We’ve all heard about the power of millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 — as a consumer group. They’re the largest generation in U.S. history, comprising over 21% of the U.S. population.
The average millennial household’s disposable income was over $84,000 last year. Millennials are the largest populated generation in the U.S today and their spending power is already beyond any previous generations.
With the oldest millennials hitting 41 years of age, the market for millennials has increased as their generation is starting to reach their peak career spending years. As of this year, millennials spent $2.5 trillion online. Their spending capacity is estimated to reach $8.3 trillion by 2025.
Marketing to millennials is a key part of any business strategy — but it can be tricky to get right. Here are some tips on how to market to millennials:
Understand their values.
In order to market effectively to millennials, you need to understand what they value most: authenticity and transparency. Millennials want brands that reflect their values and align with their worldviews — if they don’t see this connection, they’ll move on quickly.
Millennials are different from previous generations for many reasons. For example, they were raised in an era of technology and social media, so they have a different way of communicating their feelings, interests and thoughts.
Having grown up in the digital age, their unique experience with the boom of technology and social media makes millennials more interconnected, globally aware and progressive than any other generation before them.
Related: Getting The Right Social Media Mix For Your Business’ Social Media Strategy
Make meaningful connections.
Millennials have been deemed the “most educated generation ever.” More than any other generation before them, they’re well-educated — both at school and online — and they have higher expectations when it comes to the brands they buy from. They expect those brands to meet their needs by providing relevant information about products and services in an engaging way (that isn’t just a sales pitch).
Growing up on the internet, millennials have been exposed to a lot of ads. Americans, on average, are exposed to between 6,000 and 10,000 advertisements a day. Not to mention, Facebook Advertising alone has a reach of 2.11 billion people. Millennials have a high level of awareness about marketing tactics and techniques used by brands to attract their attention. They can see through any attempts by companies to manipulate them into buying something they don’t need or want.
This makes it difficult for marketers looking to reach this audience segment through traditional methods like advertising, which typically relies on subtle manipulation or exaggeration. Millennials don’t want to be sold — they want to be heard. Instead of focusing on gimmicks to get millennials’ attention, brands need to be authentic so that their target audience can see through these tactics and connect with them on a deeper level.
Brand reputation matters. Millennials are loyal to brands who align with their values and aren’t afraid to speak out against those who don’t fit the mold or do something wrong (think Balenciaga). This can be both good and bad for businesses because it means millennials will support socially conscious brands but also hold others accountable when they do something wrong.
Who brands choose to promote with on their campaigns and advertisements are just as important as the product they are promoting. A crucial step of the campaign process should be dedicating time and value to the target demographic by highlighting key elements of respect.
Millennials value authenticity, so when it comes to brand messaging, marketers should strive for transparency and realness. This is especially important when it comes to digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where millennials are more likely than older generations to engage with brands on these platforms.
Utilize experiential marketing.
Millennials are the first generation to prioritize living experiences over material things. This may be the key to digital advertising to millennials. A study by Harris Group found that 78% of millennials prefer to pay for experiences over material things.
Above all, millennials want experiences. They want to be entertained, inspired and engaged by what companies have to offer. They don’t just want to see an ad; they want to experience it.
Experiential marketing is a powerful tool that can be used by businesses to raise brand awareness and create long-lasting impressions with customers. It’s a great way to get millennials excited about something new. You can do this through events, contests or giveaways.
Experiential marketing isn’t just about handing out free samples or sending customers on scavenger hunts — it’s about connecting with consumers through an experience that resonates with them in a way that goes beyond advertising alone.
Millennials, in particular, are especially avid sharers of events and experiences on social media. This means that if you can get millennials through the door, they’ll likely share photos and videos of their experience on social media—which can lead to more traffic, leads and sales in the long run.
