When you want your marketing efforts to leave a lasting impression, you need to narrow down your target audience and speak to their unique shared experiences. 

One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this: segment your customer base by age group and account for each of their buying habits and needs. Using this strategy, you can start successfully marketing to millennials and reach one of the world’s most powerful consumer generations.

Defined by the Pew Research Center as people born from 1981-1996, millennials are projected to make up 75% of the world’s workforce by 2025. As such, the spending power of this generation is increasing—a fact that shouldn’t be ignored. By taking action now, you can take the lead in building customer relationships that will help you grow your business for years to come.

Keep reading to learn how you can best market to the millennial generation.

Importance of marketing to millennials

When it comes to spending potential, millennials are a force to be reckoned with. This young adult generation, which overpowers baby boomers at 83 million people, is expected to reach $1.4 trillion in buying power in 2020. At the same time, they only spend about $600 billion per year, which means there’s still a massive space where your business can fit in.

With strategic marketing campaigns, you can convince millennial consumers to take full advantage of their buying power while turning your business to their preferred brand.

Catering your marketing to millennials, sometimes known as Generation Y, is a crucial part of reaching anyone who’s a part of this generation. These consumers expect more personalized experiences—and the majority will even give up their data to receive them. Rather than lumping millennials in with baby boomers and Gen X, it’s critical to recognize their unique traits as consumers and ensure they feel heard.

3 characteristics of millennial consumers

Every generation has its own set of characteristics that set them apart. As a marketer, your job is to identify what these traits are so you can build a strategy that makes sense for the group you’re trying to reach. Below, we’ll provide a few key characteristics that you need to understand about Gen Y before you can effectively build a millennial customer base.

1. They’re tech-savvy

Millennials are well-versed in all things digital, having grown up adapting to new technologies every year. Today, almost 100% of all millennials are internet users, while 93% are smartphone owners, and 86% are active social media users.

As more and more members of this age group move toward e-commerce—including mobile commerce—traditional advertising techniques like direct mail and TV ads are no longer enough. Just like any generation, millennials respond to what they know best, which means you need to amplify your digital marketing to get your message across.

Because of their affinity for technology, millennials also expect businesses to provide the same convenience that mobile apps, messaging platforms, and high-speed internet offer in their everyday lives.

2. They do their research

Millennial customers don’t shop blindly. More than any other generation, millennials will research the products or services they’re interested in before they buy, most often starting their research on Google or Amazon.

However, they won’t just take your word that your brand is the best. During this research phase, they’re also likely to turn to their fellow consumers for information about the customer experience. Millennials display 92% trust in their peers and are willing to make decisions based on what other consumers and trusted influencers are saying.

Even when millennials are actively shopping in your store, 57% of millennials will still be comparing prices. By marketing to millennials at each stage in the customer journey, you can better prove your value and convince them to make a purchase. 

3. Values drive them

A strong brand is a must for connecting with a millennial audience. According to Forrester, nearly 70% of Generation Y—compared to just 52% of all adult internet users in the United States—will take your company values into account before they choose to buy.

Marketing to millennials requires you to put your values at the forefront and take actions that are consistent with what you say. By doing so, you can develop long-lasting brand loyalty and be better equipped to grow your business.

4 great millennial marketing strategies

Now that you know a little about millennials and what makes them unique as consumers, you can start building the strategy that will make you stand out in their eyes. Here are four ideas that you can implement into your final marketing plan.

1. Content marketing

One of the most effective ways to reach avid internet users is by marketing through content. For millennials specifically, there are two forms of content marketing that are strongest: SEO marketing and video marketing.

Search engine optimization (SEO) marketing is an excellent way for your brand to show up where your consumers already are. By creating landing pages, blog posts, and more written content that targets keywords your audience is searching for, your company’s site can be the first thing millennials see as they start their research on Google.

Video content is also very effective when marketing to millennials. As much as 85% of millennials have reported making a purchase as a result of watching a video, showing that they’re highly responsive to this engaging form of content.

2. Online reviews

With many millennials seeking the opinions of other consumers during their research, you need to ensure that your online reputation remains as positive as possible. This doesn’t just mean getting five-star ratings. For the best results, you need a consistent flow of positive ratings and reviews over time on Google, Facebook, and even sites that are specific to your industry.

Luckily, 77% of consumers are willing to leave a review if you just ask them. By requesting reviews from each of your customers—manually or with an automated review invite tool—you can start generating the reviews that make your millennial audience want to convert.

3. Social media marketing

Millennials are well-known as social media aficionados. They’re always spending time on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, while also using mobile-only platforms like Snapchat. Just like SEO marketing, social media marketing can be your opportunity to meet millennials where they’re already looking.

This type of marketing can take many forms, all of which are effective in their own way. You may choose to pay for promoted tweets and Facebook ads, put out organic content that’s highly engaging, or even traverse into influencer marketing.

Partnering with social media influencers when marketing to millennials can demonstrate your shared values through the voice of a trusted industry leader. As a result, you can build trust through a digital channel your millennial audience loves.

4. Customer engagement

Finally, you can effectively market to Generation Y by building relationships through two-way conversations. Train your customer service team to provide the best possible experience for consumers anytime they reach out. At the same time, you should make it convenient for millennials to engage with you by opening up communication channels that they prefer, like text messaging and social media messaging.

Your customer engagement strategy should also give your team a chance to display your values in action. This will prove to millennials that your brand is what it claims to be, helping you develop lasting loyalty.

Know your audience

Marketing to millennials is a great way to segment your audience and make your marketing efforts count. When you start to develop strategies that match this young adult generation’s needs and wants, they may begin responding with more conversions, more repeat purchases, and greater loyalty to your brand. 

As your marketing campaigns continue to speak to your targeted audience, you should see improvements to your bottom line.

Once you have your marketing to millennials down, consider if previous generations fit into your customer base—and how to market to them if they do. Learn how different generations search and shop for more insight into baby boomers and Generation X as well as millennials.

Nico Dato
Nico Dato Executive Vice President of Marketing

Nico Dato is the EVP of Marketing at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers. He fuses his passion for statistics, design, and digital marketing to produce measurable results.

Adapt the way you do business. Press send.