There has been some interesting research of late investigating the role of children in influencing the purchase decisions of their families. Traditionally, marketers have assumed that parents control all family purchase decisions, but there is a lot of research that proves otherwise.

Kids of all ages can influence their parents purchasing habits, not just the little ones but the big ones too. Teenagers especially have a huge impact on the purchase activities of the family: housing, holidays, electronic goods and especially computer goods. An article I read even described the parent as a ‘purchasing agent’ for the child. Sounds ridiculous, but when you really think about it, on many occasions it’s true.

Interestingly, some research also examined whether parents perceived their purchase decisions to be influenced by their children, and many drastically underestimated the amount.

As well as strongly influencing family purchase decisions, children are also the ‘consumers of the future’. They do follow brands and develop loyalty that can sometimes last for life.

So taking all of this into account, considering the children of your target market in your advertising plan is not such a crazy idea. It can be as simple as incorporating schools programs into your marketing, introducing a ‘kids corner’ in your store or reception area, having a jar of jellybeans at your front desk, or giving away itunes download vouchers as a value-added concept. You can also examine sports team sponsorship, creating family product packs, or allowing local kids to decorate your store at Christmas time. And, if you feel that children are really influential to the sale of your product, why not get some together and ask them their thoughts about your brand, your offering, your people and your advertising.

Marketing to children doesn’t have to be a licence for a lawsuit – it is about being more attentive to the factors that influence your target market. It can be as simple as changing just one thing about your product or your service. Best of all, kids are fun. Why not make your marketing fun too?!