How We Think

Marketing to Millennials

May 25, 2017

I have an upper hand in writing this post… Not because I’ve studied the purchasing habits or market trends for the millennial generation, but because I am one! With first-hand experience and an expertise in knowing what goes on inside my head, I’d call myself a pro millennial marketer.


Millennials are unlike any generation before them. Since their youth, they have been bombarded with people telling them what to care about and what to follow. Now that they are reaching, or have reached, the young-adult phase of their lives, this is starting to change. They are making their own decisions and determining what they care about as individuals.

Marketing to millennials is just as unique as they are. I have devised five key guidelines to follow and be more successful in reaching the younger demographic.


1. Be Authentic

Being true to yourself and your company’s brand has more power than you think. Honesty and trust are quintessential when connecting to younger generations. Millennials filter through nonsense and jargon to get to the truth. If they find dishonesty or false information, all developed trust or interest will be immediately severed.

For an example let’s travel back to 2011, when one of the most popular breakfast items was Nutella, the hazelnut spread made with skim milk and just a hint of cocoa. Nutella promoted itself as “part of a healthy breakfast”. As it came to light, Nutella was exposed as a very unhealthy way to start your day, which caused a lengthy, pricey lawsuit.

Popularity and respect declined for the product because of the lack of authenticity and honesty from the makers of Nutella.

Take Away Lesson: False advertisement comes back to bite you.


2. Interact!

There’s nothing millennials love more than to be heard, and there’s nothing more appealing than a company responding to your post on social media! Personally, I LOVE when a company responds to my Tweet or reviews of their products. It reminds me that there are humans behind the company; IT’S NOT JUST ROBOTS AFTER ALL!


While responding to direct messages, Tweets or unhappy Facebook reviews might seem like enough…they’re not. The immediacy of your reply is crucial to maintaining the loyalty of your customers. If a company replies, (and the sooner the better), it shows the company wants to build a connection between themselves and the consumer. Timely replies are not only important for problems or customer service related issues, but also for customers who are enjoying the product!


For example, Simon from Toledo, Ohio posts on Dollar Shave Club’s Facebook page saying:

Yo, my razors were supposed to get here yesterday and its not here. WHAT’S UP WITH THAT!”

Sure, he could have called the customer service line and figured out what was the real issue, but he took to social media. A great strategy for Dollar Shave Club (In example alone, because in reality they already do this…) would be to reply to Simon from Toledo and say:

Hey Simon! Sorry for the confusion. Give us a call at 1-234-567-8900 and we can get to the bottom of this!”

Now, it’s Simon’s choice whether he wants to call and find out the issue or not, but it publically shows Dollar Shave Club taking special interest in both the problem and the customer.

Take Away Lesson: Time is of the essence when interacting with customers on social media! Also, share in the joys and the frustrations (with problem solving suggestions) with your consumers!


3. Be Unique

Millennials love individuality and companies who give back. They love companies that stand out and take different takes on ordinary concepts.

Airbnb is a perfect example of a unique concept. The creators of Airbnb had this great way for travelers to rent out and utilize empty rooms, apartments and homes instead of spending money on costly hotel rooms. Millennials love not paying $125 for a decent hotel room, but instead spending $50/night for a more authentic, local experience when they travel.

Take Away Lesson: Make your business unique and a younger demographic will follow.


4. Have Meaning

One of the common misconceptions about millennials is that they need to be constantly entertained. I can’t speak for all of us twenty-somethings, but in general, this isn’t true. Sure, the occasional #SaltBae meme and Blinking Guy gif brings joy to my day, but what I, and most millennials, search for is inspiration. We search for things that inspire and fuel participation.

TOMS is a perfect example of a company sticking by its beliefs and individuality. They branded themselves as a company that gives back. “One for One.” Even though their shoes aren’t the most attractive and begin to emit the inevitable wet dog smell, they became hugely successful because of what the company stands for and by buying shoes, you can provide a child in need a pair of shoes.

Take Away Lesson: Millennials love companies that have meaning and show support for causes beyond themselves.


5. Create Shareworthy Content

Companies that only post about their products or services traditionally aren’t very successful on the social media front. If people are following a company on social media, chances are they already know what the company does. People are actually more likely to stop following a page if it keeps posting the same content over and over again. Creating shareworthy, but relevant, content is vital for social media success.

For example, Starbucks implements a great social media strategy. They reply to their consumers’ comments, post Instagram-worthy photos featuring their products, and socially relevant content. Not only that, but Starbucks has been vocal about their support for same sex marriage, which generated additional support from the LGBTQ community. Being socially conscious is not a requirement for every business, and it can be a gamble, but when implemented correctly and to the right audience, it could help strengthen your following especially to the millennial generation.

Take Away Lesson: Make sure your content varies between company based content and relevant content.


Marketing can be a challenge when it comes to appealing to different demographics. Test out different styles of posts with a variety of content and see what is gaining more traffic and what is lacking. Since millennials are expected to spend over $200 billion in 2017*, it’s worth the time and effort to gain their attention.



Written by Tulip Tree Specialist