Licensing Agency, Chapter Two: The March of the Tweenies

In crafting licensing strategies that deliver the most viable profit margins, retailers must understand — and respect — demographic and underlying pyschological factors if they aspire to pluck this ripe-for-the-picking market.   Our previous article examined the conditions that created markets for the licensed products and brands of hot new music stars.  Now, we’ll take a look at the consumers buying this merchandise, and why they are buying it.

“Consumers” are usually defined in the traditional sense, as the people who toil to earn livings and carve out disposable incomes.  But this definition is just smoke and mirrors in the world of musical artist licensing.  While adults conduct the actual purchase transactions, those who actually drive purchasing decisions are the tweenies.

On the off chance that you’ve been meditating in a Tibetan monastery for the last few years, tweenies are defined as pre-teen and young teenaged females.  These are the girls who rabidly follow the Taylor Swifts, the Miley Cryuses, and the Justin Biebers.  (As for Bieber, we did warn you in the prior article that many of these artists burn out as quickly as candles on a birthday cake.)

Tweenies are simultaneously innocent and world-weary. Tweenies must be clothed, coiffed, and accessorized in the most au currant trends.  They must follow the performers shoved down their throats via commercial radio/Clear Channel.  Tweenies who stray from the accepted norm suffer the social equivalent of throat slitting by their peers.   Tweenies must fit in; they must conform.  Caught up in dramatic physical and emotional flux, they find safety in numbers; therefore, uniqueness is an abomination.

Oddly enough, psychologists postulate that rabid conformance is actually the basis by which tweenies come to develop their subsequently individual personalities.  But marketing mavens are wiser than psychologists, and richer — for tweenies comprise a huge segment of the marketplace.

Like sadists wielding Iron Maidens upon hapless victims, tweenies exert tremendous pressure upon their parents to buy them their hearts’ desires.  And while they may not achieve their every whim, tweenies usually win, rotten economy notwithstanding.  Guilt, stress, and the desire to project facades of perfection are key factors in getting their parents to part with their hard earned money, and the tweenies are keenly aware of these weaknesses.

As delectable a market as tweenies may appear, it is also fickle.  Tweenies have the attention span of gnats.  They bend with the wind, or at least, the play lists on commercial radio, which is why branding and marketing musical artists to them is both lucrative and risky as hell.


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