Marketing to Millennials

Millennials are a highly tech-savvy generation having come of age during the digital revolution. If you are wondering whether or not your brand’s marketing strategies should tap into the buying power of this group of consumers, here is some food for thought.


A report from Futurum Research predicted by 2020:

  • 50% of the world’s workforce will be Millennials

  • 1 in 3 Americans will be a millennial by 2020

  • 1 in 3 purchases will be made by Millennials by 2020

  • The buying power of this generation will reach $1 trillion


While making general assumptions and labeling the entire millennial generation in any particular manner makes for poor strategy, studying the common behaviors of this segment of the population makes sense. By better understanding what makes Millennials tick, brands can better anticipate their purchasing preferences and implement marketing strategies accordingly.


Millennials appreciate technology. They’ve seen tech grow and evolve as they have and while most are diligent users of digital devices, they are not addicted to the extent that their Gen Z counterparts are. Millennials prefer value-added services and tools that offer practicality, convenience, savings, and fun. This group has also had front row seats to the failures of various networks and devices such as MySpace, Vine, and Google+ so they are less likely to jump on a bandwagon without caution and a ton of research. What this means for brands is that they need to offer products and services that have a definite purpose and level of value that can somehow improve the daily lives of Millennial consumers.


Millennials are fickle in their response to advertising. This group of consumers’ trust level of “the man” is challenging to earn. They will both filter and reject traditional advertising especially when they sense any level of manipulation or misrepresentation. Millennials will fact check everything and are most receptive to authenticity. Offer a consistently rewarding customer experience that helps them feel like a part of your brand community and you’ll do well with this group.


Making the world a better place. The knowledge that a brand is focused on making a difference matters to Millennials. They want to participate in change for a better world and are will to pay extra for products and services to do so. Companies that communicate (and execute) a dedication to social and environmental change resonate well with Millennials. Brands that prioritize and lead with the values important to their organization will consistently activate a Millennial audience.


A social media presence is an expectation. Millennials have been shown to readily engage with brands on various social media platforms. As we mentioned above, however, they crave authenticity and will quickly reject superficial content. Avoid outright marketing ploys on your social media channels and seek, rather, to utilize the platforms as they are meant to be used by being social. Engage by listening, commenting, and sharing high-value content. Create a community by asking questions, asking for input and feedback, and utilizing user-generated content when you can.


Mobile first. A number of studies have found that Millennials spend more time interacting with their mobile devices than they do other people. Here is some food for thought:

  • Almost 80% would not convert because of security concerns

  • Slightly over 80% would not convert because of an inability to see product detail

  • Slightly over 80% would not convert because navigating is difficult

  • Slightly over 80% would not convert because of the inability to browse multiple screens in order to compare products

  • Over 81% would not convert because it is too difficult to input details

Brands can address these concerns by executing a mobile-first marketing strategy that utilizes the best of digital technologies that offer top-notch user experience.



So, how can your brand tap into the buying power of Millennials?

  • Create visual content and utilize visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, etc.

  • Feature user-generated content on your website and social channels to increase authenticity and credibility.

  • Sell experiences, not just products, to help Millennials relate to your brand and messaging.

  • Create sharable content to allow your followers to share with their tribe information about your brand.

  • Allow easy shopping by utilizing Instagram’s commerce features.

  • Hold giveaways and contest to tap into Millennials’ combined love for a challenge and prizes.

  • Respond quickly to questions and comments on social media channels.

  • Support a meaningful cause and offer opportunities for others to help you in that support.

  • Offer a loyalty program – Oracle found that over 70% of Millennials were members of loyalty programs. Just ensure the program is accessible via smartphone! CodeBroker found that 97% of Millennials said they would use their smartphones to engage with loyalty programs.

  • Offer subscriptions to tap into Millennials’ preference to rent versus own.

  • Create and utilize video content. 80% of Millennials seek out video content when researching a purchasing decision.

  • Use humor to create engaging, interesting, and highly sharable content.

  • Be authentic, honest, and real.



Four Trends to Factor into Your Millennial Focused Marketing Strategy

Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning and artificial intelligence can help you provide engaging digital experiences to your current and potential customers. Instead of sending irrelevant marketing spam, create and send relevant, thought-provoking, engaging content that offers the highest level of customer experience. Personalization and hyper-relevant marketing based on customer data is key to reaching Millennial consumers. Artificial intelligence is a tool that will help you do it.


Influencer Marketing

The Internet and social media platforms provide an array of opportunities for people to share their experiences and for others to research and consider those posted opinions as they make purchasing decisions. This is word of mouth advertising like we’ve never seen before. An influencer strategy will look different from one business to another but, in all cases, can help your brand build trust among your Millennial audience. If you can’t afford a celebrity or otherwise well-known influencer, consider utilizing charismatic employees or strong brand followers instead.


User-generated Content

Community and user-generated experiences are thriving in a manner that traditional advertising can’t with the Millennial segment of the population. The inclusivity created by community and user-generated content will help your brand connect with consumers and will build trust and a greater sense of community within your audience base. Olapic found that 56% of consumers are more likely to buy a product that they’ve seen in real-life images posted by another consumer that they feel is “relatable”.


Visual Disruption

Brands can have a difficult time breaking through the digital and non-digital distractions that permeate the lives of Millennials. Instead of relying on words to hook your target audience, think visual disruption. Something that will make scrollers and scanners stop and pay attention to your content. Something as basic as a color disruption can do the trick as evidenced by the (eventually doomed) Fyre Festival’s orange square. An unexpected flash of a seldom used color to showcase a new message or product is certainly worthy of some research!




The diversity of the Millennial generation makes it important to keep generalizations to a minimum. We can, however, learn from the existing data on the generation’s behavior and its influence on marketing to help us create more meaningful customer experiences. We should also keep in mind that their behaviors will continue to change in the ever-changing digital landscape in which this digitally based generation exists.

The team at Strategy Driven Marketing understands the importance of meeting segments of your target audience on the platforms they love, speaking directly to them, and helping them understand how your products or services will meet their challenges and fulfill their needs. Whether you want to talk social media marketing strategy, need assistance with content creation, social analytics, or whatever your needs may be, SDM can help. Contact us today to get started!

Cover photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels