Find a Young Mentor

Find a Young Mentor to Gain Marketing Perspective

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of marketing trends? As one of the most rapidly evolving disciplines out there it’s easy to be left behind.

I think there’s a natural tendency to discount new ways of doing things. We get used to doing things a certain way, and new techniques seem frivolous or even incomprehensible.

We tell ourselves that change is the only constant, and that we must evolve or perish. But, when it comes to interrupting our routines we look for ways to avoid the disruption.

When I look at every new “fad” I’ve discounted over the years, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve actually discounted some of the biggest marketing trends there are.

I’ve turned my nose up MTV, Twitter, and TikTok, to name just a few.

And, I’m in good company.

I have colleagues my age who still don’t get social media, don’t understand why their kids insist on texting rather than calling, and, like me, can’t imagine why anyone would want to lip-sync to a pop song for TikTok.

That’s why it’s so important to recruit younger colleagues to continually feed you insights into the new ways that people are communicating.

You’ll get your share of fads that way. (Not everything turns into a meaningful trend.) But, you’ll also be keyed in on a good number of evolving marketing and communication techniques with the potential to transform the marketing industry.

Marketing tech is changing, and that change is exponential. It’s not going to stop.

And, things that have already changed are changing again. Facebook came on the scene some ago and many Baby Boomers have adopted it as their primary social media platform.

But, younger generations are moving on. For many of them, Facebook is outdated.

Where will they go? How will you reach them with your messaging?

It won’t be on Facebook.

Enlisting the support of younger colleagues is a great way to ensure that you’re aware of changes like that, so that you can adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.

Last summer my old friend Andrew Barriball came over from England to attend the annual meeting for a trade association where I once worked.

I met Andrew and his team at a local restaurant, introductions were made, and we talked over cocktails as we waited for our dinner to come out.

One of Andrew’s colleagues, a photographer as I recall, asked me very politely, very delicately, whether an established gentleman such as myself, a gentleman of a certain age rockin the Fred Rogers, the Mr. Rogers cardigan, whether or not he had somebody on his team who sort of kept him abreast of the latest trends in communications the latest trends in marketing, the latest trends in business.

Now I knew exactly what he was getting at and I really appreciated the question because I am the first to admit that you need strategies for keeping a pace of what people are doing, right?

The minute you think that you know what cultural trends are viable, what marketing trends, what business trends.

The minute you convince yourself that you know what’s going on, those trends are long gone.

It’s happened so many times over my career things that I thought would never take off, would never become a real thing have taken off. T

hey’ve become foundational to the way we communicate, the way we talk with each other, the way we interact with each other, and the way we do business. Some of the things that I missed over our career, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

MTV, texting, Twitter, TikTok. What the hell? Who would wanna do that, what they do on TikTok?

Who would wanna build a platform around people singing and lip syncing and dancing to popular music? It doesn’t make any sense at all. Well guess what. It’s not that I was opposed to any of these things.

They’re not morally reprehensible. I just missed it. There’s a blind spot, we all have these blind spots. There are things that you know when you’re first told about them you’re like that’s nuts, that then become very valuable.

So, if you’re missing the value of things, it might be you, it might not be the thing. You need a way, you need a strategy for sort of seeing that and sort of reducing those blinds spots.

So how do you guard against this? Well, the first thing that you can do is keep an open mind. The things that seem crazy to you today, might not be so crazy tomorrow, next month, next year.

The second thing you can do is surround yourself with smart younger people. They’re much more attune to the way people are communicating and working and interacting now and in the future.

So find yourself a young mentor and ask them to share with you any trends, any things that are happening that they think are new or innovative. You’ll be happy you did.

If you found this video helpful, hit the like button. Share it with your friends. And leave a comment for me below on what strategies you use to stay current to make sure that you’re not gonna miss the next big thing.

Until next time, I’m Paul Gannon for Thoughtcast Media.