. Go to a playschool, and you will know what I mean! Experiential learning is the most powerful way to learn. Corporates call it ‘on the job learning’; trainers weave this in through simulations. As marketers, what we need to remember though, is that it is the ‘emotion of the experience’, and not just the experience, that ensures maximum learning & stickiness of messaging. The increasing use of experiential marketing by brands, is a healthy sign that this is a lesson that is fast being appreciated and adopted.

Could we use an experiential approach to engage more with our customers & to drive our message?

4) Speaking the right language

Babies learn to speak the first word, that first statement after having been exposed to a barrage of gibberish and myriad sounds, and even languages..… Ever wondered how they learn to speak to their parents’ in the latter’s own language?

The writing on the wall being that, as marketers – we should be careful not to get carried away with our own industry jargons & rather speak in a language that the buyer would ‘instinctively’ understand.

5) Cartoons, and the world of rainbow colours

Ever seen a kid mesmerized with a squeaky cartoon character? Ever seen the look of free-spirited bewilderment in a kid’s eyes when (s)he sees a rainbow in the skies, or a smattering of bright colours on a hoarding? As grown-ups, we sometimes forget – but we never really lose this fascination for vivid colours and playful cartoons.

Can we use this insight as we think about our brand imagery or the colours that we use to create a brand persona? Can our marketing create the same mesmerizing effect?

6) The enchanting world of stories

As kids, we fall in love with stories – of enchanting princesses and brave warriors. Like in many other cultures, stories in the Indian context have always been told to teach lessons. So, while the Mahabharata teaches us that, “Good always wins over evil”, the ever popular Panchatantra had many such lessons couched in it. Stories then are vessels that carry messages in the most engaging way.

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While we make our beautifully crafted presentations with thousands of insights and millions of data points – can we tell it as a story instead?

Successful marketers intuitively know that it’s finally all about making that ‘human connect’. Maybe it’s time to shrug off the B-School baggage, and just learn the best from the kids.

What do you think?

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