[tweetmeme]Teens are one of the most coveted demographics by marketers. According to the study by Mintel International Group, teens spent a whopping $153 billion in 2006.
However, teens are not the easiest demographic to tap. Just ask Wal-Mart.
In July 2006, Wal-Mart launched a social networking site called The Hub (School Your Way). It was supposed to be an online hang out for teens, competing squarely with MySpace. Teens can post their profiles and network with other teens — and praise Wal-Mart’s cool clothes and electronics. The site was basically a thinly-veiled advertising vehicle for Wal-mart, rather than an honest attempt to create a new networking place for teens.
Unfortunately, teens smelled that the site was bogus and ignored the site. Four months later, Wal-Mart pulled the plug and decided to close the Hub
Here are some articles about this failed Wal-mart experiment:
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Big businesses such as the mighty Wal-mart certainly are not immune to missteps. Unfortunately, their mistakes are seen and reported by the media.
Wal-mart’s mistake with The Hub highlights the need to carefully study your target audience. You can’t set up a website and expect your target audience to flock to it and use it based on how you imagine it to be. You need to understand what makes your target market ticks. In the case of teens, they can smell phonies a mile away.