Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

What’s wrong with young marketers today?

August 21st, 2013 by Bob Bly

There is a huge generation gap between young marketers and old
marketers — like me.

As I see it, many young marketers are overly fond of whatever is
hip and trendy at the moment – e.g., Instagram, Google +,
infographics, Foursquare, memes.

Many older marketers prefer the tried, true, and tested methods:
e-mail marketing, white papers, landing pages, direct mail, ads.

Why do young marketers have such a strong preference for the
latest flavor of the month?

I can think of a few reasons:

1-They want to appear “in the know” to their friends,
colleagues, and clients.

2-People are always attracted to things that are new.

3-For old-school marketing methods such as direct mail, there is
a huge body of tested experience which young marketers do not
know about … so they are at a disadvantage.

4-Some clients are mesmerized by the latest fads, and look for
consultants who are proficient in those methods.

5-Many marketers find refuge in marketing for which sales ROI
cannot be measured, because it masks the fact that they don’t
know how to sell.

6-It’s easier and takes less skill to create a blog post or a
Tweet than it does to write a long-copy landing page whose sales
can be measured to the dollar.

I often say I was born at the wrong time, for the following

When I was young and worked in marketing for large corporations,
the senior marketers were revered while it was assumed that us
“kids” knew nothing and would take many years to train.

Now that I am older, I live in a youth-oriented society where
young people are valued for their superior grasp of technology,
while folks in my 50+ age group can’t get a job because their
skills are thought to be obsolete and their thinking out of step
with the times.

The fact is that today’s youth does not respect the wisdom of
their elders – either in business or in life – and does not seek
to learn from them.

A case in point is EM, one of my early mentors, who was
considered one of the great copywriters of the 20th century.

EM and I both wrote direct mail copy for Publisher X. At the
time, I had about 7 years experience, and EM had more than 40.

The marketing managers at Publisher X – who were all in their
20s and 30s – loved what I wrote. And I think they viewed me as
a contemporary. But they tore EM’s copy to shreds.

Here they were, able to access decades of tested direct mail
knowledge from a guy who wrote some of the most famous classic
DM packages of all time …

… and they had no interest in what he thought or had to say. He
lamented to me that X routinely ignored his advice and

I close with this bit of wisdom from my favorite comedienne,
Louis CK:

“Life is an education, and if you’re older, you’re smarter. If
you are in an argument with somebody and they are older than
you, you should listen to them.

“It doesn’t mean they’re right. It means that even if they’re
wrong, their wrongness is rooted in more information than you


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 at 11:17 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

59 responses about “What’s wrong with young marketers today?”

  1. Mary Rose Maguire said:

    Bob, I completely agree with you. The younger marketers are all about social media. Sure, some of them try to use some copywriting principles with Google+, Twitter, etc. But I agree that it isn’t the same as the tried-and-true methods.

    The good news is, we’ve got the goods! You’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have and you can share your numbers with prospects. What’s ironic is that marketing automation has made measurement even more accessible. A lot of these companies are starting to pull everything together (the web visits, pageviews, etc.) and tying it to sales.

    So although the younger marketers are leaning toward talking about “engagement,” the C-suite isn’t impressed. They’re looking for an increase in their sales and if they don’t see it, they’re starting to question all this social media “engagement.”

    Meanwhile, that’s when a wise marketer like you can come in and say, “When was the last time you did a direct mail campaign? How about a downloadable white paper from an opt-in on a landing page?”

    Let the young bucks spin their wheels while we make our clients some real money! 😉

  2. Jen @ Daycare In Demand said:

    I think you’re so right that people tend to hide behind what’s new in large part because no way to measure ROI = no way to prove ineptitude!

  3. Curtis M. Alexander said:

    It’s not an either/or argument. Both young and old marketers need to constantly acquire news skills while fine tuning old ones.

    Often, grizzled veterans are just as guilty as newbie’s at being set in their ways.

    I’m no fan of social media and I think it’s overblown for the same reasons other commentors have pointed out. But that doesn’t change the fact that – for example – early testing into Facebook advertising is quite promising. Lower click cost and higher CTR’s then the Adwords.

