Chopra to Marketers: Listen to Your Kids

Chopra to Marketers: Listen to Your Kids
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ORLANDO, Fla. — As judged by the “Inspired Ideas” session at last week’s CTAM Summit, marketers would be wise to look to young consumers for inspiration in their campaigns.

In the first of the session’s three presentations, Deepak Chopra, author and founder of The Chopra Center, preached the idea that social networks are an extension of our minds. He said the brains of heavy users of social networks — children under 17 — are entering the next phase of human evolution, one that will be influenced by entertainment, technology and storytelling.

It is therefore paramount for marketers to cater to that demographic, Generation Z.

“The most important thing is to be in touch with children and grandchildren,” Chopra said. “If you don’t know what they’re talking about, we will soon be irrelevant.”

Ericka Pittman, vice president of Blue Flame Agency, highlighted a marketing strategy she calls “The Power of One” using the example of Carly Rae Jepsen, singer of the infectious pop song “Call Me Maybe.” Though Jepsen was a runner-up on Canadian Idol, she didn’t break out until Justin Bieber heard the song on the radio last winter and tweeted about it to his 20 million-plus followers.

Though marketers have traditionally extolled the virtues of economies of scale and power in numbers, “sometimes you overlook the No. 1,” she said. “The way that we’ve been doing business has got to change.”

In a world of savvy consumers, Pittman said the key to harnessing the power of one is invitation versus dictation.

“Think slightly differently about the way you think about scale,” she said. “Invite influential consumers into the conversation.”

Porter Bibb, managing partner of MediaTech Capital Partners, like Chopra, stressed the power of young consumers in a presentation titled, “The End of All Media as We Know It.”

“The cable industry is facing a real apocalypse,” he said, clarifying that he meant an apocalypse as in the original Greek meaning, “revelation,” not the end of the world.

If traditional media is ending, Bibb said the new beginning is video and social media as the new pillars of the entertainment ecosystem. To illustrate a fundamental shift in the way people watch TV, he cited a statistic that in five years the number of households with Internet- connected TVs will triple.

“The social TV ecosystem now drives views,” he said, noting that it’s important to listen to early adopters to adapt to the future of the industry. “It might not be a bad idea for people who run the industry to bring a teenager into the board room.”

Andrea Morabito is programming editor of Broadcasting & Cable.