I know this is going to make me sound old, but it really is an amazing thing to have grown up as our world has gone digital. When I went to college, there was no Facebook. When I was in high school cell phones weren’t something people carried with them. When I was little, it was a huge deal when we got our first VCR.
If you think about it, the progression to a digital lifestyle has been pretty quick. We jumped from cell phones that only called people, to ones that do just about everything in less than 20 years. I still find myself doing some things the “old” way even though my phone can handle just about all of it now. I tend to write out directions to a new place the first time I go there before simply plugging the address into Waze. I only recently went all digital with my grocery lists using Wunderlist. Apps still have the potential to completely amaze me as well. I still can’t believe Uber and Lyft have become such a staple in everyone’s life and that hailing a cab now feels antiquated.
Watching this transition take place; being of the generation that remembers what it was like before the Internet but still being very tech savvy puts me in a unique position to understand an audience at either end of the technology spectrum. My generation really does sit perfectly in the middle and this vantage point offers me many benefits.
From a professional standpoint, growing up as technology grew makes me a very quick learner when new apps or services launch that become popular. Adapting to new technology has essentially been the story of my generation’s life, and it comes in handy when a new digital resource is adopted that makes operations run more smoothly or allows me to be a better marketer. Picking up something new quickly adds to your value at work, especially if you’re able to become an “expert” before many others.
My personal experience also allows me to think through an entire strategic plan in a way that caters to an audience with varying degrees of comfort when it comes to technology. As a marketer, you can’t forget that some of your audience, most likely, will be less comfortable using the myriad of social media resources out there because it wasn’t the environment they grew up in. You have to prepare at least a portion of a marketing strategy that speaks to people who are comfortable with emails over FB posts, tweets, and snapchats. At the same time you also have to innovate to capture the short attention spans of those individuals who never knew a world without iPhones. The way in which you speak to these two audiences can be drastically different, yet they’re both equally important.
Insight into your audience is essential when you work in marketing. Some of this insight will come from analytics you collect and profiles that get built, but often times it’s about knowing what a certain demographic “prefers” based on their comfort with technology that helps you successfully message to them. I feel lucky to have experienced life before today’s technology advancements, during the growth of personal technology, and now as a tech savvy adult. My personal experiences make me better professionally because I have a deeper understanding of most facets of an audience when it comes to digital marketing.
Being open to changes in technology because that was the norm for me growing up has opened up my capabilities as a marketer and lessened my learning curve. I may not personally be into the latest trends for communicating, but I know how to utilize them professionally and I understand the appeal. I do wonder though, when my kids grow up, what life will technologically be like, and wether or not they'll look back on today as the stone age of digital communication.