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  What Kids Buy And Why: The Psychology of Marketing To Kids What Kids Buy And Why
The Psychology of Marketing To Kids
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by Dan S. Acuff, Ph.D. with Robert H. Reiher, Ph.D.
Quality Paperback, 216 pages, 6 x 9 1/2 inches
Publisher: Free Press (Simon & Schuster); ISBN: 0684871173; ©1997
Catalog# 1173-2
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What's with today's kids? Here is a one-stop tool for understanding what children of all ages want to buy. If you're in the business of marketing or developing products and programs for kids, What Kids Buy And Why belongs in your office.

Dan S. AcuffHow can you create outstanding products and programs that will win in the marketplace and in the hearts of kids and parents? Dan S. Acuff and Robert H. Reiher have invented a development and marketing process called Youth Market Systems that puts the needs, abilities, and interests of kids first. This system makes sure you won't miss the mark whether you're trying to reach young children or teens, boys or girls, or whether you're selling toys, sports equipment, snacks, school supplies, or software.

Based on the latest child development research, What Kids Buy and Why is chock-full of provocative information about the cognitive, emotional, and social needs of each age group. This book tells you -- among other things -- why 3-through-7-year-olds love things that transform, why 8-through-12-year-olds love to collect stuff, how the play patterns of boys and girls differ, and why kids of all ages love slapstick.

What Kids Buy and Why is the result of Acuff and Reiher's almost twenty years of consulting with high-profile clients including Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Microsoft, Nestle, Tyco, Disney, Pepsi, Warner Brothers, LucasFilm, Amblin/Spielberg, Mattel, Hasbro, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Quaker Oats, General Mills, Broderbund, Bandai, Sega, ABC, CBS, I-HOP, Domino's, Hardee's, and Kellogg's.

Special features include:

  • An innovative matrix for speedy, accurate product analysis and program development
  • A clear, step-by-step process for making decisions that increase your product's appeal to kids
  • Tools and techniques for creating characters that kids love

About The Authors...

Dan S. Acuff, Ph.D., is President of Youth Market System Consulting and, along with Dr. Robert H. Reiher, is among the world's leading specialists on youth-related products and programs. He has served as a consultant to more than fifty major kid-targeting corporations. Dr. Acuff lives and works in Glendale, California.

Robert H. Reiher, Ph.D., serves as Vice President and Director of Research for YMS. Dr. Reiher is also President and founder of Innertainment, a company committed to the creation and marketing of products and programs that have positive impact on today's youth. Dr. Reiher is based in La Canada, California.

f rom the book...

Since 1989 the birth rate of children in the United States alone has jumped from approximately 3.5 million a year to over 4 million, maintaining a "baby-boom," pace into the mid 1990's. This, along with a variety of socio-cultural changes, translates to direct-purchase and purchase-influence "kid power" that exceeds $200 billion a year.

This kid-buying power is increasing. With societal changes such as those brought on by the substantial shift from mothers working at home to mothers working outside the home, and the increase in single-parent families, children have had to take on more responsibility. This includes much more direct-purchasing activity for themselves and their families as well as substantially more influence when it comes to which restaurants and fast-food outlets to frequent, which pizza to order, which groceries and home necessities to buy, which computer systems, which brands of clothing even which type of automobile to buy for the family.

Kids have never before wielded the purchase power that they wield today. Dr. James McNeal, in his book Kids as Customers, has even coined the term filiarchy to describe the burgeoning potency of today's young people in the marketplace.

With so much direct purchase power at stake it is critical to understand just who these kids are. In recent years a variety of entities have entered the scene with the intent of educating corporate America and other interested individuals about "kids" -- about what's motivating them, their preferences, their differences by gender and age, the latest kid and youth trends. Whereas a few years ago there were no conferences on product development on marketing to kids, now there are a variety of these conferences each year attended by hundreds and organized and presented by groups including the International Quality and Productivity Center, the Institute for International Research, and the Marketing to Kids Report. There are also two periodicals which cover kids as consumers and effective approaches to marketing to them: the Marketing to Kids Report just cited, and Selling to Kids.

People targeting kids are thirsty for more knowledge about today's young people. What are the success stories in marketing to kids and their parents? Why have many kid-targeted products and programs failed? Most important, what are the inner workings of today's kids as to their preferences, their tastes, their purchasing behavior? Essential insights into these inner workings -- the psychological underpinnings of kids and their motivations, interests, and behavior -- form the central focus of this book.

