Kids are natural salespeople. They aren’t afraid to fail, they’re big dreamers, and their young minds know no boundaries. What more fertile ground could there be for planting the seeds of marketing fundamentals?Regardless of whether or not you work in marketing as a career, marketing has become an essential skill in business and life. It’s akin to sales, negotiation, and customer service. So why not learn it young? Imagine how much farther along they’ll be if they grasp concepts that even high-profile executives struggle with.
Here are three suggestions to help you start developing your marketing-minded munchkins.
Teach them the basics. If you’re brave, pull out a flip chart from your office and teach them with funny stick figure drawings. But make it fun. For example, get a hold of their favorite toy and walk them through the marketing efforts that were required to bring it to life. Just making them aware of how it works turns on their minds so they start recognizing it in other areas. Kids will appreciate that it’s “fun” learning with dad, outside the classroom.
Make it the subject of everyday conversations. Far too much time is wasted on meaningless conversations. With a little thought and effort, we could have fun, engage, build relationships AND teach our children all at the same time. Spur conversations with inquisitive questions. I have a blast injecting business lingo when I read my kids’ bedtime stories. They become smarter while thinking I’m the funniest thing in the world. You can also get curious. Make it your goal to ask more questions than your kid. Then, guide the conversation to an answer so you discover it together. Why would someone buy this? How did that company get their ad on the radio? How did you first learn about Pokemon?
Be the customer. Teach your kids to apply what they’ve learned in the family dynamic. If you’re the customer, they’ll start wondering how they can “sell” ideas to you. For example, they may want to convince you to let them go to a party. To appeal to you, they’ll have to learn to think from your perspective. After all, you’re now the customer. What’s important to mom or dad? How can I get them to make a micro-commitment? What would make it so they have to say “yes?” When kids start thinking in these terms, it lays the groundwork for an ownership mentality, which will become an asset to them later in life. With some practice, they can even start figuring out what works and doing it on their own.
That’s when it gets fun. They’ll start thinking beyond their years, thoughtfully convincing friends, teachers, managers and relatives of an idea or request while other kids their same age try the same old whiney tactics that have never worked in the history of ever. Don’t worry if you aren’t a marketing expert yourself. You’re an expert to them and that’s all they need right now. Besides, you can teach what you know and learn the rest together. Being a dad requires time. There is no shortcut. Some of my best bonding has been when I’m discussing and learning together with my children. And they appreciate me speaking and teaching them “adult” stuff in a fun way. There’s no better place for a kid to learn the incredibly valuable skill of marketing than in the home. And there’s no better time to start teaching them than today.
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