Market research for young people and children alike is becoming more sought-after. They are single-handedly both setting and cancelling the current trends.
As we descend further into our world’s timeline, it is becoming more and more apparent that the young people and children of the world are of course our future, but more than ever. Therefore, it is crucial that researchers understand how to interact with these particular groups in order to achieve the highest quality outcomes.
Young people, ranging from young children to young adults, are still learning – which means that how they think, behave, and interact is developing as well. That means they’ll offer a different understanding when conducting market research as opposed to their adult counterparts. They have grown up in a different world of sorts and the time to hear them out more is more than overdue.
However, of course, when enlisting young children or adolescents researchers must be sure to follow all the rules of the MRS Code of Conduct and make sure that children’s safety and wellbeing are put ahead of anything else at all times. It will be a one-way route to having your research cut short, and even devastating for your business itself if you do not follow this code. Children of course require parental consent if they are under 18, and any advantage taken from this is highly unethical and never allowed.
There is indeed more to consider. If you’re looking to get the most effective results possible in conducting research qualitatively with children, you must heavily engage with the participants and make sure that they feel confident and comfortable enough to speak up.
Five ways to involve and empower 6-17-year-olds when conducting market research
1. Communicate with them in a dialect they know
First of all, you must be able to communicate effectively with children and other young people to be able to connect with children and young people and inspire them to become more comfortable. Make use of simple language that is easily comprehendible, however, at the same time try not to treat them like babies. Young people really appreciate opening up to older people when they treat them as though they are equals. Treating them as you would anyone else is the best course of action, just of course with a simpler dialect.
It is commonly believed it is the case that Gen Z and Millennials have very small attention spans (under 10 seconds). Can you be surprised? The majority of this age bracket have grown up with constant advertisements, films and tv shows at the touch of a finger and miniature portable laptops (smartphones) in their pockets at all times!
From this, we can easily conclude that they are more likely to communicate quickly and more effectively in brief bursts; you must communicate your message in a concise and clear manner. You also want to be more mindful of acting professional yet friendly. We would not recommend using slang terms or being less professional in order to ‘connect’ with them, as they still need to be aware that they are participating in research and we need honest and serious answers. However, being more relatable and friendly will help make them more comfortable and willing to listen to what you have to say.
It has also been found to make a point of ensuring that the young participants actually know what market research is and what they are actually helping towards. Some studies where parents can be present can result in the parent kind of just talking for the child and not properly including them however they themselves are more helpful if they know what their actual purpose in the particular market research study is!
2. Make sure you pick the correct place
Your choice of venue whether it’s a real location or an online platform will have a significant influence on how children and teens react to your research.
If you’re looking for an actual venue, you’ll have to pick an environment that is secure and can ensure your young audience feel comfortable. Avoid classrooms, boardrooms and any other place that might be intimidating. Instead, attempt to create a comfortable enjoyable and comfortable setting such as sitting on a couch or bean bag instead of leaning on a desk. Young people will associate classrooms etc with their usual setting and this will not be interesting nor fun for them. To incentivise them to engage more, this is why picking a fun, easy going location will help drastically.
However, when conducting research on the internet you’ll have to pick the right platform. You can, for instance make video call interviews in your home, where children will feel at ease, as opposed to having a bland medical type background. 1-to-1 calls are particularly beneficial for making young minds feel at ease. This gives them complete privacy and they won’t be feeling at a disadvantage or feel as self-conscious as they would in a group situation. As we know, everyone is influenced by those around them, but it is much more impactful in children. They will be far more interactive if you have them alone with their parents or guardians.
Today’s youth are a “mobile-first generation” so you could even encourage them to take part using their phones as opposed to having to set up a computer which may feel more professional and nerve inducing.
Online communities for the market research also provide a fantastic opportunity to interact with youngsters and share the thoughts of their peers and share ideas. Since they can be designed that look and feel like the popular social media platforms they are immediately familiar and accessible to young, technologically adept users, which can encourage them to participate.
3. You must ensure that they are reassured.
In conducting research qualitatively with children, it is crucial to keep them reassured throughout the process to allow them to express their views.
Make sure that their responses to market research questions will be kept confidential and will not be shared with other family members or friends. Also, stress you won’t In the end, if they feel pressure to respond in a way that is ‘right’ or are worried of the possibility that their friends will discover the truth, you can’t be sure if they’re going to be able to open up. It helps to reassure them that their results will be anonymous and anything said will 100% stay between yourselves and them (and anyone minding them if they are under 16).
It is important not to ignore or disregard any of their answers – make sure they understand that you are keen to hear the things they have to say, and you respect their opinions by keeping eye contact and paying attention to your body expressions. If they go off on a tangent, be patient and guide them to stay on course. In doing this, they’ll feel more confident and feel as if the message they’re expressing is important. This makes them more likely to express their thoughts and feelings. Young people can get very shy without the correct encouragement and so some extra acknowledgment on your side of this will help them a lot.
4. Be creative, visual and social
In conducting research qualitatively with young people, it is important to think outside of the box. Let your childish side out and consider what you were most interested in when you were younger so that you can ensure they are engaged and excited. Make use of interactive and imaginative ways to inspire them to participate like making posters or mood boards, and make sure that the array of tasks that you provide are presented in bite-sized pieces to keep them engaged.
Gen Zs across the UK are estimated to spend 10.6 hours online per day and the internet is the place where they feel comfortable! Incorporating this into your studies will go a long way. Young people do not tend to take to change easily and must be heavily influenced to do so, so keeping your research in the realm of what they are used to or usually do will yield strong results. For example, younger people are very attuned to platforms like Instagram, so if you are trying to conduct say a survey, implementing it in such a way that looks and acts like an Instagram poll will make the usability of your research incredibly easy for your young participants. It is also possible to make use of ’emojis’ to get them to rate their satisfaction levels. Have fun, play around with it and be creative!
5. Choose the appropriate market research methods
The method you choose to use can be a huge influence on how successful your work with your young respondents is.
Activities for groups like focus groups are generally a fantastic way to motivate people to share their thoughts and talk, however the situation may be different if you have more sensitive topics such as older children, shy people, again you may want to think about one-on-one interviews.
Friendship pairs, on the other hand, can be a fantastic method for conducting studies with children and young people since it implies they can bounce off each who is not their own and engage in a conversation without feeling pressured or being shy.
As mentioned briefly earlier, of course mobile-based research is always appealing to younger viewers. So, you might want to consider surveys online for keeping them entertained. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s short and quick to keep your audience interested!
You need to evaluate as to whether you would enjoy doing the study or not, and if you don’t, they definitely will not! As research on young people and children grows more well-known, it is crucial to know how you can connect with children and young people and get them involved so that you can ensure you get the most effective participants and get the most effective outcomes for the qualitative study you conduct. Although you want the most generalisable group of participants possible for your research, however you do need to acknowledge that if a person is particularly shy and unwilling to partake, it is better to use someone else. It is always good as mentioned to offer young participants to have someone with them as it can be quite daunting to partake in market research even as an adult alone!
I think we have outlined the key points to consider when conducting studies with individuals under the age of 18. Of course, secondary market research is much easier to obtain than running your entire own project, however specific studies towards those under the age of 18 are very tricky to navigate. It does seem that if you want exact data of this form, you do need to get yourself to some reputable market research firms!
Thank you for reading! If you are looking to either conduct your own primary market research, or even just take part in any of our market research studies please do not hesitate to navigate to either our Project Enquiry Page or to our list of Active Projects! From there you can also observe the multitude of different types of market research methods we accommodate on our platform.