Tag: millennials

Rustadmarketing.com Reboot

Written by Marketing Wisdom

My first website kicked off in 2003, when I returned to being an independent brand-marketing consultant after a four year partnership with a Santa Rosa ad agency.

Since then, it has remained untouched except for periodic updates to my various portfolios over the years. In an effort to both understand and exploit Google’s dominance in Internet searches (84% in 2004), I also wrote a blog titled Marketing Wisdom that featured anecdotes and life lessons gleaned from day-to-day encounters.

Today, my blog, Marketing Wisdom and – more importantly a link to the Rustad Marketing website – appears mid-screen on the second page of natural results when one searches “marketing wisdom.” As someone who advocates that websites need to be regularly refreshed – if not redone entirely every few years to take advantage of the ongoing evolution of the Internet – I have to admit to ignoring my own advice. As they say, the cobbler’s kids go barefoot.

That said, over the years I’ve received regular praise for my first website’s economical design and focus on brand marketing.

Truth told, I probably would have avoided the hassle and retrospection demanded of a website upgrade for another few years were it not for my daughter’s website (https://www.valerierustad.com/) which, I must say, she built without any help from her “marketing pro” dad.

Not that Valerie needed my help. She graduated from Chapman University last spring with a BFA in Graphic Design. More to the point, she benefited from an excellent education in the craft thanks in great part to her faculty mentor – Eric Chimenti (https://www.chapman.edu/our-faculty/eric-chimenti).

But the bigger issue is that Valerie is a part of a generation that never knew a world without the Internet. As such, she’s comfortable in a world that’s still foreign to folks like me who are more than two generations removed.

Yep, it’s a fact that I’m not a “boomer” but a “war baby” having been born in the last year of WWII. I grew up with national radio programs, the then new medium of television, black rotary dial phones, and the ice cream man driving down the streets of my post war tract neighborhood to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel.”

Though I’m committed to staying current with software and technology, it’s a challenge understanding Valerie’s generation – the so-called millennials – and their take, not just on the Internet, but media in general. Hint: they don’t watch TV or read newspapers and upon waking in the morning the first thing they reach for is their phone.

Oh yes, I did help Valerie’s web presence in one important way: I bought her name as a URL many years ago. As it happens with most names, Valerie is not the only Valerie Rustad in the world nor, for that matter, am I the only Stephen Rustad. Google me and you’ll find my namesake is a teacher in Minnesota. However, both Valerie and I own our respective URL’s – something I believe is essential to our Internet “visibility.”

Anyway, when I saw Valerie’s shiny, new, crisply designed, mobile-friendly website I knew my time had come. Enjoy. And, please don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts.

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Thinking About Millennials

Written by Marketing Wisdom


The Millennial generation, aka “Gen Y,” are those men and women currently aged 16 to 34 years old. Children of the demographically massive baby boomers, in about eight years, there will be 64 million adult millennials, at which point
they will surpass boomers as a percentage of the adult population, and become the largest living generation in America


Millennials are active advocates of social media to broadcast their preferences and influence the choices of friends, or even perfect strangers. They are the first generation that regards tweeting and texting not as astonishing innovations of the digital era, but as everyday parts of their social lives and their search for understanding the world around them.


They were the generation that was hit the hardest by this recession in terms of layoffs and difficulty finding jobs, and it really shows in their food purchasing habits Millennials don’t have a lot of disposable income and therefore more price conscious than many had anticipated.

Millennials are also getting married later than their parents did, and having children later than their parents did, which is to say that they aren’t merely buying groceries on modest budgets but doing it, largely, for households of one.


They are the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history. Diversity and authenticity are key to attracting Millennial. E.g., they are increasingly interested in ethnic food options and hanker for authentic diversity.

While Millennials gravitate toward authentic tastes, they’re not necessarily staunch purists about form and function. They have a soft spot for ethnic mash-ups, which combine authentic elements of two or more ethnic cuisines in familiar, accessible formats. Sushirritos (sushi served in burrito form), naanwiches, Korean barbecue tacos, Mexican dumplings.

