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If you haven’t devoted a specific budget line in your marketing strategy to Millennials, you are now considered behind the times. Millennials are the generation of young adults born between 1980 and 2000 who grew up entirely on technology and collectively spend about $600 billion each year. However, this doesn’t mean that you can simply market to them the way you’ve always marketed to other demographics.
This generation came of age during the Great Recession (2007-2009) which affected them in many ways, from their personal finances and career options to their view of the world. They aren’t, as a whole, traditional in their goals and outlooks. For example, they prefer startups and virtual employment over 9-5 office jobs with a retirement party at the end of their tenure. They are also putting off marriage and kids much later than previous generations; a mere 30 percent of Millennials were married as of 2013, while 77 percent of the same age bracket was married in 1960.
This is all to say that if you want to successfully reach Millennials in your marketing efforts, you’re going to have to think outside the traditional box. Here’s what today’s marketers need to know to stay ahead of the game:

Social Proof

Positive reviews about products or services have never been more important than in today’s oversaturated market. Social proof is especially of value to Millennials, who are avid researchers and put a lot of credence on social reassurance from their peers. In fact, 84 percent say that user reviews influence their decision to make a purchase. So to entice this generation to buy from your brand, one of the things you can do is provide abundant reviews on your product pages and social platforms. Just make sure they’re positive—negative reviews can just as strongly influence a Millennial to not purchase from a company.

Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Between the economic recession of their early earning years and their greater need for employment that they care about over a large paycheck, many Millennials do not have a lot of extra money to spend. According to Principal Financial Group, 66 percent of this age group use a monthly budget and 12 percent get help from their parents to pay their mobile phone bill.
For the above reasons, this generation is big on coupons, sales, and discount-based apps like Groupon. Furthermore, 92 percent of Millennials use coupons regularly, and they have set the bar high: coupons that offer less than a 30 percent discount are not as tempting.

Go Mobile

For a generation that grew up on mobile devices, it’s no secret that Millennials spend a lot of time on them. What you might not know is that 45 percent of them use mobile-specific coupons on their smartphones. It may also surprise you (or not) that 83 percent of Millennials sleep with their phones. This is definitely a mobile generation!
Because Millennials spend so much time on their mobile devices, it makes sense for your brand to spend time there, too. So ensure that your business’ website has a responsive design, because if a site is too hard to read or navigate, few people will return to it. Also be sure to advertise in a mobile-optimized ad format, which is different from advertisements on other forms of media.
Mobile ads are generally seen on a more personal basis (as opposed to television ads where thousands or millions of people are seeing it at the exact same time) and therefore need to capture an individual’s attention and emotional state. For example, you could display an ad while a user is playing a game that congratulates or consoles them, while seamlessly weaving your brand’s message into that experience.

Offer Something Unique

This generation is more racially diverse, non-traditional, and educated than any other generation in history. A whopping 61 percent of them are college educated (compared to just 46 percent of Baby Boomers) and 42 percent are “non-white.” They are not only marrying later, but with the newly passed Marriage Equality Act, their family unions looks different from previous generations’. What this means to marketers is that you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach, you can’t use traditional methods, and you can’t blatantly market to them.
To successfully reach these savvy Millennials, you must appeal to their diversity, their individuality, and their out-of-the-box lifestyles. Offer customized products, use marketing images of people that look like this diverse bunch, engage with them individually rather than as an entire demographic, and appeal to their passion and social conscience.

Support a Cause

For Millennials, “social responsibility is the new religion.” Seventy percent think of themselves as social activists, so a brand’s involvement (or lack thereof) in a social cause is a huge deciding factor in whether or not to do business with a company. In fact, 75 percent of Millennials think that brands ought to “create economic value for society by addressing its needs.”
A great example is of popular boy band One Direction teaming up with Office Depot to offer limited-edition school products that include images of the band, with proceeds from this campaign going to an anti-bullying program. Besides Office Depot’s own marketing efforts, they are benefiting from the band’s personal advertising on their own social media.

Go Where The Millennials Are

As the old adage goes, “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” For modern-day marketers, this means hanging out where the Millennials hang out. Considering that 85 percent of them have bought something after seeing it on social media, it’s essential to know just which social platforms they are hanging out in.
According to Social Media Today, Millennials’ top five social hangouts are:

  • YouTube (64%)
  • Facebook (51%)
  • Instagram (45%)
  • SnapChat (42%)
  • Twitter (28%)

The survey also found that video ads are the most effective for the younger portion of Millennials.
You don’t have to be the Einstein of marketing to understand how important it is to know your audience and learn how to appeal to them. Each generation comes with its own uniqueness, preferences, and priorities. The Millennial generation is tech-savvy, too smart to be pandered to, socially conscious, and not interested in the established norm. If you want to successfully reach Millennials, you have to work hard to capture their attention, be authentic, and give them the information that they are interested in.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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