A survey that Adobe conducted recently among millennials aged 18 to 34 has a mostly positive message with a word of warning for people entering the field of marketing. It’s common knowledge that the most important area of marketing has become the digital world, and advertisers simply can’t be successful any longer without a strong understanding of the ways that people use technology in their daily lives.
The Challenges and Opportunities for Millennial Marketers
For example, technologies such as the Internet of Things, or IoT, and wearable gadgets are giving marketers a wealth of new opportunities to reach customers while at the same time making it almost impossible to reach those same customers through the traditional channels of television, radio and print. The days when audiences all sat in front of a TV at the same time are long gone, and traditional print media companies have been going out of business for the last 10 years or so.
The next generation of consumers gets its information online, especially over a mobile network connection on a smartphone or tablet. They find gadgets fascinating and kit their whole houses out with network-connected appliances, such as smart TVs, smart refrigerators and smart microwaves, and between cooking dinner and switching on the Xbox, millennials don’t spend a lot of time thinking about broadcast news, radio or magazines made out of shiny paper.
The Young Generation Has Doubts But Feels Generally Positive
Despite being the most technologically advanced generation ever born, they have some doubts about how to market products and services on these new platforms, and a minority of them describe themselves as technologically savvy. It’s not all fear and gloom, though, and the Adobe survey found that almost 60 percent of millennial marketers had a positive outlook on the future of their profession and felt that, in general, people are a lot more responsive to marketing because it’s become a form of entertainment.
This response is great news for people just entering the field of marketing and for consumers and businesses in general because it foreshadows a new era in advertising, an era in which consumers don’t feel interrupted by a message from advertisers because they are highly engaged in the message. The most important development in advertising over the last 10 or 15 years has been the ability to fine-tune a target audience using SEO and inbound marketing, and this new wave of audience targeting makes marketers’ jobs infinitely more efficient than they were 20 years ago when 50 percent of the audience watching a commercial didn’t plan on buying a related product for any reason.
Making Sense of Adobe’s Findings
With these improvements in customer outreach come several key challenges for millennial marketers, including the need to understand networks, connected devices and the data that becomes available when customers give feedback over the Internet. The IoT makes a whole new dialog between advertisers and customers possible, and it gives businesses and the teams promoting them a new dimension of information to use when designing both products and messages.
The IoT naturally returns useful data to businesses and marketers, such as when a customer uses a device, what the customer does with it, how long it’s used and whether there were any errors or problems. This data simply wasn’t available before the Internet became ingrained in our daily lives, and a lot of it can be acquired from websites and mobile apps under the right circumstances. The relationship marketers have with data is changing as their work becomes better understood and easier to implement, and most young marketers are responding to the changes positively.