What should an online presentation for kids look like, or How do you sell what adults pay?


Let’s agree from the beginning that this text is primarily about children. Not minors in general, especially since the age of majority varies greatly from country to country, but only those who have not yet entered the rebellious teenage period of their lives. Teenagers and students are special categories of clients and we will talk about them another time.

Now, back to the kids. Even today, when their role in the “chain of consumption” does not require additional evidence, you can find managers, marketers and sellers who do not bother to create online content aimed at children. “Why?”, they ask, “When the parents pay anyway?”

Especially for them, let’s ask, how often have you encountered situations when a child is trying to convince you of something, and they stubbornly refuse to accept arguments that are undeniable, at first glance?

A typical example — parents are trying to send their child to a summer camp for two or three weeks. They show them colorful slides and videos from the presentation on the camp’s website, tell them how wonderful the nature is there, how great it will be to swim in the lake, walk in the woods, climb mountains, breathe fresh air, make new acquaintances, and in general — to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. But instead of joyful: “Yay, how great, thank you, it’s time to pack a backpack!” they get, at best, a wary and skeptical reaction.

Parents then play their trump card — ‘If we had the opportunity, we would go on vacation in that camp!’. But the reaction from the child does not change. Why? The parents are being completely sincere, but the problem is that they are talking about their dreams. It is they who would like a change of scenery and a vacation from the hustle and bustle of the city. Their arguments are designed for adults.

A child sees it all in a completely different light. Yes, they are inclined to search for new impressions and adventures, as they spread their wings out in the world and in all kinds of situations. But for them the issue of safety plays a huge role. The child is trying to gradually expand “their territory”, in the center of which is an island of safety — their home with adults on whose protection and guardianship they are used to relying on, and whom, we might say, they have learned how to manipulate well. On “their own territory” they know who is their friend and who is their enemy, and what to do when they encounter one or the other. Summer camp is an absolute Terra incognita. Unfamiliar adults, unfamiliar peers. Whenever we meet someone new we must build new relationships, and children know very well that this is a difficult, and not always pleasant, process. And all of this will take place in complete isolation from everything they associate with safety. In completely unfamiliar terrain.

In the above example, the parents completely fail in their attempts because they draw the child’s attention to the very things that cause them anxiety. In addition, they have not taken into account that the parts of the child’s brain responsible for analytical and critical thinking are not as well developed as in adults. Unlike those responsible for emotions…

However, let’s not rush to accuse parents of being ill-prepared for the conversation. After all, they laid their cards out to their child, and they are the exact same cards that they were handed by the marketer, who was promoting the camp’s amenities. And they, in turn, created online content focused on an adult audience. And they were guided by the very argument that we have already mentioned — it’s not the children who pay, but the parents.

But the catch is that the ultimate consumer of any children’s goods and services is a child. Therefore, the ideal way to promote these is to make the child come to the parents and say: “I want!”

Moreover, it is worth thinking about children as a target audience even if you are promoting purely “adult” products. Growing your customer is a very effective long-term strategy. An excellent example of it is Andre Citroen, who in 1923 launched the production of children’s toy cars. Of course, these playthings were emblazoned with the Citroen logo.

Do not rush to grab your head and ask yourself when and where to find the time to study child psychology. We think that the tips you will find in this article will be enough to get you started.

Duration of the “children’s” online presentation

Let’s start with the good news. Despite the fact that, as commonly believed, it is more difficult for children to focus their attention, for presenters this fact is almost irrelevant. Why this is true is clear from the average time spent by children concentrating their attention: 2 years: 4–6 minutes, 4 years: 8–12 minutes, 6 years: 12–18 minutes, 8 years: 16–24 minutes, 10 years: 20–30 minutes, 12 years: 24–36 minutes (Ready Kids).

As you can see, even if you have to make a twenty-minute children’s presentation using the Kawasaki formula, you can pretty much count on the attention of most of your audience.

Of course, for children’s online marketing content (as well as adult content), 20 minutes is too long. The average viewing time for a modern online presentation is 4.24 minutes for desktop and 3.41 minutes for mobile devices (Storydoc). That’s why we recommend targeting a 3–4 minute length for the main body of the presentation.

Work with emotions and associations rather than numbers and arguments

Even marketing content aimed at adults should not only satisfy your appetite, but also please your senses. With children, however, emotions definitely come first. Don’t try to convince kids with numbers, calculations, and references to studies. Even simple arguments like “it’s good for you” or “it helps you be healthy/strong/smart/beautiful” may not appeal to a child unless they are generously flavored with images that evoke an emotional response.

To illustrate this, let’s call on the Ninja Turtles for help. Why do you think Pizza Hut decided to partner with a franchise about the adventures of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo? This was because they perfectly promoted the company’s main product among children, in whom these characters evoke a lively emotional response. It is not necessary to explain anything about the quality of the products used in the manufacture of their pizza. Or rather, it is necessary, but this is information for the parents. Children have enough with their association of a specific type of pizza with brave, dexterous, and witty heroes, who confidently defeat a variety of villains.

Ideally, online presentations for children should work in a similar way. Play on their emotions and evoke positive associations, rather than trying to reach the child with rational information. In the mind of a child, a simple “like” (or “dislike”) can outweigh any argument, even the most indisputable.

