marketing to millennials

“Millennials, mobile technology, and social media are colliding to radically change customer service as we know it.” – Joe Gagnon & Jason Dorsey

Marketers trying to sell to Millennials made the discovery that Millennials apparently like trophies. This means that Millennials respond well to achieving something and getting rewarded for it. Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are actually very hard-working individuals, and they only want to be rewarded when they know they deserve it. Which does mean that when they work hard to achieve something and they don’t get rewarded, you can expect them to move on to greener pastures.


Who are the Millennials?

There seems to still be a lot of confusion as to which age-group classifies as Millennials. Let’s just clear that up first. Millennials, or Generation Y, are people born roughly from the early 1980’s to the mid-1990’s. Neil Howe and William Strauss (both American authors and historians) coined the term Millennial in their book, Generations, in 1991. “Howe explains that they chose Millennial because their research made it clear this generation […] would be drastically different than the one before and therefore needed a distinct name. Plus, the oldest of them would graduate high school in 2000, a date that loomed large in the 90s.”



Marketing to Millennials

Marketing to Millennials doesn’t have to be like tossing a coin in the dark. According to Google’s Consumer Barometer, you can expect Millennials to exhibit the following behaviour online:


Millennials live online

“90% of Millennials go online daily”

This generation doesn’t just go online occasionally, they practically live their lives online. A popular saying among Millennials is that if it’s not online, it didn’t happen. So for all practical purposes, their lives exist online. Some of the activities they do online include socialising (on social media), research, shopping, and watching videos. This means that if you don’t do digital marketing, Millennials won’t know you exist.


Computers are old news

“75% of Millennials go online via smartphone at least as often as computer”

Millennials do everything on their mobile devices. All the activities they do online as listed above, they do on their smartphones very often. Be sure that your website is mobile responsive – if a Millennial lands on your unresponsive site, they might leave before accomplishing what they come to do in the first place, and find another website that makes it easier to navigate from a mobile device.


They love Google

“55% of Millennials use search engines to learn about products”

When they wonder about something, they will find the answer online. Whether it is about a new product or a health issue, they turn to their peers online. They rely less on their own experiences than previous generations, and they trust what people say online. Focus on your online reputation management to ensure that they find positive content related to your brand.


YouTube is entertaining

“20% of Millennials consider YouTube content more relevant and interesting than TV content”

Millennials turn to YouTube to do anything from watching tutorials to funny videos. Millennials are attracted to the social side of YouTube; they love sharing the videos they enjoyed and watching videos with others. If you post videos to YouTube or advertise there, you can be certain that Millennials will see it.


Social Media is where it’s happening

“50% of Millennials comment / like a friend’s post daily”

Social media activates the reward centre of your brain, much like drugs such as nicotine or alcohol, and even sugar, or any other good experiences such as exercising or receiving a compliment. These pleasurable experiences release dopamine which makes you feel happy and content. The same thing happens when someone likes your posts on social media, and marketers can use this to their advantage. Marketing should validate what the audience perceive about the brand, not the other way around.