Everyone is a consumer of marketing, but of course, as we all know from years of hearing advice from the boss’s wife, that doesn’t make everyone smart about marketing. There is an exception to that rule, in that young marketers have grown up in social and data-driven lifestyles, and so inherently understand how inextricable marketing is from our quotidian lives. This gives them an advantage in modern marketing which can be helpful to all of us.

Millennial marketers bring to the table a new and different mindset about marketing that matches the powerful paradigm shifts driving marketing success today. These shifts are not just about data and big data, technology and automation, but about consumer expectations.

“Each of the generational cohorts offer a different perspective on what marketing is and should be – and this is particularly true to the youngest generation of workers,” says Craig Wood, Head of Insights Integration for The Futures Company and chairman of the Direct Marketing Education Foundation (DMEF). “This is not just from a pure tools and tactics standpoint in the use of social, video, and visuals, but also in the way in which we go about marketing.

“Through the work of the DMEF, we are finding unique ways to bring different generations of marketing professionals together to leverage the knowledge, experience and expertise to take all of us to new levels.  One way today’s college students differ greatly from other generations is how they acknowledge the gray areas between personal and professional lives, and apply that to marketing. For example, what we might see as marketing, they see it as a branded experience. Their instinct is to connect with the whole person and share their experiences with a product, service or brand in nuanced, social and different ways,” he says.

This new way of marketing  thinking is possible because of advanced technology, and of course, it’s what Millennials grew up with, so it’s also their way of thinking. DMEF  helps educate, nurture, grow and employ people who will be the marketing leaders of tomorrow. “DMEF has hundreds of corporate supporters who focus on mentoring and embracing new ideas. They don’t just onboard young marketers, but create a viable and flexible path to development for them,” Craig says. In fact, in recognition of the paradigm shift, more companies now do reverse mentoring and have young people mentor the senior people to help them all understand their customers better, he says.

Who’s doing this really well? For seven years, young professionals 40 years and under have been honored with the DMEF’s Rising Stars Award, presented every June in New York City. This one-of-a-kind award raises the bar in defining success among outstanding business professionals. It honors remarkable men and women who demonstrate a commitment to education, mentoring and giving back to support the next generation in the marketing field. “As the industry evolves, it’s the next generation of marketers who will get us there, so we need to encourage them to continue to give back and help us all take the industry from old school to new school data-driven marketing,” Craig says.

We often turn to technology and data innovation when we want illustration of how marketing is evolving. However, it’s also important to look at the people of marketing. “We were blown away by the extraordinary caliber of the nominees and the things they have done,” Craig says.

“These are young people who have a willingness to lead from where they are in the middle of their career and not wait until they have reached a certain level. It’s inspiring — and a real testament to those who assist and nurture them.”


Join DMEF for this year’s Rising Stars dinner on June 11th in New York City. It’s a dazzling evening to recognize, celebrate and learn from this year’s individual and corporate award winners. Proceeds from the DMEF Rising Stars Awards Dinner benefit the future of direct/interactive marketing through education, scholarships and mentorship. www.directworks.org

Share Now: Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Facebook