As millennial marketers, we share a unique vantage point on a dynamically changing media and marketing environment. We're nearing a decade of experience in traditional media relations, but we're digital natives.

In fact, Lindsay Mullen's claim to fame is her interview with Mark Zuckerberg when she was a college intern at what was then ABC Radio in Detroit. Alyssa Conrardy conducted her first job search via Twitter.

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For our team at Prosper Strategies, talking with reporters and creating compelling stories is just as instinctual as building communities and activating supporters online.

What our two years of running our own business has shown us is that as marketing and PR firms look to the future, it's no longer about operating in silos. Those social or digital media departments that were created to keep big firms on the cutting-edge are what are actually setting our industry behind the curve.

The ability to draw someone in through a news article or social media post and nurture them through the sales funnel is only effective with the right mix of marketing activities. Top of the funnel activities like media relations and social media engagement need to tie directly to engagement of followers, stakeholders and advocates on your website and through your enewsletter.

Measurement in Demand

While these activities bring more overall value to clients, they also allow us to demonstrate measurable results. These are results that create impact and drive the bottom line. And these results are what our clients today are demanding. We believe as more millennials move into decision-making roles, this will simply become the new norm. PR and marketing professionals will have to prove return on investment.

The good news is it's no longer guesswork. Digital analytics tools and the corresponding data provide insight into consumer behavior and preference, allowing us to speak more directly to target stakeholders where and when they are paying attention. We can actually build out goals beyond the nebulous "raise awareness, build credibility and position you as a thought-leader" to include key performance indicators (KPIs). These include things like media placements garnered, relationships built, messages received, messages amplified, supporter growth and stakeholder engagement. Then, with the help of digital tools, we can tie these KPIs directly back to impact, sales and profitability.

In other words, we can measure what actually matters.

So how are we positioning our firm for success in the future? We're embracing our millennial roots, employing data-driven, silo-free strategies and focusing our work on a new type of client: mission-driven organizations.

Cause Marketing's Rise

If you've been paying attention, you've likely noticed that consumer preference has shifted toward brands that are doing good and giving back. In fact, according to research from Cone Communications, U.S. consumer purchasing of products associated with a cause is up 170 percent since 1993, and 91 percent of global consumers now say they're likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause given comparable price and quality.

By many measures, millennials are more altruistic and cause-minded than previous generations, and as more of our cohorts move into decision-making and head of household roles, we anticipate consumer preferences will continue to lean toward organizations that associate with positive impact. We've built Prosper Strategies to serve this growing but underserved slice of the market, which includes nonprofit organizations with business-like mindsets and for-profit companies that put equal emphasis on purpose and profits.

We're embracing change and taking a tactic-agnostic approach to helping mission-driven organizations get ahead. We're blending creative storytelling with digital acuity to build strategies for tomorrow's leaders in the impact space so that they can focus on their causes while we get the word out.

That's a future to get excited about. 

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Lindsay Mullen and Alyssa Conrady are co-founders of Prosper Strategies, a mission-driven marketing firm that works with social enterprises, cause-focused companies and business-minded nonprofits.