    Whether we’re talking about new or old – opportunities for growth both professionally and personally are right next to us. We sometimes have to shift a bit to grasp them and flourish.

  4. Sandy Gerber said:

    In the marketing world, there is definitely great value in using the tried and true methods that have been proven with clear statistics. Social media hasn’t been tested for as long as the direct mailing approach, but in the past few years it does seem to be quite effective with younger generations.
    It will be interesting to see if social media will continue to be used in marketing as much in the years to come or if it is just a temporary trend in marketing. Hopefully there can be a blend of both social media as well as the other more established methods. Again this all depends on who the target market is, and perhaps in order to reach all ages marketers young and old can learn from each other to make a more effective collaborative marketing team.

  5. Jon P said:

    What’s wrong with young marketers is the same thing that’s wrong with old marketers: they think they have cornered the market on truth. Both generations can learn from each other if they show some humility and listen as much as they spout.

  6. Jim Angel said:

    After working at a large company’s marketing arm employing mostly under-35 types, it was apparent that the marketing and advertising emphasis was on entertaining an audience and trying to appeal to an emotion instead of informing them with compelling reasons to buy a product. No wonder the company has been losing market share for years!

    Sure, most buying decisions are based on emotions. But without practical reasons (spelled v-a-l-u-e) selling quality and quantity, not to mention higher priced products, it’s obvious that purchasing decisions become more effort than it should be, and the consumer opts for the easiest route to justify a purchase–the lower price.

    It’s always refreshing when I review Bly’s articles and books which have always been packed with (evidently) not-so-common-sense methods for delivering messages that are read and remembered.

    As for social media, isn’t it obvious by now that this is an over-hyped soap box-method of venting or praising? There has to be a reason for someone to want to read, let alone use, information; solutions to problems, or answers to questions, for example.

    Bob’s writing philosophy coincides with tried and proved advertising and marketing that always (yes, always) works written and handed down from other successful gurus like Ogilvy and others.

    For that we all owe a sincere, “Thank you, Bob.”

  7. Travis said:

    The idea that where you are is the smartest place never changes. The 20 year old that thinks there the smartest for reason (insert valid reason) will be 50+ years old and claiming to be the smartest for (insert valid reason).

    One thing that comes with age is complacency and laziness. Get older, don’t want to work out, don’t want to study or learn anything new. Many will die protecting ‘tried and true’ over any new information. Those same people would have been the ones who killed Galileo for saying the world was round.

    As many fools as i have met in every age group, one thing i have learned is Older is Not Smarter.

    Older is older. And older has been on the earth longer. But not necessarily smarter. Have you not experienced the number of people who get older but aren’t exposing themselves to much information?

    Stupid and 20 and maybe just a little less stupid at 50?

    Have you not experienced older, with information, but not intelligent enough to put the pieces together and constructively use that information?

    There are so many people who stopped learning 20 years ago, and claim they are smarter because they are older.

    Actually, the only thing that matters is getting the results you want and follwing what’s proving true.

    If you aren’t getting the results out of life that you want at 20 or 50, and if you’re having trouble getting work ….your results are telling something.

    And it’s not telling that you are the smartest. It’s telling you, you’ve got a lot to learn.

    20 or 50, the generation gap issue is not one sided. Its two generations of people who haven’t gotten ‘smart’ enough to effectively communicate with each other. Both come to the table with excuses.

  8. felgi stalowe said:

    Its just like you master my thoughts! You appear to learn considerably about this, such as you submitted the hem ebook inside something like that. I do believe that you simply might do with a few percentage to be able to strength your message residence a little bit, on the other hand instead of that, this is wonderful web site. A fantastic understand. Let me easily be returning.

  9. Bea said:

    You have shared nice post.

  10. ghd sports said:

    Appreciate it for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting info .
    Download GHDSPORTS

  11. IIT Delhi said:

    Alot of thanks for this amazing articles.
    Instagram growth hacks

  12. nakul said:

    Thanks for this article Check out my marketing Tips and edit photos like this and grow your social media become an influencer.-> <a href="; Nakul Bajaj <-

  13. nakul said:

    hanks for this article Check out my marketing Tips and edit photos like this and grow your social media become an influencer.-> Nakul Bajaj <-

  14. surendra said:

    thank for sharing wonderful information Regarding Job Help me A lot. today I learn new things and try it in the Future.Latest Govt job

  15. atari breakout said:

    Your article is very good, I have read many articles but I am really impressed with your posts. Thank you, I will review this article. To know about me, try talking to me.

