There’s no doubt that millennials are a unique generation. Much of the buzz surrounding millennials is negative, with countless articles detailing industries they’ve killed with their spending habits. Love them or hate them, millennials make up a crucial segment of the consumer population, so it’s important to understand how to engage with them in your company’s marketing efforts. Luckily for you, we’ve polled the experts about their approaches to marketing to millennials. Check out their advice below!
Q: What is your number one tip for marketing to a millennial audience?
1. Be willing to be controversial.
To attract millennials, I would suggest more brands be willing to be “controversial.” They should be willing to take a stand and put the focus on the message rather than the product. Pushing product is super old-school, and having grown up in that environment, millennials are more likely to ‘skip’ or scroll right past product-heavy messages. They are much more likely to stop, read, and/or watch something from a company that’s speaking directly to them, rather than a company that has watered down its message for the masses. Mass marketing is no longer relevant and won’t result in repeat customers.
Freelance Account Executive at Ogilvy
2. Stop viewing millennials as a “generation.”
The number one tip for marketing to millennials is to stop viewing them as a “generation” or archetype. There are many types of millennials. There are many different aspects of any human you should know when marketing and trying to connect and build alignment between an individual and the brand. There is no silver bullet. You should ask, “Why this story, this vision, this opportunity, at this time for this individual?” regardless of the generation they come from.
3. Be authentic and utilize a cause that aligns with your company’s values.
Leveraging aspects of “course marketing” with the dual purpose of both increasing profitability while also improving society is a great way to tap into trends and causes that the audience truly cares about. The key is to be authentic and utilize a cause that aligns with your company’s values. If done right, the campaign will be perceived as authentic. If done wrong, you risk being perceived as fake, dishonest and out of touch.
Building trust is a must when brands want to market to millennials. In this regard, authenticity is a powerful tool, which in turn often also means being more human – using and showing real people, real customers, real employees – and video is a great tool for this.
VP of Marketing at TwentyThree
4. Be relevant and relatable.
My answer would be to be relevant & relatable. It doesn’t matter if it’s humor, tear-jerking or hype beast style, if the content and message are relevant and relatable, millennials will pick it. Millennials are generally selfish, so the message has to be relevant to them in order for them to “care” about it. Hence the importance.
5. Create, don’t regurgitate.
My number one tip? Create, don’t regurgitate. Three artists who’ve inspired me more than any others are David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, and Stevie Wonder. Their careers span decades and each is like a chameleon, always changing with the times, even ahead of the times laying the path for others to follow. True artists, never the same from one album to the next, one outfit to the next, one tour to the next.
Do you think any of them worried about data? No, they listened to their audience, the vibe of the times and their own inner voice. They were brave, fearless and bold. Millennials love that sh*t. Brands need to be more Bowie!
Chief Marketing Officer at Bidstack
6. Surround yourself with young people.
Surround yourself with Millennial and Gen Z individuals within your organization that will allow you to stay relevant and know what is trending daily. Media consumption has exploded in the past years and you need to keep up with that. I don’t know any company that creates enough content, either organic or paid, to fill in the pipes that are the Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok of the world. Allow your team to create more, fail often, learn faster.
7. Align with their always-changing lives.
You need to build clarity around how your brand, products, and overall experiences align with their always-changing lives. Look for ways that your brand aligns with their values, as they want to feel great about the company they are forming a relationship with—and be honest about this! Help them make informed choices, as they are as motivated and mobile of a shopper generation as we’ve seen.
This may mean creating a greater depth of content to fit various moments in their decision journey. Recognize that they are entering parenthood, so their values and needs now apply to their families beyond just themselves. And above all else, remember that Millennials are people. They have been studied and analyzed in every imaginable way, but the key to connecting with them is finding a human truth that resonates.
Director of Strategic Planning at Brokaw Inc.
8. Be real.
My number one tip for Marketing to a Millennial Audience would be to be real. When making purchases, Millennials often care more about the opinions of their friends and influencers. Build an honest foundation that is both engaging and relevant. Don’t be afraid to share real-life stories and testimonials that Millennials can relate to. Whatever you do, don’t ignore their feedback or comments. And always take constructive criticism.
CEO at Millennial Vision
9. Be authentic and to-the-point.
Videos that are authentic and to-the-point work better than long-form content. Always focus on content first and then the rest of the jazz, like background and video quality. Most people do one or two videos and then say it didn’t work. I would say to do it consistently for long periods of time, even before thinking of what the ROI is. To me, just like with anything, consistency creates massive outcomes.
Chief Evangelist & Co-Founder at Terminus