The Secrets of Marketing to Millennials

What does Millennial Mean?

Trying to define Millennial is somewhat difficult task and has often lead to ambiguous definitions.


  • Of or relating to a millennium or the millennium
  • Worthy or suggestive of the millennium
  • Noting or relating to the generation born in the 1980s or 1990s, especially in the U.S.A


  • A person born in the 1980s or 1990s; a member of Generation Y.

Why are Millennials Important to Brands?

Millennials are quiet possibly the most coveted demographic for any business and if not yet, we soon will.  Soon to surpass the baby boomers as the largest generation alive, as evident in a study by the Pew Research Centre. Beyond this they’re naturally the future of the human race, even if it’s just till the next generation take their place.

In addition, millennials are the best-educated generation. with more access to schooling and through the birth and rise of the internet their digital native ways give a platform to a limitless amount of shared knowledge. This alone carries a weight of influence on the world and the future of our species. 

With the rise of the millennial underway their already accomplishing and creating unprecedented changes to the social norm. With swaths of millennials in the workforce holding management positions and with their technological savvy ways it was predicted by Oracle we millennials would have a spending power of $3.3 trillion by the end of 2018.

Who/What Is A Millennial? 

The millennial population generally refers to the generation born between 1980 and 2000. The millennial consumer in particular is typically free-thinking and attracted to a westernised brand that appeals to millennial values such as sustainability and ethical accountability. Labelled a ‘job-hopping generation’, the elusive millennial desires a fulfilling experience of life, that pays well both financially and ethically, and their spending habits are no different. 

According to Vice, millennials are reportedly earning 20% less than the ‘baby boomers’ before them, and so research their purchases more thoroughly to ensure that their hard-earned money is being well spent. Therefore, a business’ marketing team should aim to appeal to a millennial consumer that needs to believe in a product and endorse what the brand endorses in order to successfully retain sales once an initial trend has run its course. 

Take Coca-Cola for example, it is widely known that the original sugary beverage is unhealthy for you, thus making it unpopular with millennials. Therefore, the company adapted and marketed a new zero-sugar variation and a diet drink that contains only one calorie, which captures the health-conscious generation, thus boosting sales. 

This is what appeals to a millennial, being heard by a brand and the brand adapting to meet the changing needs and values of a market that inspires social change. Mike Rittler of TD Bank highlighted that, twenty-three percent of millennials say that they research a product’s ethos before buying into the brand, thus it seems like having environmental and ethical accountability is what matters to the largest generation of spenders at current.  

What Does The Millennial Consumer Want From A Product? 

When marketing to millennials, the first thing to be aware of is the characteristic that determine what exactly matters to them; be it environmental sustainability, equal rights or tips and tricks for saving for their first home. Millennials are tech savvy, research led and eager to invest in products and services that they identify with morally and financially. 

Unfortunately for retro advertisers and Mad Men of Madison Avenue, gone are the days when plastering sexualised images of women on large advertisements sell a product to young people. Alternatively, today’s consumer generation are more concerned with the experience of buying into a brand, rather than a glamorised image of an unfamiliar product. 

Millennials will often opt for a more expensive product that has been sustainably and responsibly sourced, as opposed to its competitor which is cheaper but has connotations of unsafe, unequal working conditions and pay for employees. For example, a brand that appears to have the Millennial-consumer edge is TOMS, as it markets towards an ethical section of the millennial market. 

Their ‘Improving Lives’ tab, handily apparent on a consumer-friendly website clearly and coherently demonstrates that the company helps provide shoes, water and safe births to communities that are less fortunate than the consumer millennial. Therefore, the price tag for the product becomes morally and ethically more accessible, thus increasing the sale of the product.  

How To Use Social Media To Market To Millennials 

It is widely known that brands like to target adverts towards specific marketing strata, however recently there have been concerns as to how a consumer’s data is used and whether their devices are actually listening to what they are attracted to in a product. 

As a marketer, literally listening to the consumer’s needs sounds like an excellent opportunity, however, as a millennial this seems ethically questionable. Instead, a marketing team should ideally aim to give consumers a safe space to review and even critique a product or service and allow improvements to be made accordingly; this creates trust between the brand and the consumer, resulting in brand loyalty. 

Social media features in almost all millennial’s lives, whilst also allowing a marketing team to reach a large number of potential consumers quickly. Therefore, it should be used as a tool to wisely hone-in on particular types of millennial consumer without becoming invasive or repetitive. By creating brand partnerships with influencers or offering specific promotions or discounts, a marketing team can easily appeal to millennials that seek out bargains or relate to ‘social media stars’ that endorse affordable products. 

Similarly, studies show that satisfied millennial customers share their experience with an average of three people, whereas a dissatisfied consumer will communicate this with up to twenty others. Thus, social media may be utilised as a ‘safe space’ for a customer care team to communicate with and listen to the opinions of the millennial in an informal setting that is familiar to them. 

According to Forbes Magazine as per Spredfast, 62 percent of millennials state that they are more likely to become a customer if a brand engages with them on social media, therefore utilising social media to interact with millennials is a valuable tool for millennial marketing.  

The Millennial Marketing Secret.

The best way to market to millennials is don’t. It seems counter-productive, but it isn’t. Millennials grew up in the digital world, their ability to think critically and deduce deceit is unrivalled. They know when someone is trying to sell them something directly and they most importantly they’ll let everyone else know. 

If you’re trying to sell to millennials you just need to be honest. You need to be authentic. Demonstrate this through tonality of your marketing communications, by way of language or the expression of your brand identity. You need to emulate their characteristics. Whilst not only giving them what they want and need, even if they are at polar ends of the spectrum, but also give them a reason to choose you.

Millennial Marketing is a difficult task but highly rewarding when you get it right. It can take your brand from zero to hero and often goes viral across social media. If you’re trying to market to millennials and could benefit from the help on offer by Leblek, whether it’s digital marketing, creative design or website design we’d love to help, contact us today.