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Re: AM: marketing online to teens

Subject:     Re: AM: marketing online to teens
From:     Jim Harmon <>
Date:     Mon, 20 Apr 1998 22:39:24 -0400
Organization:     The Telephone Connection
References:     <>

lauraww wrote:
> Hello all,
> I'm working with a Web site targeted at teenage girls that may want to
> set up storefronts on the site.  I have two questions:

This sounds like a good idea...

The only thing I can think of as a barrier to successfully achieving
this is the generalized observation that "Girls don't DO computers" on
the scale that "Boys" do.

For a number of years Video Games manufacturers have had marked lack of
penetration into the teen female market.  The market refused to develop
despite millions of dollars in R&D and market research, but now there's
a different generation of young people in the disposable income range,
and the ratio seems to be changing, but there is still a large "Why do I
want to be on the computer when I have a Mall?" mentality.

Ultimately, the obstacle comes down to tactile interfacing.  The games
excite young men through the visual cues and violent content for sure,
but even in a totally "romantic" themeworld, there isn't any tactile
stimulation available to keep the interest of the young ladies.

The internet has VERY limited tactile capacity, but the quality of
video/audio presentation is getting so much better, that it's becoming a
smaller obstacle:

Historically --not to be sexist-- Women "tend to" buy what they find
after long periods of "hands on" browsing, where actually touching the
product is perhaps the most important (next to price) reason for buying

If you have a good plan to overcome that, I think you have a great "app"
for the Web.  :)

> 1) have any of you had any experience marketing to this age group?

No, but I've heard that statistically, 70-80% of ALL advertising is
geared for the market segment with a) disposable income, and b) ample
disposable time.  This generally fits the population of young adults
between the age of 14 and 19.

If you generalize that young women are more "shopping oriented" then
young men, you might say that 50% -or more- of *all* commercial
advertising is targetted at teen girls.

This is definitely in your favor!  :)

> 2) what are the legal considerations to marketing to this age group?  
> In particular, if you want to process credit card transactions, what 
> are the ramifications if the person using the charge card is under 18? 
> Who is liable, the minor or her parent?  What are the other 
> considerations in dealing in credit card transactions with this age 
> group?

(The following are my OPINIONS, I am *not* a lawyer.  :-)

The issuer of the card will hold the account "owner" responsible
regardless of age, as long as the account holder is legally qualified to
enter a binding contract.  

If the minor uses the parent's card, even without permission, the
parents should be liable for any fraudulent or unauthorized use, which
MAY be limited to their "deductable" liability for a stolen or lost
card, properly reported stolen or lost prior to the use.

If the teen uses a parent's card, the parent is/should be legally
obligated to cover the expendature of the teen, however, if the teen
stole the card from the parents, the teen should be criminally liable.

The law pretty generally holds parents liable in situations where a
minor causes monetary damages, but holds the minor liable for physical
damages if no signifigant monetary damage is involved.

Other considerations:

For a minor to hold their own card, a parent or gaurdian must co-sign
the application, effectively binding them to financial obligation on the
minor's incurred debt.

> I'd appreciate any information or referrals to sources of information 
> on the above.
> Thanks!
> Laura Weiss

   Jim Harmon                           The Telephone Connection                          Rockville, Maryland

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