We are at an inflection point where digital marketing is not just a channel, but the channel, led by social media. In fact, 2016 will be the first year in history that digital media ad spending surpasses television ad spending, according to eMarketer.
The truth is that legacy businesses of all sizes still frame the marketing discipline through a dated lens. As a result, they face the challenge of trying to retrofit company culture, structure and budget allocation in order to reframe the way they conceive of marketing strategy, tactics and most importantly marketing objectives.
For instance, many large brands have two separate teams and budgets—one for brand marketing (i.e. TV) and one for direct/growth marketing (i.e. digital). These two subcategories are viewed as separate disciplines for many legacy businesses, when in reality these disciplines should be looked at cohesively.
By contrast, Millennial marketers at SMBs look at the entire customer journey through one unified lens, turning a system of fragmented consumer touch points into a holistic branded response map. Unlike their more traditional predecessors, brand marketing and direct/growth marketing are thought of as one. Millennials drive the entire marketing funnel from awareness, lead generation, revenue creation and engagement via digital channels.
As examined in the report, “From Main Street to Madison Avenue: Millennials Disrupting 50-Year-Old Balance of Marketing Power,” Millennial marketers not only use social media to drive top-of-the funnel marketing objectives including brand awareness, they also use social media to drive bottom-of-the funnel objectives like revenue. In fact, 68% of Millennials depend on social media ads for generating brand awareness and 60% leverage social media ads to drive revenue. In contrast, only 27% of baby boomers depend on social media ads for generating awareness and revenue.
Millennials are defining a new and successful marketing world order that is digital centric, social-first, and driven by video. Here are three key points:
1. If You’re Not Digital First You’re Not Doing It Right
Millennial marketers truly are digitally native, meaning the entire marketing strategy and functional execution take a digital, and increasingly, mobile first approach. Millennials at SMBs don’t have the same “Mad Man” baggage as their legacy counterparts, which means a digital and mobile-first marketing approach is not a shift, but rather a starting point. In fact, Millennials at SMBs are three times more likely than baby boomers to spend the majority of their marketing budget on digital. In order to successfully cross this “digital divide” businesses of all sizes need to put digital and mobile at the core of their strategy rather than treating it as an extension.