At best, answers to the “millennial question” have offered advice on how to effectively motivate and mentor a new generation of workers, and at worst have spread and reinforced sweeping generalizations.

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash.

Originally published on ama.org

The so-called “millennial question” has been addressed by popular psychology and business management gurus for over a decade, resulting in a robust archive of advice on how to deal with millennials in the workplace. The negative millennial stereotype goes something like this: narcissistic, impatient, distracted, demanding, social-media obsessed, selfie-taking “me, me, me” generation. At best, answers to the “millennial question” have offered advice on how to effectively motivate and mentor a new generation of workers, and at worst have spread and reinforced sweeping generalizations.

Analyzing millennial stereotypes reveals what our broader anxieties are over new trends and larger socioeconomic forces that threaten the stability of our already knowable past. Leadership guru Simon Sinek notes four key factors related to millennial sensibilities: failed parenting strategies, technology, impatience and environment. In Sinek’s 2016 viral talk, he stated that millennials’ unrealistic expectations and difficult-to-manage behavior was the fault of their helicopter parents, the influence of technology on their lack of social skills and lack of willingness to commit to a job. However, his advice on how to manage millennials focuses on how they need to change, adjust their expectations and develop the skills they lack, suggesting they need to learn patience, accept their place in workplace hierarchy, get off technology, talk to people, build trust and accept constructive feedback. …


Charting the path back to performance as marketers emerge from COVID-19

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Photo by Ricardo Arce on Unsplash.

Originally published on AMA.org

CMOs planning campaigns for 2021 know they need to get back in the brand game. After a period of retrenchment — U.S. ad spending fell 13% this year, as marketers hit the brakes during the pandemic — advertising opportunity is back. Retail sales have shifted online, forecast by eMarketer to increase a whopping $108 billion in 2020 over last year’s $601 billion in e-commerce. U.S. consumers are making the most radical shift in shopping behavior in history, now spending one out of every $7 online.

If marketers don’t hit the gas soon, they may be left behind. Which leads to the big question — how much in this environment should marketers invest in brand advertising? And can they do so carefully, with better use of data? …


Tips on how to strike the right balance between the use of data and creating emotionally resonant content

Multicolor close-up image of a face with digital age-filters.
Multicolor close-up image of a face with digital age-filters.

Originally published on AMA.org

Data is critical to today’s marketing efforts. It can help us identify our audiences and boost our creativity to drive tangible business results, brand awareness or cultural change. And predictive analytics can give us a pretty good idea about how things might look in the future.

But using data can be tricky because it often misses context. Lean on it too much and your messaging becomes predictable — or worse, tone-deaf to what’s happening in the world. Not enough, and you lose precious insight into your audience. …


When organizing your offerings to respond to consumers’ needs, you allow them to intuitively understand how your products and services benefit their lives

Colorful photo looking up at tall buildings.
Colorful photo looking up at tall buildings.

Originally published on AMA.org

Brand architecture is one part spring cleaning, one part sorcery. Architecture is organization; it’s about finding a spot for everything and putting it in its place. The process of developing brand architecture is about uncovering the deep meaning of what we have as a brand, what we can optimize, what we can leave behind and where we can grow. In doing so, we unleash a sort of magical spell that shows us the future.

I’m not being all that hyperbolic — strong brand architecture can show you the future like a treasure map. It reveals the trajectories of your innovation pipelines, your unexpected growth opportunities and your underserved but ripe-to-tap consumer segments. …


Marketers have cut budgets drastically and taken clear action as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Now it’s time to start looking beyond survival tactics.

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Illustration by Bill Murphy.

Originally published on AMA.org

Part of the Marketing News COVID-19 Special Issue

The widespread impact of the coronavirus raises the question of what actions marketers have taken to deal with this unusual, disruptive and rapidly changing global situation. The AMA and Kantar surveyed almost 600 marketers from April 2–13 to understand how they and their organizations are responding.