If you want to reach millennials with experiential marketing, here are some ideas:
Host an event. Hosting an event is one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and create positive impressions on consumers. Events can range from concerts to classes and everything in between. The key here is to make sure that your event aligns with your target audience’s interests. For example, if your brand is about wellness and health, you could host an event at a yoga studio or gym.
Social media contests. Contests are another great way to get people talking about your brand and products. You can run these contests on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. They can be simple photo contests or something more elaborate like asking people to submit videos with their stories about using your product.
Product demonstrations and sampling. This type of experiential marketing uses hands-on demonstrations to show how a product works, which can help generate interest in the product or service. It allows customers to make personal connections to how it would work in their own lives. For example, companies can offer free samples at grocery stores or host cooking demonstrations at home shows. These types of promotions can also be used to market services rather than products, such as insurance or financial planning advice.
Millennials love their phones. They use them to connect with friends, stay in touch with family and learn new things. Their phones are like extensions of their hands — they can’t imagine life without them.
The data shows that millennials shop online, but what’s even more impressive is that they love to shop on their phones. Millennials are the first generation to grow up with technology as a constant in their lives. They’re comfortable using it to search for information and make purchases. In fact, a study by Statista found that smartphone users account for the majority of retail website visits (71%) and orders (56%) in the United States.
Millennials are heavily influenced by their peers and are more likely to trust recommendations from friends over traditional advertising. This makes social media marketing particularly effective for reaching millennials — especially because these platforms allow businesses to target specific audiences based on demographics and interests.
Over 85% of millennials verified that they purchased products after seeing one video ad using the shop and “buy now” features on digital platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. With the uproar of short form content on platforms like TikTok and Youtube Shorts, user generated ads are essentially built into these platforms.
About 3 in 5 millennials will purchase something from the Instagram shop if they see the product tagged in a photo with an influencer they follow. With social shopping growing rapidly the last 2 years, it is important to note the sweeping impact social media has on commerce.
When targeting any audience, it’s important to follow their behavior. Note which platforms they tend to use or shop on most and place your ads there.
For most millennials, Facebook and YouTube occupy most of their social media consumption. These platforms have very specific targeting requirements which is helpful for niche advertising. When it comes to targeting millennials, you can target by age (26-41) and target interests based that are relevant to your brand and audience.
The best way to understand any audience is through data and analysis. Be sure to conduct research on your target demographic and utilize analytics in your strategy.
The power of UGC.
Millennials love user generated content. They trust their peers’ opinions and UGC 50% more than they trust brands, so it’s important for marketers to give them opportunities to share their experiences with products or services.
Millennials have grown up in an era where everyone has a voice and anyone can become a celebrity overnight. They’ve also come of age during a time when brands have been stretched thin by increased competition, shifting consumer loyalties, and a general lack of trust in big business.
So when it comes to advertising, millennials prefer UGC over traditional ads because it feels more honest, personal and trustworthy than anything else out there.
Organic ads can build brand awareness among millennials who aren’t familiar with your company yet. The key here is to make your organic campaigns feel like “just another post” instead of an ad designed to sell something.
User generated content ads are important because they don’t even feel like advertisements. Infact, on Shorts and TikTok, it is becoming easier to conceal the fact that the video is promoted or advertised, making it feel like a true user review. Millennials are more likely to purchase something if they see someone in their situation benefiting from the product or service.
Here are some ideas for including UGC in your campaigns:
The secret to marketing to millennials, like any audience, is to understand them, connect with them, and be where they are.
In a world where people are more connected and information is more accessible than ever before, it’s important to market to millennials in a way that reaches them where they are—in their social media feeds, on their phones, and on their laptops. Your marketing strategy should focus on user-generated content, which is an effective way of making a connection with millennials because it’s authentic.
Research and work around your target audience to discover which marketing tactics will work best. Ensure your brand reputation stays intact with your ad campaigns, and the people you market and promote align with your brand’s ideas.
Marketing to millennials is not easy. But it’s not impossible, either. If you need help, give us a call!