All the things we knew about growing up are becoming things of the past.
Take still photography. The mail. Dial telephones, much less rotary phones. Cable TV. Calendars. Maps from AAA. Written invitations. Movie theaters. Books. Movie rental stores. Business trips. Want ads. Records and CDs. Restaurant reviews. Travel guides. Desktop computers. Bookstores. Dictionaries. Libraries. Travel agents. Banks. Newsprint.
Of course, I can only imagine the changes that my grandmother has seen in the past 92 years. Not a lot of cars or airplanes in 1919. Or microwave ovens, transatlantic flights, televisions or fax machines (wait! – no one uses faxes anymore).
Still, the millennial generation has a very different world view than we have or that our parents experienced. In this fascinating article, the San Francisco Chronicle gives us a preview on what “kids these days” are thinking. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/22/BUVF1KPK2G.DTL
These findings should help to inform us on how marketing and PR have gone almost completely online and how buying habits and new forms of communication are changing the ways we market ourselves. It’s not that the Mad Men traditions that reigned for decades are over. But this would suggest that peer-to-peer relationships over Facebook and Twitter are defining how people buy. Personally, I frequently ask my friends for dining and/or travel tips. And those tips truly do drive my purchasing decisions.
Many of our clients these days ask us about Social Media and online marketing, and we respond that their web presence and SEO have never been more important. Likewise, the contacts that they have developed through LinkedIn and Facebook may be vastly more important than any ad they buy or story they pitch. As always in PR and marketing, keeping a constant dialogue is critical, so we recommend blogs, new web conent and other tools like Twitter (if you are following a major case) to keep that conversation fresh and topical.
The question for professional service companies, like law firms, is how to reach out and capture the attention of those future CEOs and GCs who are growing up in the new age of technology. On first blush, you might not think to worry about that yet as most current CEOs and GCs are not millennials, and technology will take many new twists and turns in the next 20 to 25 years. Will we be communicating by computer-assisted telepathy in 2020? Will iPads join the scrap heap along with our clunky old laptops?
Then again, maybe we should be thinking very seriously about our online and Social Media programs. Some millennials, like Mark Zuckerberg, are already making their hiring decisions with their smart phones and iPads. And look at how quickly even old timers like us (yipes!) are using these things to conduct business, find facts and communicate with our friends. For instance, I use Netflix all the time and I prefer to get streaming video than those annoying little red envelopes in the mail. I also buy baseball tickets and just about everything else online. The last time I went to a store was to buy shoes, as they haven’t yet figured out how to fit those online. Then again, I’m sure someone will soon.
Times are a changing. Are you?