  16. QuickBooks Chat support said:

    I took away a lot of very good points from this post and will definitely save it in my bookmarks. Thanks for the effort you took to elaborate on this subject so thoroughly.

  17. Mily Rose said:

    The young marketers of this contemporary world are indeed so different from old marketers. It is because the demands of the peoples are changing day by day and the number of challenges is also increasing. So new ideas are needed to survive. underwriting services

  18. ???? ?? ??? said:

    ??, ? ?? ??? ??? ???? ??? ? ???? ??? ??? ???????. ??? ??? ??? ???? ????

  19. Rohit singh said:

    The first and Main step to more confident speaking skills a lot of listening. Every time you are communicating with someone in English.
    English Speaking Course Online

  20. gracymar00 said:

    survey feedback is a process in which organizational members complete questionnaires on various organizational issues, receive feedback on the results, then take appropriate actions to address the critical needs and concerns.

  21. happy wheels said:

    I do not know what to say really what you share very well and useful to the community, I feel that it makes our community much more developed, thanks

  22. pogixin said:

    Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather will make his much-awaited return to the ring as he’s scheduled to take on YouTuber Logan Paul. Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul coverage

  23. EPLFeedback said:

    El Pollo Loco is allowing consumers’ survey name as El Pollo Loco Guest Survey with an event to win an El Pollo Loco coupon to win $1 El Pollo Loco Discount as an El Pollo Loco Prize when you take the El Pollo Loco Online Survey on its official site.

  24. Polo Ralph said:

    Nothing. I reckon it’s just a change of generation when young people are getting lazy and just want to watch tik tok instead of going out there and be proud to use resume services in order to get the next job. Standing ovation

  25. stdgsfdsfg said:

    Six Nations Rugby From the 6th February to 20th March 2021 this tournament will be held on six different home stadiums. 6 Nations live The opening matches of the men’s Six Nations 2021 are scheduled to be played on 6 February, 2021, when Italy host France in Rome and Scotland face England at Twickenham.

  26. Shrey Kajaria said:

    Nice Article
    full form of CD

  27. said:

    This is very good information keep it up if you want to get technology related news and articles the you can visit our website.

    hsc full form in hindi

  28. takesurveyclub said:

    Thank you to everyone who helped me.takesurvey

  29. One Dasty said:

    Bringing home a new puppy is a wonderful experience involving the whole family, which is why we begin training early to ease the transition to their new home and family. Owns a great amount of support, we assist in the preparations to make it less stressful. To provide a completely different environment for our puppies, we thoroughly researched and make sure this puppies will only go to respectable families

  30. McOrlando said:

    All of Pitbull dog and puppy . Current , deworming, flea treated, health certificate, genetic health guarantee, and AKC registration papers. All new families are required to sign a contract that includes a basic health guarantee and a 3 year genetic health guarantee. They have been raised in our home around small children, kittens and dogs of every size to help them develop well round personalities accustomed to daily home activates. We encourage families to ask question and to stay in contact with us.
    All puppies sold as pets will go home spayed-neutered! We also sell puppies along with breeding right. Note this will include an additional fee.

  31. robert said:

  32. Joe Clark said:

    Best Merchant Cash Advance Leads are exclusive Leads addressed to you Merchant Cash Advance Leads is the Qualified MCA Leads Data provider as a firm in the entire globe.

  33. fake eyelashes fort collins.. said:

    experience is important in this field

  34. lash lifting suracuse said:

    Entire world..

  35. Company Law Compliance said:

    A very insightful article. Keep up the good work.

  36. Harry Davis said:

    Howard nailed it, such a funny comment, I can hardly stop laughing on it.

  37. Ndure Shoes said:

    Shop best quality casual shoes for men online in Pakistan and Sneakers from Ndure. Shop from a wide range of colours and styles, available exclusively at Ndure. Ndure Men’s Casual Shoes and Sneakers are made from best quality materials, with soft sole. Style a handsome look in Ndure Shoes.