The following Kantar framework provides a starting point for understanding what marketing organizations are currently doing and what they are planning, based on how organizations should be acting in this time of crisis:

  1. Ensure the health, safety and productivity of employees.
  2. Put a rapid response team in place. …


Restaurants that choose to remain open at this time need to alert customers that they’re open, what they’re offering and how they’re keeping customers and employees safe

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Illustration by Bill Murphy.

Originally published on AMA.org

Many industries are struggling in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and perhaps none is more consumer-facing than restaurants. Many beloved mom-and-pop shops have had to close up entirely, while other eateries can only offer pick-up or delivery. It’s an uncertain time for anyone trying to market their restaurant, so we spoke with Rick Silva, board member for the National Restaurant Association, about how restaurants can communicate with customers.

Q: The National Restaurant Association has been recommending and promoting drive-thru, takeout and curbside pickup delivery so that restaurants can stay alive and consumers can be fed. …


When companies apologize for minuscule mistakes, they risk angering customers by drawing attention to what would have otherwise been a nonissue

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Originally published on AMA.org

When customers noted an offensive pattern on a line of H&M socks in 2018, the company bungled its chance at an apology. To be fair, the controversy was a bit of a surprise: The socks depicted a Lego figurine wearing a construction hat and holding a jackhammer, and the pattern made by the tool, when turned upside down, somewhat resembled the Arabic word for “Allah.” When the image made the rounds online, the socks were pulled from shelves and a spokesperson for H&M released a statement saying that the symbol was “entirely coincidental” and apologized “if the motif has offended anyone.” …


CMOs and content creators must re-examine goals for content. Are they bringing in high-quality traffic, or simply a lot of traffic? As marketers have gone all-in on content creation, they’ve forgotten how to stand out.​​​​​​​​

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Originally published on AMA.org

Brand marketers are blogging 800% more, on average, than they were five years ago. However, the average number of shares per post have declined by 89%, according to a report from TrackMaven.

Kara Burney, director of content at marketing analytics provider TrackMaven, says marketers have fallen into an “activity trap.” By this she means marketers have gone all-in on creating content without seeing good metric results. While focusing on content is a good thing, marketers have mistakenly made traffic numbers the linchpin of success and lost efficiency in the process, she says.

“They’re just churning out content … but not seeing a return,” she says of the average content marketer. “One of the things this report puts numbers to is the feeling that there’s a lot of wasted energy and resources in marketing right now. We’ve gone so all-in on digital that we haven’t figured out a way to scale it.” …


Having a strategy for finding, applying to and landing the job you want is critical in an ever-crowding applicant pool for sought-after marketing jobs

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Originally published on AMA.org

The marketing and ad tech industry is valued at more than $110 billion according to U.S. aggregate revenue data. Revenue has increased every year since 2010. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 9% increase in employment for marketers through 2024, 2% above the average growth rate of other industries.

Marketing is becoming one of the most promising industries to make a career in, and it’s attracting a lot of strong candidates, which means it’s harder than ever to stand out.

Pre-application: Take a self-inventory.

Before you apply, you need to know what you have to offer. Don’t fail at knowing you. A healthy self-knowledge will help you convey to a company why you’re a good fit for them. You have to know the kind of environment and culture you thrive in. Do you need a quiet environment? Do you like working on group projects? Are you looking for a certain level of autonomy? Understand what motivates you, and reflect on what type of manager and leader gets the best out of you. …


Many Americans work long hours in stressful jobs, often becoming sick or dissatisfied in the process. Caroline Webb wants to help them have better days.

3 women working together on a strategy using post-it notes.
3 women working together on a strategy using post-it notes.

Originally published on AMA.org

Caroline Webb loves her work. Case in point: she was called “the happiest person at McKinsey” by a co-worker when she worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. Despite her job satisfaction, the long hours and late nights took a toll on Webb.

Three years into her job as a consultant, Webb got sick. An infection of her central nervous system put her out of work for six months. She fought back to health over the next eight months, gradually increasing her workload until she was well enough to work full-time. However, she found herself at a career crossroads: Long hours didn’t always mean better work, she thought, and they certainly didn’t mean good health or a sustainable personal life. “I had to acknowledge that I did not have infinite stamina,” Webb says. “I became very interested in how to do more with less. …

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