Marketing to Millennials: The Subtle Art of Connecting with Generation Y

Marketing to Millennials

Millennials – creators of memes, eaters of avocado toast, and experts of animal personality quizzes. These stereotypes, while unfairly limiting to a diverse demographic, tell us a whole lot about this mysterious generation.

Millennials don’t like labels, neither do they aspire to tread the beaten track. They prefer to carve their own and fight for the freedom to be who they are. And when it comes to the world of advertising, their unique sense of humor, tech-savvy pastimes, and a refreshing outlook on life has left marketers baffled – “If our traditional marketing methods don’t work anymore, what do we do next?”

Fret not, your key to tapping the millennial market is to first understand them.

The Anatomy of a Millennial

Born between 1980-2000, millennials have been thrust into a volatile economy, where dealing with lack of suitable employment opportunities and sufficient income is just a regular Tuesday. And because of these circumstances, they’re more likely to:

Although these trends may tell you a lot about your target group’s interests and priorities, you’ll never truly connect with millennials unless you understand how they think. Here are some tell-tale personality traits of a typical millennial.

  • They are unique and diverse

Gone are the days when young adults followed a set blueprint – graduating, settling down, buying a home or a car, and retiring. Today, you’re no longer talking to a homogeneous mix of people. Millennials are leading unique lifestyles that suit their sensibilities. You’ll find everyone from single parents and college students to middle-class employees and affluent yuppies. In short, millennials do what they want, how they want, when they want!

  • They are constantly connected

Millennials were the first generation to grow up with technology. From personal computers and the Internet to modern smartphones and tablets, millennials have easily adapted to new technologies, programs, devices, and operating systems. That’s not all, they’re now connected through multiple devices and constantly communicating with each other. Which means that they’re probably streaming their favorite show, live tweeting about it, watching cat videos, and having an entire conversation in emojis – all at the same time.

  • They are open to sharing

Compared to Generation X, millennials are a lot more comfortable with sharing their life on the Internet. To millennials, privacy is nothing more than a bunch of settings they can adjust on their phones. Their proficiency over controlling what information goes public and what doesn’t makes them naturally adept at social networking and self-promotion.     

  • They are skeptical of promotional advertising

Millennials have grown up with advertisements bombarding their senses – whether they’re at home, in the supermarket, at the pub, or stuck in traffic. Is it any wonder that they’re skeptical of promotional material? Millennials are more likely to listen to their peers and friends when making decisions – be it for everyday essentials, products and services, or even jobs. It is this very trait that make traditional marketing and advertising ineffective.

  • They prioritize purpose and balance over money

Notice how differently millennials and their parents think about jobs and careers? The previous generation was more than happy to secure a steady job and often dedicated several decades to the same organization. Millennials however are a little more discerning with their career choices. They want to know that their actions have a larger impact on society. That’s not all, they’re also natural advocates of brands they associate with, often using social media to express their opinions. What does this mean? Free, honest, and authentic promotion for your brand!

How to Leverage the Millennial Mindset

  • Offer authentic content

Millennials spend 25 hours a week online and they simply love authentic, well-researched, and informed opinions. Focus your effort on creating content that makes them want to hit the share or re-tweet button!


  • Out with the outbound, in with the inbound

That’s right, millennials don’t find value in outbound marketing. Don’t harp on about your brand. Let them do the talking.


  • Don’t push, engage

Millennials don’t like content that targets their wallets, and not interests. They prefer transparent campaigns that introduce products and services organically. In short, be natural.


  • Share and collaborate

Millennials love being active participants in shaping products and services. Focus on building a relationship with them and get them involved in your process.


  • Have fun

Online browsing is an experience for millennials. Your sales are directly influenced by how much fun they have engaging with you online.     

The mind of a millennial works in mysterious ways. But when you reach out to them with the intention to connect instead of broadcast, your marketing efforts will become a lot more fruitful. What measures do you take to connect with the ‘in’ crowd? Let us know!


Marketing Maximus Magazine by Pink Lemonade
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