How to Market to Millennials

Millennials, those born between 1982and 2000, make up about 25% of the population…and exercise an annual buying power of about $200 billion. Your business simply cannot ignore this demographic and thrive. If you’ve already tried targeting this age group but don’t seem to have much success marketing, perhaps your marketing approach is the problem.

Millennials resist traditional marketing strategies. They do not want to be pushed into a sale. They do not want to invest in a company that shows no concern for their interests or well-being. In order to win over these teens and 20-somethings, you have to establish a more authentic connection. 

Millennials: A Basic Profile

As a generation, millennials demonstrate some characteristic worldviews and behaviors that businesses and marketers need to be aware of to successfully engage this demographic. Collectively, millennials:

  • Trust the opinions and reviews of real people (even people they don’t know) about products and services
  • Consume content…and share what they find valuable with their social networks
  • Value collaboration and want to contribute to the development of products and services
  • Value use over ownership and experiences over purchases

Despite some of the negative press, millennials are creative and hardworking and will invest their interest, energy, time and dollars in what they find valuable. To brands looking to sell, that means millennials will prove very lucrative and loyal customers if you can win them over.

Tips for Marketing to Millennials

Millennials are looking for products and services to add value to their lives, not a company’s profit margin. Some strategies to do that include:

  • Give ‘em (Free) Quality Content

Millennials are avid readers and savvy viewers. They consume blogs, reviews, videos, infographics, etc. You can woo them to buy your products and services by first demonstrating that you can/will contribute to their knowledge bank, social currency and general well-being by offering free content, such as:

  • How-to videos
  • White papers
  • Blogs
  • Online reviews and product comparisons

Be warned, though: millennials can sniff out attempts to disguise traditional push marketing as free content. They want something real, something useful…something without dollar signs attached so that they know you care about them.

  • Be Where They Are but Let Them Find and Friend You

Millennials are the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology. They nearly live on social media to organize events, collaborate with peers, establish and maintain relationships and share their personal worlds. To be relevant to millennials, brands have to be on social media…but there’s more to it than just having a profile, page or account.

Companies cannot force themselves into millennials’ social networks; they have to be invited. To gain this level of trust and acceptance, brands have to curate a social media presence that delivers a relevant, authentic and entertaining/informative experience. At the very foundation, brands cannot treat social media like an online radio or newspaper ad—you can’t use your posts, tweets, pins, snaps, etc. to push products. Instead, your posts, tweets, pins, etc. need to deliver relevant, interesting, shareable content.

  • Help Them Find “Word of Mouth” Recommendations

Millennials seek out other users’ feedback about products and services they are considering. They trust their friends, friends of friends, subject matter experts and even strangers—in short, anyone but the company marketing the product. Testimonials and reviews provide the space for your already loyal customers to do your marketing for you.

When you allow your past and current customers to speak for you about their product experience, even negative feedback can work for you as long as your company is responding to negative posters in a timely, courteous and helpful way. (See our blog about review management for more details.)

If you feel “stuck” when it comes to marketing to millennials, ask for help. Allowing users to vote on new logos, slogans, product lines, etc. gives millennials a chance to meaningfully contribute to the future of something. If you feel like you can’t even get that far with this demographic, contact for help. We provide consultation services to help you revamp your online marketing strategies to effectively engage you millennial audience.