Striking Back Against Millennials: Developing Digital Marketing Skills

Being in the first wave of Millennials, I experienced a world before technology was incorporated into our daily lives. Yes, when calling my parents from the mall was a collect call by pay phone, and I quickly stated “Mom, come pick me up!” before charges could be collected.

One of my first technology asks was a beeper, but in my mother’s opinion, only drug dealers my age carried beepers. I received my first cell phone (Nokia) late into high school, in which you received street cred by beating friends’ high scores at Snake. In college, I broke off my parent’s family plan just so I could get a Blackberry (7210). Again, in the opinion of my mother, only drug dealers my age carried a Blackberry. While I was seeking the latest in cell phone technology, I was also playing with Adobe Photoshop (pirated off Napster), so I could create signature banners for my Xbox Live clan and eventually, a website. I was on hotornot.com, an early adopter of Myspace and couldn’t wait for “The” Facebook to add my college. I was fortunate to have the time and desire to absorb this technological transformation.

While I was devoting bandwidth to learning this new world, generations above me were working full-time and raising families; expendable time is a luxury and hard to come by with children to raise. Now, a marketer and newly minted father, I’m balancing my work, my life, and my personal time against a whole other set of beckoning priorities. As more Millennials enter this new period, its time to add digital weapons to your marketing arsenal:

Time: Sharpen Skills
As your kids get older, family life downshifts and time requirements calm. Consider reinvesting this “free” time into personal time, building digital, hard skills. I realize that I may not be as seasoned as you, so I take every opportunity to develop soft skills. As I am polishing my skills, strike back by sharpening your digital skills.

Desire: On a Personal Level
Being motivated to learn new skills is one thing, but being passionate about it is another. The foundation of my digital background was built through self-teaching on projects I was passionate about. You may be motivated to develop digital skills because of the shift in marketing channels, but approaching this endeavor on personal level could be more potent fuel for a strike-back against Millennials’ infiltrating ranks. Understanding the intricacies of the different traditional mediums is foundationally important, and this is no different for digital channels. Here are a few steps to get started on building a digital base outside of your work life:

– Build a personal resume site from WordPress.org (Web Development)
– Add a blog component and write about your passionate topics (Content Management System/CMS)
– Promote posts on Facebook, LinkedIn or on a Twitter account, depending on your intended audience. (Social)

Strategy: Best practices
After you pave a foundation in digital marketing, you can move into more strategic skill development. The quality of resources and thought leadership is only growing. What used to be random forums from any keyboard cowboy giving advice are now named-experts contributing regularly to blogs and communities to share best practices. These are my top 3 recommendations of where to find solid insight:

Business2Community
Content Marketing Institute
LinkedIn Pulse: Marketing and Advertising

Millennials had the opportunity to build a digital foundation by embracing a transforming world with personal incentives. But the time that was once devoted to playing with technology will be deprioritized as our generation transitions into a new period of our lives. Like you, we will face keeping up with new trends while (hopefully) becoming seasoned professionals at work with kids around our ankles. As you kick the kids out of the nest, take some time for yourself to develop those needed new skills so you can develop a sought-after, prized weapon in the marketplace, regardless of your generation. If you have any specific questions on how to get started, please feel free to message me. I would be happy to trade advice. And in years to come, we can all complain together about the Centennials.

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