Marketing to Millennials: 7 Tips for Success

Millennials are the largest generation living today and are, therefore, a demographic that every business wants to capture.

Millennials have grown to have massive purchasing power. However, they’ve proven to be more challenging to advertise to than previous generations.

Millennials skim content, quickly realize when they’re being marketed to and engage with brands on their terms. This makes them less susceptible to traditional advertising and marketing tactics.

So, how can you effectively reach this notoriously challenging demographic? Here are our tips on how to market to millennials.

1. Be Authentic

Millennials are cynical of traditional marketing, and their digital literacy makes them less susceptible to things like banner ads and in-browser advertising. However, one way to get through the static to reach a millennial audience is by being authentic. To come across as authentic to a skeptical audience, you need to communicate clearly and truthfully, know the “why” behind your business and understand your audience and their exact needs. Be genuine and sincere in your communications, and don’t be afraid to offer a peek behind the curtain (more on that in number 5).

2. Gather Reviews and Word of Mouth Buzz

Rather than market your products using superlatives or “salesy” language, use your customers to get the word out for you. Millennials are quick to share with friends what they love (though they are also quick to share what they hate). One of the ways that they tell their community about great products or services is by leaving honest reviews or testimonials. When combined with a social media campaign, testimonials, shares and likes can be an effective way to get the message out in an organic way.

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3. Appeal to their FOMO and Frugality

Millennials have an intense fear of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO. This can mean tickets to Coachella (a popular music festival) or a great deal on a product they love or want to try. Additionally, millennials are more frugal than previous generations, since many of them came into adulthood during the recession. Appeal to their FOMO and their frugality with a campaign highlighting limited offers, exclusive deals, coupons or deluxe samples when they sign up for your mailing list.

4. Walk Your Talk

As part of your authentic message, make sure that you’re actually doing what you claim in your mission statement. Particularly on social media, companies can be called out for purportedly standing up for the environment or promoting diversity but not following through. In order to be authentic and stay on the positive side of word of mouth, make sure that you’re carrying out the promises to the causes you claim to support. Highlight your charitable contributions, strategies to reduce environmental impact, or other efforts on your website or in your brochures and other marketing materials

5. Be Transparent and Accessible

Along with walking your talk, transparency and accessibility are essential when connecting to a millennial audience. This means being more open about your supply line, the materials or ingredients you use, and where your products are manufactured. Millennials shop with their hearts as well as their wallets. So, being honest with them will gain their loyalty as well as their trust. Part of being transparent also means being accessible. Respond to their tweets, Instagram DMs, or any other way they are communicating with you. They’re not likely to call you directly, so you need to be prepared to communicate with them in ways they are more comfortable with.

6. Personalize

One way to sneak by the millennial BS meter is by personalizing your marketing and advertising directly to them. In a world dominated by digital, print can be especially effective. Take care to design something that they’ll notice and appreciate. Craft personalized messages, use high quality (recycled) paper and Instagram worthy designs. Instead of a standard direct mail postcard, put your advertisement in an envelope, they’ll appreciate the special touch. And don’t forget to include a product sample, coupon, or other special, limited-time offer for them (see number 3).

7. Make it Instagram Worthy

Millennials spend a large chunk of their time on social media. They see it as not just a way to stay connected to friends and family, but a place to find inspiration. One thing that stands out on photo-based social media sites, like Instagram, is the visual appeal. Make your product packaging exciting and aesthetically pleasing. “Shelfies” are real — a photo that includes a shelf or bookcase and may or may not include a person — and they often include products as well as books and other memorabilia. To take that visual appeal further, use consistent branding and design across all your marketing and advertising efforts. In encourage more organic social media presence, urge your customers to post about your product or service and reward them with a discount code or deluxe sample.


Millennials can be a difficult demographic to market to. However, if you take the time to understand them, their values and aspirations, it becomes a little easier. Stay away from schlocky sales speak and instead communicate from a place of authenticity, transparency, and highlight your values. A combined print and digital strategy and Instagram worthy packaging can bring your brand to the next level with this challenging target market.


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