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Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

Globally there are more than 11-million millennial decision-makers on LinkedIn, with 73% of millennials in the workforce involved in either influencing or making buying decisions for their companies. It makes sense that millennial marketers are best suited to speak to millennial consumers. If that is the case, to what extent are millennial marketers revolutionising the market, and are they being given a seat the boardroom table?

A recent Redzone discussion, moderated by Arye Kellman, chief creative officer of TILT, focused on just this topic, asking whether decision-making has shifted to millennial marketers and exploring the role that millennial marketers play in the marketing landscape – and what this means for leading brands in their future strategies.

The millennial generation is typically defined as being born between 1981 and 1996. That means that the eldest of this group have just reached the age of 40.

In SA there are a growing number of agencies being run by millennials and targeting largely millennial audiences. They include Duma Collective, a creative communications agency that specialises in brand messages through various strategies including events, social media, public relations and performing arts; and Orchard On 25, a Joburg-based boutique marketing and communication agency.

Sibu Mabena, founder of Duma Collective, said it makes sense that millennials market to millennials.

Jay Badza, head honcho at Orchard On 25, said he is inspired by brands such as Momentum which have appointed young marketing directors. He conceded, however, that millennial marketers have to work twice as hard as anybody else to prove themselves.

Refilwe Maluleke, MD of strategic marketing consultancy Yellowwood, and the recently appointed chief strategy officer at TBWA\SA, said it is a mistake for millennials to think that they represent and understand all millennials and their lived experiences. “This reliance on one individual to know everything is dangerous,” she said, adding that this is where more diverse representation is important.

She added that in an agency environment the biggest legacy issues they face are to do with culture as opposed to technology. “It’s hard when the stalwarts of the industry have thrived in a very different era.”

Bongani Mahlangu, an account manager at TILT, agreed that even when millennials are marketing to millennials, they shouldn’t assume that they know everything. “It’s still important to listen,” he said.

The big take-out: Millennial marketers are gaining prominence.


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