Marketing to Millennials

As the millennial generation has surpassed the size of the baby boomers, they are now the largest living generation to market towards in the United States.  They are known for their uniqueness and individuality which means traditional marketing techniques are not useful when advertising to them.  Instead, creative marketing towards their interests (not their wallets) leads to positive thinking about your brand. Millennials like to be engaged; they don’t just want products fed to them, they want an experience.  In order to capture their attention, generate valuable content that relates to their interests or provides information that is useful to them.  Because this generation is moving so quickly, it is crucial that your content and marketing methods are up to date and relevant to what millennials are looking for.  Use the following strategies to capture the attention of this young and social generation.

Find Common Ground

Relevance should be your brand’s main focus when deciding what to post on social media, or what to content to provide in an e-mail campaign.  A recent study performed by the University of Southern California’s Psychology Department shows that millennials spending habits tend to be related to categories such as fashion, health and fitness, socializing, transportation and eating out. Therefore, your brand’s advertising will be effective should it relate (in some way) to these categories.  Images that promote an active lifestyle gives millennials a chance to put themselves in your brand’s “shoes”.  Pairing clever phrases and statistics with images of people performing activities like running, skiing, and yoga causes viewers to stop, think and relate your brand to their personal lives’ and interests.  While millennials might not purchase right away after viewing these posts, their positive thoughts towards your brand can open up conversation to others who might end up purchasing instead.

Market on Mobile

According to Time Magazine, the average person looks at their phone 46 times per day – far more than an average of 33 times per day in 2014. While Facebook still leads as the most used social media site, Instagram and Snapchat are now holding strong at second and third.  The reason for this is, as mentioned before, millennials want an experience.  On Facebook, this often means videos that relate to their desires, and on Instagram and Snapchat, this means posting images that are relevant to their generation.  For example, posting images with a relatable tagline on Facebook such as the “Buying A Pair Gives A Pair” ad by Toms quickly grabs the viewer’s attention.  Not only is this relevant to millennials, but generally speaking, millennials like recognition for giving back and wearing a pair of Toms is a symbol of just that.  Not only does this help millennials relate to your brand, but it also promotes positive brand recognition as well.


Additionally, a recent study performed by Coupofy (the largest online discount coupons and deals website in the US) shows that 53% of millennials check the news or social media first thing in the morning and 82% check within the first hour of being awake. Millennials are using their smartphones to access information far more than their computers. Create content for your advertisements that is short, witty and attention grabbing in hopes of gathering their attention long enough to stop their scroll.  Timing is also very important – the middle of the day is not a time where millennials are scrolling through their social media feeds.  Setting your ads to show at bedtime and first thing in the morning will grab their attention better than in the middle of the day when it is likely to be lost within their feed. 

Millennial Stereotypes to Consider

When marketing to millennials, it is important to note, and avoid, a few common stereotypes. According to Ad Age: millennials are cheap, not loyal and only want to shop online. But are these all really true?

Millennials are strategic, not cheap.  They look for products that will hold value for long periods of time.  When launching a new product, or promoting an existing one, free shipping, trial-sizes and product videos often hold the viewers’ attention.  As long as your product isn’t too expensive, millennials will likely purchase if they feel like your product is useful on a day-to-day basis. Give them a chance to give your product a shot before fully investing.

Millennials are loyal.  However, the problem is that they often want social proof and look for recommendations from others before purchasing a product themselves.  According to, 43.5% of millennials share products they like across social media which gives legitimacy from another source besides the brand itself.  If a friend likes a product, or a brand, they will share it their friends creating a stronger sense of brand loyalty.  Creating a loyalty program to get your customers to share, promote and advocate for your brand may result as some of your best investment.

While millennials tend to shop online quite often, they still want to have the product in their hands as soon as possible.  If free shipping is not offered online, the next option is finding it in a store closest to them. When pushing your online products or sales, include free shipping or “ship to store” options to win them over. If you don’t offer this option but your competitor does, chances are you may have just lost that sale.

Interested in learning more or need assistance with your marketing strategy? Feel free to contact us for additional guidance on the best strategies to engage your customers!