I'm off to Children: Seen and heard, a one-day event for agencies and clients organised by Research Conferences, in London tomorrow.
As its name suggests, marketing to children will be the main topic under discussion at the conference. Traditional advertiser concerns such as the influence of family relationships on buying behaviour and how best to target brands to younger consumers will be explored, along with more contemporary subjects such as tracking web usage and online "buzz" among under-18s. After all, as part of the web-driven revolution in media consumption of recent years, children have increasingly turned to the internet to play games, to watch videos and listen to music, or to chat to each other via blogs and social networks.
Needless to say, this promises to be a really interesting day, with lots of competing - and conflicting - views from the platform. Kicking off proceedings is Marc Goodchild, head of interactive and on-demand for BBC Children's, whose morning keynote speech will cover the opportunities kids' online use gives to market research professionals, and the extent to which playing games online balances with traditional play. Child-focused marketing (and market research) has always provoked controversy, and Agnes Nairn of the EM-Lyon Business School, will talk about the various ethical challenges associated with the topic later in the day. A panel discussion in the afternoon will also focus on the ethics of using under-18s for online market research.
The closing keynote will be given by Wassime Achkar, research and audience supervisor for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Children's Channel, who will be discussing the seemingly infinite diversity of the global under-18 audience. Viewers are divided and subdivided by geography, culture, economic situation and language - a headache for marketers who wish to communicate a single message.
Food for thought. I'll put up some key ideas/stats from the conference on the blog when I get back.