    Shop from a wide range of Mens collection from Ndure. Shop from a wide variety of men shoes online, Mens chappals, sandals, sneakers, sports wear, loafers, slipons and boots from Ndure. Our shoes are made from best quality material that is durable. Shop from a wide range shoes color and style.

    Shop best quality dress shoes for men online Pakistan from Ndure. Shop from a wide range of colours and styles, available exclusively at Ndure. Ndure Men’s Formal Shoes are made from best quality materials, with soft shoe sole. Style a handsome look in best quality Men’s Formal Shoes.

  38. The game said:

    Which superstitions do you believe guys? In my case, it is related to salt, like if you will drop salt it can cause bad luck.

  39. himanshu sharma said:

    check this hot model

  40. baman said:

    thank you check this girl

  41. Raul Smith said:

    Installing Sling TV on Roku | Activate Sling TV
    Sling TV is a great option for all those who are looking forward to watching on-demand channels,(roku com sling) TV shows on their devices. Just like any other Cable TV or satellite subscription the Sling TV allows you to stream content however, it runs on the internet. Besides, you also need a media streamer like Roku before installing the Sling TV. So, if you want to activate/install Sling TV then you can follow these steps for help. However, if you need more assistance then get help from the team.

  42. GoMatka said:

    Really a knowledgeable blog. Thanks for this writing.
    Satta Matka App Development
    Matka Game App Development
    Matka app development

  43. ShopECS said:

    ECS is leading Pakistani shoes brand visit and shop from ECS for better footwear experience.

  44. Chinyere said:

    Chinyere is offering special eid collection dresses. Check new Eid ladies dresses at Chinyere online

  45. Rivaj UK said:

    Rivaj offers the best cosmetics and related products like Maybelline concealer and similar Concealer products So, grab the best concealer today and enjoy Their concealers are truly unbeatable and offer a high degree of satisfaction Rivaj offers the best concealer in Pakistan to their customers every day

  46. Chinyere said:

    Chinyere is best Pakistani clothing brands. Check chinyere cloths collection online today.

  47. Ndure Shoes said:

    Only the most trendy and stylish shoes for men are on offer online from Ndure, grab them today.

  48. Kylian23 said:

    where customers may submit their candid opinion based on their recent experiences.
    Visit My Post: Tescoviews

  49. Balon Selfie said:

    Thank you for the information. Jual Balon Promosi

  50. Balon Sky Dancer said:

    Good post, thank you. Jual Balon Tepuk

  51. MyCentura Health Portal said:

    MyCenturaHealth patient portal offers benefits, medical records, bill payment, messaging feature, reminders, test, reports. We’ve given you MyCentura login guide here.

  52. totoguy said:

    I really appreciate that this article is well summarized and easy to understand. I’m sure you’re interested, it can also teach you more logically. totoguy

  53. totoright said:

    Thank you for your excellent article. You will constantly find customers returning to us as a result of our special organization. totoright

  54. said:

    Have you ever heard of PaybyPlateMa? It is a new and innovative way to pay bills online. Instead of sending your invoice by mail, you can use your PaybyPlateMa account to pay immediately with a debit or credit card or even with your mobile phone.

  55. Balon Tepuk Jakarta said:

    Thank you for your excellent article. Balon Gate

  56. Balon Sky Dancer said:

    Good information, thank you. Balon Boneka Angin

  57. Highway Fashions said:

    Match out the latest bin Ilyas sale online at Highway fashions. Explore the broad range of branded dresses online at Highway fashions. Bring your favorite dresses online in all over Pakistan at lower prices.

  58. Royal Leafs said:

    If you’re searching for the best Cannabis near me, you’re at the right place! At Royal Leafs, you can find plenty of Cannabis products such as Cannabis pre-rolls, raw and milled flowers, drinks, and accessories such as bongs and vapes of the highest quality.

  59. Sarmun said:

    Get the best quality Fashion Jackets for Men online from Sarmun. Check the variety of men’s fashion jackets online at Sarmun. Order your favorite fashion jackets at great prices across America.

Leave a Reply