This is a generation that has no trouble with hybrids of any sort, provided the result has some sort of authentic heritage…and is delicious.


One size definitely will not fit all and they’re often wary of anything that carries the whiff of mass production. Having it their way is their way.


Millennials favor fitness and understand more about healthy foods and ingredients than their parents or grandparents did at the same age. Yet many think nothing of indulging if they can assuage their conscience with the knowledge that the treat is “all-natural” or “organic.”

This topic, in particular, reveals the perils of making broad generalizations about a demographic that spans nearly 20 years. Certainly the eating habits of 18-year-old college students differ from those of 28-year-olds who are well into their adult lifestyles.


Millennials wear their social consciences on their sleeves. Terms such as, organic, free range, cruelty-free, locally grown, grass-fed, hormone-free resonate with them, They are sensitive to animal welfare, interested in the local-food movement and prefer all things natural.


Millennials – while focused on paying as little as possible for products – are also much more willing to pay more for specific attributes in food, such as organics / natural, ethnic and specialty foods. They are also very willing to pay a premium for organics — and more so than their parents. In fact, one in 10 millennials responded that they’d pay over 20 percent more for organic — and their willingness applied to GMO-free products as well. In other words, millennials are putting their money where their mouths are.

Millennials want fresh food, sure. Organic food, too. But the truth is that they aren’t as self-righteous about it as their parents were at the same age, for that matter, are today.

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It’s Not Her Father’s Internet

Written by Marketing Wisdom

When my just minted BFA daughter was about to leave the warm bosom of Chapman University for the mean streets of the So Cal marketing world, I was brimming with advice on what she should do to promote her graphic design and illustration skills.

Of course, she would need a professional website and, lucky for her, she had a marketing pro dad who could call in a few favors to whip up a state-of-art Internet Portal.

How quickly parents forget.

When Valerie was six, or so, she asked for my help to learn to ride a bike. “Absolutely,” I said, “when I get home this evening from work.” I guess my help wasn’t fast enough – nor apparently needed – for when I got home that evening she was riding her bike up and down our driveway. It’s worth noting that In those days we lived on a hill and the drive was pitched like ski slope.

Before I could say, “cascading style sheets,” Valerie had located a free website tool and whipped up her own well-designed and mobile-friendly site. Check it out: https://www.valerierustad.com/

Still, the full impact of my irrelevance had yet to dawn until I’m counselling Valerie on what she needs to do to promote her artwork the world.

Valerie politely waits for me to take a breath so she can get a word in. When I do, she tells me that a website is fine and all, but she’s going to use social media to promoter her artwork.

“Ah, Facebook,” I mutter proudly. I’d been on Facebook for a couple of years.  Dad was no social media laggard.

“Hmm, no, dad,” Valerie replied. “I’ll use Instagram and Tumblr. They’ll reach more of the people I’m interested in.”

I felt like a buggy whip salesman just introduced to Henry Ford. “Tum-bler…really.”

According to Wikipedia, Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website owned by Yahoo! Inc. Tumblr allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users’ blogs, as well as make their blogs private. As of February 1, 2015, Tumblr hosts over 221.3 million blogs.

It’s true that Facebook numbers its users in the billions, but like its nearly forgotten predecessor  MySpace – Facebook has long since fallen out of favor with millennials.

Today I’m a Tumblr subscriber with my own mini-blog showcasing my homemade movie posters that pay tribute to my favorite films. I have no followers. I also have an Instagram account with a whopping 28 fans.

Valerie’s Instagram fan base is – at last count – 641. A drawing she posted last summer https://instagram.com/p/r17NXCKxam/?modal=true garnered over 1200 “likes” and “41” shares.

Her most recent Tumblr post (https://valerie-rustad.tumblr.com/) has over 8,300 notes, a category that includes both likes and shares.

Lest you think that I’m in some sort of competition with my daughter, let me put that suspicion to rest. In the world of social media content and personality rule: two areas where she has me beat hands down.

I’ll settle for being an old block off the young chip, thank you, and I’m proud to be so.

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