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Ok Grandma, This Is What I Do…

Explaining digital marketing to an analog grandma isn't easy

By Noah Blum • Senior Project Manager, Antics Digital Marketing • July 31, 2015

As I’m sure many millennials can relate, my grandparents simply can’t wrap their heads around what it is I do for a living. Their friends ask them what their grandson does for work, and they answer with something along the lines of “I’m not really sure, but I think something with computers.” While grandma isn’t wrong, her understanding could probably go AT LEAST one level deeper. Maybe. So, in what I realized had the potential to be an amusing exercise, I began thinking about how to relate to grandma, with the ultimate goal of helping her understand my job so she can give her friends at bridge a more accurate description of my oh-so-cryptic career.

After a bit of contemplation, I determined it was not what digital marketers DO that grandma can’t get her head around, but the avenues through which we do it. It is as if placing the word “digital” in front of “marketing” makes the latter a total alien concept. In order to move grandma forward, I realized that marketing must come before digital.

Generally speaking, grandma simply isn’t exposed to any forms of marketing that aren’t print, radio or television. She doesn’t have an iPhone. She hasn’t opened her lap top my parents bought her for years, so if you send her an email, don’t expect a response anytime soon. However, my hope is that her familiarity with other forms of media will act as the foundation of eventual understanding. The key was to avoid the minutiae, keep things VERY high level and stick to marketing. The longer I talked and the more I explained, the greater her lack of understanding would likely become.

So grandma, now I’m talking to you!

Just like marketers in other forms of media, I’m working to support and promote my client’s goal/cause, whether it’s selling a product, attracting potential customers, educating consumers, building brand awareness, etc. You’ve seen ads in magazines, you know what a focus group is, you’ve seen infomercials, and you’ve received promotions in the mail. Take a moment to think about those things. They’re simply companies’ attempts at making some kind of connection with you, the consumer. Well, that’s what I do – I connect consumers with companies, but I don’t generally do it on TV, the radio or in magazines – I do it on the internet. I work with my clients to design websites, mobile apps, emails, etc, all of which generally aim to achieve one of the goals mentioned above.

Unfortunately, having just used the words “internet” and “mobile apps” in back to back sentences, I realize I’m discussing the aforementioned avenues that make up the “digital” in digital marketing. For the umpteenth time I’ve hit my impasse with grandma and I’ve barely even gotten started. Anyway, I hope some of this helps her understand my career so she can finally explain to her friends what I do. While the explanation may have been an exercise of futility, I selfishly enjoyed writing it nonetheless. Just kidding, I would never have fun at grandma’s expense.

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