Wendy Olson Killion was talking to her 7- and 9-year-old children about where to visit after getting them their passports. Without missing a beat, the younger of the two suggested taking a trip on the bullet train in Japan. How did her son happen to know about that particular option? "He told me he was watching Carmen Sandiego on Netflix on his tablet and it came up," says Killion, VP of business development at Expedia Group Media Solutions. "He just has access to so much information."

For marketers eager to reach generation Alpha, the story is instructive. Born — and yet-to-be born — between 2010 and 2025, Alphas are conditioned to an always-on society and the ongoing screenification of culture. Dubbed Alphas by Australian social scientist Mark McCrindle, this is the first generation entirely born in the 21st century — "alpha" is the first letter of the Greek alphabet — and Alphas probably knew their way around an iPad before they learned how to walk. Mostly the progeny of tech-savvy millennials, they live in a digital second skin and take for granted a connected world in which they have 24-7 access to a constant flow of information. Equally important — even though they're barely old enough to cross the street unaccompanied — they have an adult-sized influence on their household's purchasing behavior.