Ripped from the Comic Books: What Millennials Know and Marketers Need to Find Out

Gross Generalization Alert!
The following post makes sweeping statements about the attitudes of entire generations. 

Halloween Batman and Irish Dancer

Though Baby Boomers have a deep and abiding love for Marvel and DC superheroes, Millennials internalized them quite differently. We can learn a lot by taking note.

Millennials came of age with CGI (computer generated imagery) and cut their teeth on Superman, Miyazaki and tent-pole movies costing gazillions of dollars.

Here’s what they ripped from the comic book pages:

What did Millennials learn from comic books?
  • Anyone can be a hero
  • Just because you lead once doesn’t mean your always have to
  • Even heroes make mistakes
  • The quest is what distinguishes you (whether you’re a collector at ComicCon or trying to be the biggest jackass)
  • Let the best idea win

So, fellow marketers, here’s our quest:  How do we let the best idea win?  How do we let people lead, stop leading, make mistakes and profit from their quest?

We’re certainly not geared up to accept game-changing ideas from just anyone.  Witness the native advertising debate and whether it’s “owned” or “earned” media (see previous post on breaking down silos).  We need to harvest ideas and support innovation wherever they grow.

I suggest we focus on what makes people tick.  How do we influence people’s sentiment and behavior?  What is the “sentiment” funnel that leads to the “behavior change” process, and what new techniques can we deploy to predictably facilitate the journey through the funnel?  (And since everything’s digital, let’s measure it!)

Today there’s a scrum in the marketplace over good ideas and innovation.  Yet we don’t want to raze the walls between our sacred marketing disciplines.  If we don’t, we’ll lose talent and opportunity.

If you agree that we’re living in an “idea economy,” what do we need to do to create an economy that lets the best idea win?