WKB is a guide to the successful creation, development, and marketing of products and programs targeted to today's youth ages birth through the teen years. "Products" include virtually anything targeted for sale to kids, such as toys, games, sporting goods, foods, software, publications, clothing, and such personal hygiene items as shampoo or toothpaste. "Programs" include such entertainment programming as feature films, TV animation, and electronic games, and such "edutainment" as educational software. In Chapter l, we look at what it takes to be a winner among the proliferation of products and programs aimed at today's youth.

Chapter 2 raises the issue of "kid empowerment." Beyond what "wins" at the cash registers or the box office, which products and programs contribute to the positive growth and development of children, and which may actually result in a negative impact? It's very important to get our priorities straight in terms of what's good and bad for kids as we develop and launch kid-targeted products and programs. While this book will facilitate the successful creation, development, and marketing of any product or program targeted to kids, our goal is to encourage and promote the development of products and programs that empower -- that is, those that advance the positive development and growth of children and young people.

Chapter 3 presents a step-by-step guide to the successful development of kid-targeted products and programs. One by one, the important considerations and steps necessary in order to maximize one's chances for success are detailed.

Special attention throughout WKB is paid to age segmentation and targeting. The key differences, for example, between 3-through-7-year-olds and 8-through-12-year-olds and other "age segments" will be explored thoroughly in Chapters 4 through 8. What are the differences in children's neurological or brain development? What is going on with each age child socially? Emotionally? Morally? How do they perceive verbal and visual information at different ages and stages of development? What types of humor appeal to young people at what ages? How must gender differences be taken into account along the product and program-development path, as children move through these developmental stages? What are the key implications of all this information for successful product and program development and marketing?

In Chapter 9, entitled "Barbie Meets Godzilla," gender differences are presented in detail along with numerous examples. In Chapter 10, "Kids and Characters," the appeal of and effective use of cartoon-like characters and sports and entertainment personalities is examined. In Chapter 11 the arena of kid marketing is explored, including insights into effective youth-targeted naming, packaging, promotions, and advertising. Finally, Chapter 12 sums up what we have learned.

WKB is intended for a wide range of readers. Whether you are charged with new product or program creation, development, or marketing in the corporate world in America or abroad; whether you are an independent developer, an educator, or a parent, access to the information and insights provided in WKB will greatly assist you. Statistics show that in most product and program categories as many as 80 percent of new ideas outright fail, or at best fall short of meeting company expectations in the kids marketplace. While there is no insurance policy that will magically guarantee your success, what will make the difference in turning this statistic in your favor is an in-depth working knowledge of and insight into the inner life of the child as the consumer and user of your products and programs.

Table Of Contents


Chapter 1: A Winning Formula

Chapter 2: Kid Empowerment

Chapter 3: The YMS Guide to Successful Product and Program Development

Chapter 4: Birth Through Age 2: The Dependency/Exploratory Stage

Chapter 5: Ages 3 Through 7: The Emerging-Autonomy Stage

Chapter 6: Ages 8 Through 12: The Rule/Role Stage

Chapter 7: Ages 13 Through 15: Early Adolescence

Chapter 8: Ages 16 Through 19: Late Adolescence

Chapter 9: Gender Differences: Barbie Meets Godzilla

Chapter 10: Kids and Characters

Chapter 11: Successful Marketing to Kids

Chapter 12: In Conclusion

Notes / Index

Praise For What Kids Buy And Why

"With more and more marketers charging into the youth market, it's more critical than ever that we have a thorough understanding of today's young consumers. The Youth Market Systems approach is unparalleled in providing today's marketers with that very important understanding. What Kids Buy and Why is a must read for anyone committed to playing in the youth marketplace and dedicated to being successful in it."
-- Paul Kurnit, President, Griffin-Bacal

"What Drs. Acuff and Reiher have accomplished is unprecedented. They've taken proven principles of child development and turned them into an innovative, breakthrough approach to the creation of winning products and programs for kids. What Kids Buy and Why is a foundational work for all kid-targeting industries."
-- Candi Schwartz, Kid Power Conference Director, Marketing Advisory Council

What Kids Buy And Why: The Psychology of Marketing To Kids
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Catalog# 1173-2


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