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Credit by Stephanie Heitman

Millennials are a group that every marketer wants to understand. They’re more than just avocado toast and participation trophies. According to Pew Research Center, 2019 is the year that they overtake Baby Boomers as the largest subset of the population. 

And because everyone in the Millennial age group is now fully into adulthood, they’re a group with a tremendous amount of buying power. (Accenture estimates that they spend around $600 billion per year.) 

There’s obviously value in speaking the Millennial language, but what’s the best way for marketers to reach them? Here, we cover everything you need to know. 

Who Are They?

While the exact start and end dates are up for debate, the Millennial generation broadly includes anyone born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s. 

This generation lives somewhere between the entirely analog and totally digital ages. In childhood, they used computers with monochrome monitors and had to wait for their sibling to get off the phone before they could hop onto their AOL dial-up internet. 

As they came of age, smartphones, texting, and social media became the predominant ways to communicate. Because they remember the pre-internet days but are still completely tech-savvy, they occupy an interesting in-between land and respond to both old and new marketing techniques. 

What Do They Expect from Brands?

Millennials don’t want to do business with just any company. They’re all about brands with compelling stories and bigger social missions. 

Your business has to be about something more than just making money. How are you giving back to society or the planet? It’s the Millennial generation that has helped socially-conscious brands like TOMS shoes gain momentum and market share in industries filled with large, established corporates. 

If you’re trying to reach Millennials, you need to think about how to communicate your broader social mission. You don’t have to be saving the entire world; even if you’re doing something to give back to your local community, that will make a great impression with this generation. 

How Do They Find New Brands?

The first step in any buyer’s journey is to become aware of a brand. How do marketers get their brands noticed by the Millennial set? 

Millennials came of age during the birth of Twitter and Facebook, so they are highly active on social media and often have profiles on more than one platform. A blend of organic and paid social marketing can help you grab their attention across these platforms. 

Your paid social media marketing efforts can help you tap into a new audience. Social platforms allow businesses to create lookalike audiences so that they can market to people who are similar in some way to their existing customer base. This gives you the best shot at getting your advertising noticed by people who will actually be interested in your brand and what you do. 

But Millennials are also all about establishing personal connections with brands. This is where your organic approach comes in. Engaging with your followers–responding to their comments on your post, liking content where they’ve tagged your business, and otherwise getting involved on a personal level in what they’re doing online–will help you to earn their trust. 

How Do You Win Their Trust?

Once you catch a Millennial’s eye and they begin to move into the consideration phase of the buyer’s journey, how do you convince them that your brand offers the best solution to their problem? 

Start by making sure you have a comprehensive online presence that gives you an air of legitimacy. Create a website that reads well and loads quickly on mobile. Most Millennials are searching for businesses on their phones, so if your site looks unprofessional or simply doesn’t come up quickly enough on a mobile device, that will be a major turn-off. 

Video is also an important way to connect with Millennials. This survey from Animoto found that 77% of Millennials find video helpful in the process of comparison shopping. They also continue to engage with video after they’ve made a purchase; they love demos and explainer videos of how to use a product or service. 

How Do They Make a Decision?

Once Millennials have come to know and trust your brand, they’ll arrive at the decision-making phase of the buyer journey. They like what your business does, but what other information and support can you offer to close the deal? 

Studies have shown that Millennials have a strong desire for self-service and digital help. Rather than calling up and speaking to a customer service representative, the typical Millennial would prefer to use online chat or a help forum to find answers to their questions. 

Your marketing efforts on your website, then, should allow this self-sufficient group to find answers to their questions. Consider incorporating an FAQ page, user forum, online chat feature, and content like infographics or ebooks that can provide additional information that may influence their purchasing decision. 

Reviews are also a critical part of the decision-making process. If you haven’t already, now is the time to claim your business profiles on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and other sites where Millennials might go to learn more about you. 

These are the places where your existing customers go to leave reviews, so you want to be sure you have control over these pages. You should be monitoring and responding to reviews; how you do so can be the make-or-break factor for Millennials in the final stages of the decision-making process. 

With $600 billion worth of spending power, Millennials are an important group for marketers to understand and cater to. Striking a balance between cutting-edge tech and meaningful personal connection is the key to speaking their language. When marketers develop a brand persona with a clear point of view and higher purpose, and then share the company’s mission through all of their online marketing channels, they’re sure to create a brand that Millennials will support. 

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