A few months back I was on the lookout for a digitally savvy marketer for my team. Like always, I started my search with LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been most helpful but I’ve noticed not everyone is thrilled to hear from me. While there is nothing inherently wrong about connecting with a potential candidate, historically I hear back only from 30-40% of those I connect with. Perhaps I was putting the cart before the horse.
When I was analyzing my search results, I noticed there was a pattern across all the top profiles. All of them were born in the mid to late 80’s or early 90’s. That wasn’t rocket science – duh! It was just common sense, anyone with 10 years of experience in 2016 had to be a Millennial. So I let my excitement of having found a new pattern rest. That made me take a closer look at my team. At that point, I had about 12 people in my team. While there were others more industry experience, my best digital marketing resources were also the youngest. Maybe I was just being biased in my judgment.
Months past and this time around, I was evaluating agencies who could partner with us in improving my organization’s digital presence. After speaking to a good number of agencies & consultants, I noticed the same pattern all over again. More than 75% of the people I was talking to were millennials, they were not just an employee but people who were at the helm of affairs. Was this again the naïve pattern seeking algorithm running in mind or there was really a design, a correlation between skills and their generation. I spoke to a few people in the industry to get it off my head.
I got into a chat with a senior C-Suite consultant who appoints leadership positions for multinationals. She concurred, her digital marketing candidates on an average have been much younger as compared to other specializations, even within the boundaries marketing. Now that was also far from being conclusive, perhaps she just wanted to be nice to me and make me feel good. Or, she just wanted to keep the conversation short. So I caught hold of another smart professional who runs his own boutique digital agency.
He was quick to react. He said, “I do think millennials make better digital marketers”. He emphasized on the word “digital”. He continued “I believe the primary reason is their exposure to this medium. If you give an iPad to a kid as against an older person, you can be sure that the kid will figure out how to use it by the time the older person figures out how to switch it on. I think this is what makes the difference.”
The marketing world has completely transformed from where it was a decade ago. While Peter Drucker’s model of competitive advantage or Micheal Porter 4 P’s of marketing will never go out of ‘fashion’, Marketing is also about using the right tools & technology today. Marketers can no longer be just creative whiz kids who are oblivious to the technology.
According to the 2016 marketing technology landscape supergraphic, there over 3,874 marketing tools or technologies available today.
Considering that this list had less than 150 of them in 2011, that’s a mind-bending growth rate. Is that a 2482% growth since 2011, or is my math wrong? In a landscape that is changing so quickly, being digitally savvy from a young age must have an impact one’s ability to understand new age marketing. They seem to be naturally good at using these digital marketing tools. It is no surprise why agencies & marketing teams are filled with millennials.
Marketing leaders have two choices; either become a digitally savvy or fill your team with more millennials who are naturally good at it. Perhaps we will do both, but one has to strike a balance between youth and experience.
Do you agree with this trend? Would love yo hear your views.