Marketing to Millennials

Some Thoughts on Marketing to Millennials

Right now it seems we can’t escape the topic of Millennials, being one myself according to the definition you choose I thought I’d explore some thoughts on marketing to this complex demographic.

In terms of buying power, Millennials are well on their way to becoming one of the most lucrative markets on Earth – so says research from Adage. As such it’s hardly surprising that the vast majority of marketers are right now targeting Generation Y with a sense of real priority, or intending to adjust their focus accordingly going forward.

Which begs the all-important question – what makes for effective marketing, when looking to target a new generation of younger consumers?


Well, the most crucial point to note is how important authentic content is to such individuals. This is for two reasons – the first being that the average the average millennial (aged 16-30) with internet access spends 3.2 hours a day on their mobile devices – the equivalent of 22.4 hours – almost a whole day – every week. That’s 1,168 hours or 49 days over the course of a year (TNS Global).  Judging by my own habits and those of people I know I would even say that it is much higher than this.

So if this amount of time is being spent online then the kind of content that wins them over, authentic content scores big.

Millennials are exponentially savvier than some older generations when it comes to the kind of manufactured web content, baked up by a business to serve its own purposes armed with no real value. Which is precisely why user-generated content like blogs, reviews, opinions, ratings and so on have become extraordinarily powerful among younger crowds. In order to succeed, you need to both speak their language and keep it real…genuinely real and of value.

The Death of Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing has had its day – at least as far as this generation is concerned. These days, Millennials respond favourably to the kind of marketing strategies that make them feel as if they are intrinsically involved and connected in the purchases and decisions they make. From cold calling to press advertisements to TV ads and so on, these are exactly the kinds of outbound marketing methods that have very little impact on younger consumers. In fact, a recent survey (2014 survey, Engaging Millennials: Trust and Attention Survey) found that no less than 84% of Millennials feel they cannot trust traditional advertising.

The biggest difference with this new generation of consumers is the way in which they know what they want, they know how to get it and they also know how to collect valid and valuable opinions before going ahead. They research their intended purchases and proactively seek what it is they are looking for, rather than waiting around for products to be pushed upon them. Which in turn means you have to rely on the quality of your content and your organic approach to marketing to bring a new generation of consumers your way.

Content Marketing Is a Big Deal

The king of all inbound marketing strategies, content marketing is quite literally the opposite of a passing trend. What makes the inbound methodology so appealing is the way in which it represents a long-term strategy that will only continue growing in both importance and influence. Millennials know what they want and proactively set out to find it. As it’s your job to ensure that your business becomes their first choice, you need to not only offer them exactly what they want, but something that goes above and beyond the competition.

Outstanding content that is relevant, engaging, unique, share-worthy, current and flawlessly-presented can make a real difference to an online business. RealBusiness for one reports that more than half of web users would actively avoid brands making careless spelling and grammar mistakes. Gaining the respect, trust and confidence of younger consumers means showing them exactly who you are, what you do, why you do it and how in-tune you are with their wants and needs. Of course, the added bonus is the way in which the inbound methodology can also have an extraordinarily beneficial impact on search engine optimisation efforts at the same time.

Good Times, All the Time

Last but not least, what’s also of critical importance to Millennials is an overall researching, browsing and buying experience that is enjoyable from start to finish. Far above and beyond product quality and low prices, it is the overall experience they are provided with that tends to determine with which businesses they do business. One common approach to injecting enjoyment into the shopping experience is that of branching out and presenting products via social media – something businesses like Coca-Cola, Samsung, Starbucks and many others have been doing for some years now.

You can guarantee Millennials all the value for money and all the excellent service standards in the world, but the simple fact of the matter is that if you cannot deliver the total experience from start to finish, they will simply find someone else who will.

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