We’ve come a long, long way since the era of ‘Mad Men’ marketing, where almost everyone with power was male, the budgets were high, and the ROI was blurry. It was easy enough back then to design a creative, intriguing poster, pay a premium for billboard space, and then call it a day – but in the 21st century things are a lot different.
For starters, the gender demographic of the marketing industry is now described as “mixed”, instead of “male-dominated” which it once might’ve been. And while there are still great strides to make in terms of the kinds of roles women have in the industry, we are truly beginning to make progress.
Millennials and Marketing – a Match Made in Heaven
We’ve also moved into the digital sphere. This wasn’t a decision millennials made alone, however, it’s one I believe we’ve adapted to immensely. We were brought up around technology, and Google was our parent – it’s no wonder it’s become our greatest source of advertising today! We were quick to adopt social media, chat rooms, and videos, and because of this, we’re quick to learn how to use them to our entrepreneurial advantage.
We have also grown up amongst financial and employment turmoil. There is much to be said for millennials being afraid to lose their job, and therefore striving much harder to prove their worth. This is a lot easier for us now, however, than it was in the “golden age” of marketing. Proving ROI is as easy as showing your Google or Facebook Analytics and saying “Hey bossman – these stats don’t lie! This is exactly how much money I made you!” You wouldn’t have been able to do this as easily with your TV spots back in the hey-days.
But has this change in marketing happened to millennials – or because of them?
This can be a hard nut to crack, especially considering the broad landscape – but let’s try and look at some facts.
- Google is undeniably a mammoth, and a catalyst for a lot of digital marketing – but Google definitely wasn’t invented by millennials. Larry Page and Sergey Brin are in their mid-forties, and while it’s difficult to say whether they would’ve done as well without adding millennials to their team along the way, we can pretty much say that Google was something that happened to us, not because of us.
- So what about the internet in a broader sense as a place where we partake in digital marketing? Did we create this? No, sorry, that wasn’t us either.
- Yikes – have we done anything? Yes, we definitely have.
- Social media has become one of the largest uses of the world-wide web today, and one of the biggest arenas marketers are pouring their budgets into. Well, I can happily say we contributed heavily to this!
- Mark Zuckerberg (made a little platform called Facebook, you might’ve heard of it) is, albeit on the older end, but still a millennial! Take that Baby Boomers! We invented Facebook!
- What about Instagram? This is arguably one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there – especially for advertising – and the creator, Kevin Systrom is also a millennial! Hallelujah!
- And who could forget Snapchat? The creator of this fun app is only 27 so we can add that to our achievements as well!
No, but for real – have millennials changed the marketing landscape?
While I’ve only really drawn from a few examples, it’s fairly simple to see that while we had a leg up in some areas, we’ve also made some pretty big changes of our own.
Not only is social media a rapidly growing sphere for digital marketing, it’s also the one that millennials are dominating – both as the marketer, the marketed, and even occasionally as human vessels for marketers to push messages through (was that a creepy way to describe influencers? Sorry).
While much of the industry has been created by older generations, us millennials are often the fastest to adopt these new technologies, and even invent a few of our own, to make marketing a more diverse industry, as well as one that is far more transparent in terms of what businesses are getting for their spend.
We’ve made strides to make marketing inclusive both in the workplace, as well as in the messaging we’re sharing in the ads, and I for one believe that if capitalism is going to crush us under its dusty wheel, we might as well make sure that everyone has an equal chance to get crushed as the next guy. Right?
Do you think millennials are changing the marketing game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!