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The Marketing Technologist

Why We Love Marketing to Millennials and Why Everyone Hates Them

By Courtney Montanye on August 09, 2017 |


The buying power of millennials is expected to outnumber all other demographics by the end of 2017. They are an increasing market and account for almost a quarter of the U.S. population. It’s evident that capturing their attention through marketing is crucial....and difficult for traditional marketing tactics.

Millennials are really putting marketers to the test. Traditional marketing habits are outdated and just don't work anymore. Ads on TV are meaningless, print ads are just decoration, and radio ads are just background noise. Millennials make us work hard and work differently than what we are used to and we hate them for it...but we do love a challenge.

They grew up in the age of technology, so part of their identity is digital. Information has always been easily accessible to them. We are all well aware that millennials are not like other generations when it comes to marketing. When it comes to marketing to millennials, the most challenging group to connect with, you need to develop strategies that mirror the uniqueness of the millennial generation.

Be Authentic

Millennials will trust what they perceive to be authentic. People they know online, in person, and even strangers that they relate to will affect the attitudes and behaviors of millennials. 84 percent of millennials claim that user-generated content influences what they buy and they trust relevant, authentic opinions from real product users they can relate to.

How can you successfully implement this millennial marketing tactic? Speak their language. Offer content that they can share with their peers because when it comes from one of their own, they’re more likely to pay attention.

In 2015, Taco Bell started studying common slang used by millennials. They incorporated this lingo into their messaging with the “Word of the Week” to remind the chain of how its biggest fan base communicates.

Content is King (or Queen)Marketing to Millennials

Content marketing has been around since John Deere introduced The Furrow in 1895. It was a free publication with tons of farming tips and techniques to help farmers become more profitable. Following that example, Nike introduced a 19-page booklet titled Jogging that never once mentioned a Nike shoe but instead was filled with advice on enjoying running as a recreational activity.

It’s been made obvious that millennials value authentic content, so it’s pretty evident that content marketing is here to stay. Consistent content is not a passing fad and will continue to help win over Generations-Y and Z.

Outbound is Out

Because millennials want to feel connected to their purchases, traditional marketing just doesn’t cut it anymore. Things like newspaper ads, direct mail, or radio campaigns appear impersonal and focused only on the company in question. Pop-up ads are the perfect example. They’re disruptive, annoying, and anything but solicited to this generation.

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In order to impress them, marketing must to be personalized and consumer driven. Because they know what they want and they know how to find it, they will use things like blogs and forums to research what they need. Even though a pop-up ad may be relevant to them, it’s nothing compared to the authentic content they desire.

Collaborate with Co-Creators

Millennials want a say in your product or service. Companies usually create offerings based on target market research with the hopes that it will hook their consumers, but millennials want to be more involved. Including them in the process will help your company be more successful by fueling the personal-brand and self-expression of millennials.

Marketing to MillennialsOne example of brands using UCG and involving their consumers is Coca-Cola's online contest called “Energizing Refreshment”. The brand encouraged their audience to interpret Coca-Cola in whichever style or format they desired. People sent in videos, animations, illustrations, and photographs showing their interpretation of the brand. Coke then implemented those submissions into its worldwide campaign and it really resonated with millennials because they were able to put themselves into a product that felt like it was made for them.

When it comes down to how to market to millennials, sticking to these four must-haves is a sure fire way to make sure you’re grabbing the right attention from the right people. Maintaining authenticity, collaboration, creating content, and getting out of outbound will empower your brand and open new opportunities for you.

Work smarter, not harder | NR Media Group | HubSpot IMPACT Awards

Digital Marketing Millennials