Marketers have coveted the teen\/youth market for many years.\u00a0 As teens begin to work more after school jobs, their level of discretionary income without parental control continues to increase.\u00a0 Many industries have taken advantage of these trends, but what about telecom?\u00a0 Before you answer, a couple of interesting statistics to consider:\u2022\u00a0 Teens spend 200 days per year in the mall Teens spend $175 billion per year in these malls Most of this spending is in cash.\u2022\u00a0\u2022\u00a0So the teen market looks a little more interesting. Now the question is, how to market to these customers?\u00a0 Another interesting factoid is that although teenagers \u201cbrowse\u201d online, they \u201cbuy\u201d at the mall.\u00a0 If you think about this a bit, it makes obvious sense - for the most part, they don\u2019t have access to credit cards.\u00a0 So although the Internet can be a valuable marketing tool, it can\u2019t be your only point of sale.Now on to the telecom opportunity.\u00a0 Initially you may think, how will telecom services fit in this market?\u00a0 Phone lines and\u00a0DSL\u00a0are part of the parent\u2019s monthly bill.\u00a0 Pagers and cell phones may ultimately be used by teens, but are purchased by parents and there\u2019s always a concern with the unknown bill amount at the end of the month.\u00a0 We\u2019ve seen press coverage discussing the approval of cell phones for use in schools by students for parents to be able to reach them.\u00a0 Text messaging, ring tones and downloadable icons all add to the personalization of cell phone identities and the desire of teens to spend to have the latest \u201ccool\u201d features.We\u2019ve recently encountered a company who is creating the tools for phone operators to take this personalization to the next level and drive an ongoing revenue stream.\u00a0 The company is\u00a0Wildseed.\u00a0 Wildseed is a software company with a grand marketing vision.\u00a0 They are partnering with handset manufacturers to bring the operators a new twist on phones for the teen market. First, turn the phone upside down, keypad on top and screen on the bottom.\u00a0 Sounds a little weird at first, but look at your hand with your phone in it and think about it\u00a0- it\u2019s actually a little more comfortable fit.\u00a0 Then envision skins that wrap around your phone and bring a personal identity to it.\u00a0 These skins are equipped with a chip that allows you to change the experience you have on a regular basis.Skins have more than just different colors associated with them.\u00a0 They give you access to content that supports the experience of the skins identity.\u00a0 This content can be ring tones, icons, downloadable content\u00a0- content only available to customers with the skins,\u00a0 and access to events marketed through the skins.\u00a0 The theory is they would be easy and relatively inexpensive to change the marketing options for phone operators.Think of the marketing implications of just a few of the following:\u2022\u00a0 Gaming:\u00a0Turn your phone sideways and now you have a skin with joysticks. The phone bends a bit when you play a motocross game and vibrates when you crash.\u00a0 Sell downloads that allow you to reach higher levels of games more quickly, compete interactively with others on the network, navigate the games better\/faster because your skin gives you access to gaming information the competitors don\u2019t have.\u00a0 Message with your friends while you are playing - are you beating them? Make sure everyone else knows it.\u2022\u00a0 Reward users with free ring tones, etc. for wearing the skin branded with your provider name on a certain day or the month.\u2022\u00a0 Reward loyal fans of entertainers who don\u2019t download their new music from the Web without paying for it.\u00a0 The skin would provide them with access to encrypted music prior to public release, or access to concert tickets a day in advance of widespread sale.\u00a0Operators will have access to software developer kits that allow them to personalize to their own marketing plans.\u00a0 The phones will initially be interactive via\u00a0Bluetooth, but enhancements will follow in this area.\u00a0 The goal would be to have users purchase four or five skins per year, drive usage of the operators network and create loyalty while reducing churn.