Many people would agree millennials are a digital generation. We’re attached to our mobile devices. We’re checking our apps constantly, snapping photos, sending texts. The interwebs routinely holds the answers to all of our questions. Our lives – or so it would seem – are encompassed by the digital world.
Millennials are what again?
Take a minute to think about the age range of a millennial. We were born in the 80s or 90s, which means we were in some type of schooling or early in our careers in the 2000s. Right when the digital boom happened, we were prime suspects for soaking it in.
But that also means we did a good bit of our growing up before digital ruled the world. We had one foot in the 20th century and our other in the 21st.
Millennials are a unique generation because we can all still remember using a rotary telephone, cranking the car windows by hand, getting our family’s first desktop computer.
We didn’t always grow up with digital being the center of our lives. If we had to call a friend or our mom after school, we had to use the school office’s telephone or a payphone. No text messages, no emails.
The generation before us – they were not raised on technology. Sure, there was the brick of a car phone in the 80s, the cordless phone, and other small starbursts of innovations like those. However, it doesn’t compare to the rush of technology in the 2000s.
The generation after us will truly be the children raised on a technology-rich diet. From the moment they are born, today’s babies are accosted with mobile devices sending images to Snapchat, Instagram, text and email. Cars come equipped with DVD players, and parents don’t fight the convenience of distracting grumpy kids with tablets.
Think about this…
Millennials, on the other hand, have experienced both phenomena. We make up a piece of the past and a piece of the future. We have grown up at the same pace as technology, maturing as it has matured.
Because of this, we bring a unique perspective to business.
Because we saw our dads work the 8-5 at one company their whole lives, millennials value old school tactics. We know big companies succeeded because of some fundamental practices. The 25 Immutable Laws of Marketing, written in the 1990s, is just as applicable today as it was 20-something years ago.
We know the value of working hard and playing hard. Business development still goes to play golf with the big clients. Business cards continue to be printed and handed out because that works.
At the same time, we’re much less afraid to try something new. Millennials are launching startups, we’re growth hacking traditional ways of marketing, we’re coming up with solutions to problems by abandoning what the previous generation did. We’ve told ourselves it’s okay to fail. and we’ve told ourselves it’s okay to have a flexible schedule. Instead of meeting a certain number of hours to get paid, we meet a certain number of goals.
Millennials have way more than a digital perspective to offer
It’s easy to say millennials were raised on digital, that it’s in our DNA. It’s true. But there are also other attributes that make us who we are, that make us the leaders that are shaping the present and the future. We have lived without technology, we have learned to use technology, and we have started creating technology.