At the Social Shake-Up in Atlanta last month, Cory Edwards, Head of Adobe's Social Media Center of Excellence, held a fireside chat with Andrew Watts, a 20-year old University of Texas at Austin student. A year earlier, Watts had written a couple of blog posts about how teenagers use social that went viral.
At the conference, the two men discussed which networks teens prefer - SnapChat, Yik Yak, and You Tube ranked high - and how teens feel about being marketed to by brands on social networks.
While Watts' views were insightful and entertaining, they were clearly his own opinions - "Facebook is dead to teens, he said," - so I wanted to dig a little deeper into some of Edwards' stats on Millennials.
Last February, Adobe conducted a poll of 1,029 U.S. marketers between the ages 18-69 to get an overarching view on their profession, including the opportunities, challenges, and changes. The survey, conducted in advance of Adobe's Summit, was also intended to understand how generational dynamics impact the opinions and attitudes of these marketers.
A subset of data was generated by 356 millennial marketers between the ages of 18 to 34 who responded to the survey.
"There's an awful lot of discussion focused on how do you market the Millenials, but we wanted to look at Millennials as marketers, and the opportunities and challenges they face," says Edwards.
Some of the key findings from the survey:
- Fifty-three percent of millennial marketers are concerned that their companies can't keep up with the changes in the world of marketing
- Millennials are concerned about companies keeping up with the Internet of Things and mobile and wearable technology
- Millennials also reported that marketing has changed more drastically in the past year than in the previous five
"From a personal standpoint, the responses are not surprising," says Edwards. "We are facing them ourselves."
"However," he continues, "even if there is concern about companies keeping up, nine out of ten millennial marketers view this as an opportunity rather than a threat."
Edwards says that this group of young marketers want to help solve some of the challenges their companies are facing, and given their love of technology, think that they can help out by providing greater direction.
"Unlike many of us who use the same platforms and are afraid to experiment with new ones, they get bored with the tried and true, and they love to try new technology," he explains. "After all, this is a group that grew up experiencing regular change."
What really stood out for Edwards was the fact that 82% of the millennial respondents say that they need to reinvent themselves. He attributes this reaction to the fact that the marketers felt that their roles have changed in the last five years, and particularly during the past year.
So what's the driving force behind these beliefs? "Social is a big part of this," says Edward. "Marketing is moving from a very creative endeavor to a very math-driven endeavor," he contends. "Data, and the insights from the data we gather, is driving what we do as marketers."
In other words, he explains, "marketing is math."
And despite the chill that statement might elicit amongst most marketers who chose the field for its creative outlet, the Millennials, nonetheless, feel optimistic about their jobs and what the future has in store for them: 2 out of 3 feel that this is the Golden Age of marketing.
The future looks bright indeed.