Take the child’s problems and tasks seriously

As adults, we love to talk about our “carefree childhoods”. You can even hear students say something like, “I remember the nonsense that bothered and worried me during my school years.” What should we say about those who now have their heads plunged into the quagmire of work, family relations, utility payments, mortgages and the other “delights” of adult life. But in fact, the child has to resolve tasks that are rather more, not less, complex. They are constantly learning about themselves and the world, trying to find their place in the surrounding reality, where every day you have to face something completely new and unfamiliar. And all this against the background of the rapid changes associated with their physical, intellectual, and emotional growth, which an adult could never dream of enduring.

A marketer’s thoughtful immersion into the world of children’s interests, problems, and challenges is one of the keys to success. Take clothing, for example. An adult will first of all pay attention to a garment’s conformity to fashion. But a child has other questions when looking at it. “Does this jacket have enough comfortable and spacious pockets?”, “Will this shirt tear on branches?”, “Are these sneakers strong enough to play soccer in?” — and so forth.

By learning to take children’s challenges seriously and demonstrating in your presentations how the product or service being promoted solves them, you’re sure to succeed with your audience.

Use more visual content and less text

To emphasize the importance of the headline, let’s repeat part of it like this: ‘MORE VISUAL CONTENT’. Do you catch what we’re implying? Even adult audiences prefer presentations to have more visuals in general (Dectopus), and video in particular (Storydoc). What’s more, the presence of video in online marketing content increases the likelihood of purchase by 85% (CustomShow). Obviously, in the case of children, the role of visualization is even greater.

So let’s put it this way — in the case of a child audience, try to present all information without using text and with a minimal use of “talking heads”. At the same time, you should not rely on static pictures, but on video and animation. Forget about presentation in the style of: “I’ll write the text first, and then come up with some illustrations”. Do the opposite — immediately present the script in the form of pictures, video, and animation.

Pay attention to the fact that the average rate for children’s perception of spoken information is 124 words per minute (Ethos3). Based on this, you can easily calculate how much text you can voice in a child’s online presentation.

Don’t forget about parents

When creating content for an audience of children, it is absolutely necessary to embed information that is addressed to their “wallets” — otherwise known as their parents. This, let’s face it, is quite difficult, because, as already mentioned, children and adults are often interested in completely different information about a product or service. Perhaps the best option is to put links that parents can click on to discover information that is relevant to them throughout the course of the online presentation, such as the product composition, material safety, recommendations from the Ministry of Health, safety rules and age restrictions. You can even link a special presentation for parents within a presentation for children. This will not break the overall style of the children’s presentation, and will also show parents that you are serious about all the “adult” issues.

Engage, play, encourage

Active viewer participation in an online presentation is one of the marketer’s main tools. According to research, 64% of viewers believe that interactivity makes a presentation more attractive than usual, and 70% of marketers say it plays a key role in it (Duarte).

The easiest way to engage children in a presentation is to supplement it with a variety of games. More than 90% of children regularly play digital games (Jan L. Plass, Bruce D. Homer, Foundations of Game-Based Learning). It’s time to forget the grumbling about the “negative impact of computer games”. Current research shows that they have become an important cultural phenomenon, developing social skills, introducing reading skills, and even improving writing ability (CNN).

Play is a much more natural process for children than passively listening to something. The key is to make sure that the game you offer them is really interesting to them. You might not want to assume that they will like tests and surveys — this method may well trigger associations with school. Of course, there are many children who genuinely love school, but it is better not to risk it. In general, being able to manipulate interactive slides and take control of computer characters is probably more appropriate for a child audience.

Another good approach is to allow children to share their opinions in one way or another. Keep in mind that not all children are ready to speak up. Embarrassment and fear of being ridiculed are normal. Participation from another child presenter or, alternatively, a puppet who acts like a child, can help to loosen them up. By expressing their opinions and participating in interactive tasks these types of co-hosts can assist child viewers in feeling more comfortable.

Keep in mind that in any case, active participation in a presentation requires encouragement from the presenters. And not a formal “well done”, but personalalized attention, which will take into account the input made and spoken by each child. It is clear that interactive online presentations require more time to organize and conduct, but as already mentioned, it is worth it. Moreover, today there are solutions, such as Lead Catcher from R4P, that enable you to utilize interactive presentations outside of live broadcasts. Interactive presentations are now quite possible when using recorded material, and connecting to them, if necessary, the moment someone starts watching them.

Talk to your kids like a marketer talks to a customer

We left this tip for last because we want to emphasize it. You will often find that salespeople and marketers struggle to find the right communication style with children. The goal is to encourage children to open up and take in the information carefully and with trust. Some marketers start to position themselves as teachers, others try to talk to children as their peers, and some even go to the honey-scented intonation of movie nannies and grandmothers. All of this causes children to get bored, annoyed, or even laugh evilly, depending on the circumstances.

In fact, the best choice in these cases is the simplest way. Be yourself. That is, a marketer communicating with a customer. No more and no less. Of course, with an allowance for the child audience, for which “adult” jokes and comparisons are not appropriate.

If you have taken into account all the previous tips and created a bright, imaginative, interactive presentation that is not overloaded with textual information and focused on solving real children’s problems, then you have already made all the necessary adjustments for your audience. There is absolutely no need to pussyfoot around, try to copy children’s slang, and even less to teach in a mentor’s tone.

Good luck to everyone, successful presentations and high income!

Originally published at https://roi4presenter.com on September 20, 2023.

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