How to Market to Millennials

Marketing to Millennials

By Megan CombsDec 21 /2021

In a time where any given employer could have four generations of people representing their workforce, marketers are also struggling to appeal to each generation with their marketing strategies. In this four-part series, we break down the characteristics of each generation — Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z — and discuss their values, buying habits and what not to say in your marketing.

This blog in the series will focus on marketing to Millennials.

Who Are Millennials?

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials were between the ages of 5 and 20 when the 9/11 terrorist attack shook the nation. They also grew up in the shadow of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they were between the ages of 12 and 27 when youth vote helped elect Barack Obama, the first Black president. They were the most racially and ethnically diverse adult generation in the nation’s history, but that title has since transferred to Gen Z.

Many Millennials came of age and entered the workforce during the height of an economic recession, and that has heavily influenced their life and buying decisions in ways that haven’t touched Gen Z. After a rough start in the workforce, Millennials were finally getting their careers on track when a worldwide pandemic smacked them back down.

As of July 2019, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the U.S.’s largest living adult generation.

What Are Millennials Known For?

Millennials are sometimes called the “Me Generation” because of their tendencies to focus on themselves. They got their start in an era of economic prosperity, so Millennials tend to be more idealistic, confrontational and less willing to accept diverse points of view. They’re more likely to ask “why does it have to be this way?” and look for ways to make an environment or situation better.

Currently, the oldest Millennials are considering themselves middle-aged at age 40. According to Pew Research, Millennials are “unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry — and optimistic about the future.”

Marketing to Millennials

Millennials came of age during an era where the internet was exploding onto the scene, which means they are less swayed by traditional advertising methods. While Baby Boomers hold 57%  of the nation’s buying power, Millennials make up 25% of the population, and with an estimated annual buying power of over a trillion dollars, they are the most lucrative market.

Millennial brand loyalty tends to score lower than previous generations, which means brands are going to have to work harder to prove themselves. And since they grew up with the internet, they aren’t afraid of using it. Nine out of 10 Millennials have a smartphone and use it to surf the internet, shop or check social media. On average, Millennials spend 242 minutes online or using apps per day.

When Marketing to Millennials, Do:

  • Utilize social media channels
  • Use inbound marketing strategies
  • Create authentic content
  • Harness the power of influencers
  • Create video content
  • Let them be involved with content or product creation
  • Market in entertaining ways to encourage them to engage and share
  • Offer a unique experience, event, or special offering, to tap into their fear of missing out (FOMO)

When Marketing to Millennials, Don’t:

  • Use Outbound Marketing strategies
  • Ignore their suggestions or commentary on social platforms
  • Market your product, market your purpose
  • Design flat social media or content posts. Make it ‘grammable!
  • Hesitate to build strong, trusting relationships with influencers
  • Forget to offer transparency and diversity

Marketing to All Generations

Inclusivity in marketing doesn’t stop at a person’s age or physical appearance. You have to consider their whole identity, what makes them tick and what influences their purchasing behaviors. The things that resonate with Gen X may not move the needle for the Millennials.

Check out the other blogs in this series:

Marketing to Baby Boomers
Marketing to Gen X
Marketing to Gen Z

Not sure how to parse the generations that make up your buyer personas? Kuno Creative has a team of experts ready to help segment your audience and boost your bottom line.

5 Secrets Revealed

Megan Combs
The Author

Megan Combs

Megan provides copyediting and macro editing recommendations across Kuno. Previously, she was a top content marketer at Vendome Healthcare Media, where she helped clients translate their brand promises into strategic digital and social media messages. She also served as a content creator and editor at AOL’s