How to Market to Millennials: The Who, What, Why and How


The millennial generation can be perplexing—especially to brands.

With millennials social-media savviness, their outside-the-box mentality on brand loyalty and relative inexperience in the purchasing world, brands have been left to wonder:

  • Who are they as consumers?
  • What do millennials want in a brand?
  • How can brands reach millennials?
  • And most importantly— Why should I even care if millennials respond to my brand?

Let’s start with the “who.”

market to millennialsWho are millennials?

The term “millennial” often conjures images of social-media obsessed hipsters Snapchatting their Starbucks coffee
while listening to electro-music on headphones and simultaneously liking their own Facebook posts—but realistically, a millennial is just anyone born between 1982 and 2000.

Sure, 17-year old kids who’ve never worked a job in their life or spent a dollar they’ve had to earn are part of the millennial generation, but so are their 34-year old fathers and mothers who support their entire families and spend tens-of-thousands of dollars on products and services every year.

The gap that encompasses millennial’s is HUGE, and that massive gap is exactly why pinpointing what millennials want in terms of brand marketing is an incredible challenge for brands everywhere. 

What exactly do millennials want from brands?

Above all else, millennials want interconnectivity.

Millennials want purpose. They care about brands that are concerned with more than just sales quotas and profit margins—they want a brand that stands for something.

50 percent of millennials said they’d be more willing to buy a product that supports a cause and 37 percent of
millennials said they’d even be willing to pay more for those products.

In addition to brand-causes they connect with, millennials also want direct connection to their brands.

80 percent of millennials want their brands to entertain them, while 40 percent said they want to participate in the co-creation of products. Also, about 70 percent said they feel responsible to share feedback with companies after good or bad experiences.

All of this speaks volumes toward the desire for millennials to have a two-way conversation with their brands. Brands need to make sure they’re talking to millennials and not at them, to keep millennials connecting with the brand.

But by now you might be wondering…

Why is capitalizing on the millennial market important?

First of all, there are a TON of millennial’s out there—about 75.4 million people as of 2015—can your brand afford not to reach 25 percent of the overall market?

And millennials aren’t just prevalent in the population, they’re huge purchasers.

denver social media agencyAbout 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchases are made by millennials, that’s estimated to be over a trillion dollars in direct buying power!

Another huge effect that millennials have on brands is that they’re influencers who deeply engage with brands on social networks. Not only do they directly connect with brands over the internet, they interact with each other about those brands and are statistically more likely to be influenced by the opinions of their peers.

So building brand loyalty with millennials is like paying for advertising, if and when you win them over they can become some of your biggest brand promoters.

So how can brands effectively market to millennials?

Utilize social media influencers

Influencers are a great way to win over millennials for your brand. Recommendations from influencers are more highly trusted than those coming straight from brands according to Nielson Research, so getting well-known social media influencers to recommend your products or brand goes a long way in reaching more millennials.

Use multiple platforms

Millennials don’t stick to one platform, so neither should you. Millennials are always some of the earliest adopters of new technologies, so brands need to ensure make sure content reaches the platforms millennials inhabit. Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter — meeting millennials where they spend time is pivotal to reaching them.

build out your marketing strategy

At the end of the day, marketing to millennials is no different than marketing to anyone else.

how-to-market-to-millennialsAs a brand you interpret who they are, what they want, how to best reach them and why you should be doing so. From there, develop a strategy to reach them in the most effective way possible.

With millennials being such a huge part of our population and further surpassing the purchasing power of the baby boomer generation every day, there’s no better time for brands to reevaluate their marketing strategies to ensure they’re reaching as millennials in the most engaging ways possible.

If you’re looking to better position your brand with the fastest growing demographic in both spending power and influence, we’d love to help.

Blue Bear Creative is a Denver social media agency focused on helping food and beverage brands market to millennials.