5 Key Points that Brands Need to Know Before Marketing to Millennials

The millennials or also known as Generation Y covers those who were born between the 1980s and the year 2000. They have been shaped by technological revolution, where being connected and equipped with the latest technology is a common feature (Waterworth, N. 2013). Millennials are the generation that ‘live online’ which can present a number of challenges for marketers attempting to target this age range (Thomas, S. 2015). Half of all spending has come from purchases made by millennials – having grown up online and have had extensive usage of e-commerce, makes them highly attractive to various consumer markets (Marketing Breakthroughs Inc, 2008). Millennials are also known for being ‘market mavens’ – disseminators of product knowledge and information, they are eager to share their opinion and experiences with other consumers, 56% of which are sharing them on social networks (Smith, K. 2012), which is another reason why brands are eager to be appeal to this market.

Here is link to a short video giving an introduction to the millennials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhUZLlG6Fg4

Driven by Social Opinion

One of the main challenges is that Millennials tend to be driven by social opinions which are also a key part of their decision making – 84% of millennials rely on social opinions. Social networks are increasingly replacing the traditional word-of-mouth, and brands become more prominent if they are ‘shared’ or ‘liked’ on forms of social media, causing the brand to show up on various people’s newsfeeds. (Thomas, S. 2015). According to Forbes (2016), Millennials do not trust traditional forms of advertising due to being bombarded with advertisements their whole lives, particularly in the digital form, and tend to distrust brands that seem purely motivated by profit. Therefore, social media advertising is becoming a greater priority for the distribution of brand content towards the younger demographic for the following reasons:

  1. They represent the largest audience on social media in society.
  2. They prefer interacting on these social media channels in comparison to other outlets.
  3. They are the most mobile generation – relying on mobile devices and having online content on-the-go.

Therefore, any brand wanting to increase their following from the millennial generation, should keep in mind that their content should be mobile friendly, load quickly and be easily accessible on all mobile devices. (DeMers, J. 2016)

Prefer Responsible Corporations

In addition to this, due to their natural distrust in brands, millennials often prefer corporations that have demonstrated their corporate social responsibility in some way, meaning that they will be more engaged and willing to purchase from brands that are actively giving back to the community or investing in an on-going issue (Duffet, G.R. 2014).

In a study by Furlow and Knott (2009), found that young adults are socially conscious consumers who seek to buy ‘green’ goods and regarded as environmentally friendly, where over half of millennials indicated that they are making a greater effort to purchase green products. In response to this, it is important that brands showcase their values and actions they’ve taken. This in turn will help to build trust and show that you’ve put your values and interests into practice (Forbes, 2016).


Focus on Value

In a podcast by Goldman Sachs’ – “Exchanges at Goldman Sachs”, Lindsay Drucker Mann of Goldman Sachs Research stated that the millennials are less likely to buy something out of convenience, and focus greatly on value, willing to search for the lowest price or wait until the price is right. They tend to take the time to contemplate their purchases and not just buying what is in front of them. Millennials are the ‘coming of age’, demanding transparency, technological advancement and barter-free buying, factors that were unseen in previous generations (Barholz, D. 2012). For brands, this means that they have to carefully portray their product or service, making it appealing and a necessity for the customer.

Expect Greater Personalisation

According to a recent study by American Express, millennials are more brand loyal than any other age category, however they also expect greater personalisation in their interaction with brands – 48% of millennials expect brands to customise offers to suit their individual needs, similarly to this, millennials are also the most likely to go out of their way to use a personalised offer (Davies, J. 2016). Psychologist Emma Kenny stated that this demonstrates how long term relationships with brands are driven by brand loyalty and that customisation evokes feelings of being understood by brands.

Here is an article about the best ways brands can incorporate the personalized aspect to attract millennials:  http://www.masterclassing.com/experts/how-can-brands-give-their-customers-truly-personalised-experience/


As millennials are ‘digital natives’, they naturally expect their opinions to be heard by corporations, and are constantly utilising their power and access to choice. According to Cova and Dalli (2009), the last decade has revealed how the consumer role is constantly changing, and the relationship between brands and consumers are becoming increasingly constructive and interactive. Advertisers use this to harness originality, using millennials to be co-creators of real advertising content, co-branding allows the audience to feel they contributed to the campaign, thus encouraging brand loyalty and engagement as their input is valued by the company. This is beneficial for brands as it enables their campaign to be grown organically amongst their target audience, whilst utilising their most willing source for ideas. Both brands and millennials alike want their message to be heard, and co-creation satisfies both parties – an involved audience and an organisation that trusts their audience’s views and ideas (Gower, G. 2014).

Here is an article to summarise how best to target millennials   through content marketing: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/06/27/7-ways-to-target-millennials-through-content-marketing/#210d1a103e7f

Things to note when marketing to Millennials

Although millennials have stereotypical features and expectations about their spending habits, preferences and demands, they are still very much diverse; every individual will have different experiences with technology and will have developed their own preferences as a result. Marketers should not ignore these subtle dissimilarities in factors such as taste, attitudes and behaviours. Following from this, whilst millennials are typically defined by their age, their characteristics can be held by anyone of any age and will therefore have similar demands to a millennial, particularly demands for personalisation, value and technological advancement (George, S. 2016). For marketers, this means they need to be able to distinguish between certain features that are only demanded by millennials or by people in general.












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