5 Marketing Strategies to Attract Millennials


Thad King

Jun 3, 2024


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Move over, Baby Boomers – Millennials are the up-and-coming target audience for marketers! Well, the truth is that Baby Boomers still make up a sizable portion of wealth-holders in the United States, and that means Baby Boomers are still one of the keys to a solid marketing strategy; however, that position is rapidly changing.

As Baby Boomers move forward, Millennials and Generation X, collectively born between 1965 and 1996, have become a hot target market because of the Great Wealth Transfer. This transfer of wealth is expected to pass along nearly $100 trillion dollars from Silent Generation and Baby Boomer seniors to younger generations, including Millennials.

The expectation is that Millennials will have more buying power in the coming decades, so now would be a good time to get a marketing plan for targeting Millennials. If you’re wondering what makes this generation tick, below are five strategies to market to Millennials in the years ahead:

1. Understand the Millennial Customer

Group of Millennials

Although Millennials as an age group often get lumped in with their younger counterparts in Gen Z, current Millennials are in or are approaching middle age. The oldest Millennials were born in 1981, putting them in their early-to-mid forties. The youngest are hitting their thirties.

Although the common caricature of the Millennial often paints this generation as youthful and carefree, the truth is that many Millennials now have careers, families, mortgages, and all of the other things that come with reaching middle age. In hitting this stage of life, their priorities have also shifted to include children, saving money for retirement, and all the other things that come with reaching mature adulthood.

When you market to Millennials, you need to consider what’s important to someone in the midpoint of life, but it’s also important to consider the generation’s relationship with money. Many Millennials came of age during expansive economic prosperity in the 1990s. They also experienced economic hardship upon reaching their 20s after the 2008 Financial Crisis.

This has caused some generation members to become very wary about discretionary spending and investing. At the same time, others in this generation take a more caution-to-the-wind approach to spending. Of course, the aforementioned wealth transfer from Baby Boomers to younger generations may also change the mindset of Millennials, but the effects of this transfer remain to be seen.

2. Use Tech Wisely

Millennials are unique in that they are considered the first Internet generation. Still, they also have roots in a time before technology was the all-encompassing behemoth that it is today. Many Millennials are tech-savvy, so your marketing strategy should involve digital technologies like social media marketing and apps for mobile devices.

At the same time, many in the Millennial generation long for a time when life was simpler, and the Internet didn’t follow them around in a pocket-sized device. This means that your mobile marketing efforts should be tempered with a touch of traditional flair that translates IRL (that’s “in real life” for you aging Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers).

This can be a real strength for marketers seeking to tap into Millennials' current and expected buying power. Still, it can also be one of the biggest small business marketing challenges. Many small businesses rely exclusively on technology to get customers in the door. Still, a marketing plan focused solely on digital may not resonate with as many Millennials as a hybrid approach.

This isn’t to say that things like influencer marketing won’t be effective on Millennial customers, but it is to say that you should not eschew word-of-mouth marketing. A hybrid approach may involve creating video content that showcases testimonials from real customers. You can also write blog posts that inform, educate, and add a personal touch to your brand while inviting feedback and user-generated content. A hybrid approach allows you to harness the power and reach of technology while appealing to the Millennial longing for offline interaction.

3. Make It About the Experience

Millennials doing a videocall

Because Millennials are in or approaching middle age, they tend to focus more on the experience of things rather than the mere entertainment value. Younger demographics are often lured in by flashy ads and over-the-top promises, but people in midlife tend to prioritize practicality. This is especially true if they have children and families because time becomes more valuable. If a middle-aged Millennial don’t feel that they are getting real value out of something, they’re more likely to walk away.

Of course, this is a generalization and does not apply to all buyers in the Millennial demographic. It’s simply a truism that can be seen in all people in their late thirties and early forties worldwide.

As a result, think about the impact you’re trying to make with your marketing. Are you providing something of value? Are you speaking to a Millennial's practical sensibilities? Do the products and services you’re marketing offer an experience the buyer can carry with them for years?

4. Practice Authenticity

In keeping with the above, Millennials have experienced the Internet from its inception. They’ve grown up with it and watched it evolve, sharpening their radar for detecting inauthenticity. The days of vague platitudes and empty promises are numbered for this type of marketing.

Instead, you’re encouraged to practice authenticity in your marketing. Find real causes and issues for your brand and inject those into your messaging. This doesn’t mean that your marketing needs to have a heavy message or involve touchy subjects like politics, but you can still provide authenticity while staying true to your brand’s core beliefs.

5. Avoid Treating Millennials Like a Monolith

As stated above, Millennials want different things in life. They are not a monolith and should not be marketed as such. This is true of any generation, but it can be difficult to separate the Millennial label from the individual buyer experience because of the generation’s unique circumstances on the world stage.

As with all successful marketing campaigns, your focus should always begin and end with your customers and the unique problems your brand solves for them. This is where market research, customer feedback, and partnerships with marketing professionals come into play.

Just because one Millennial spends a lot of time on social media platforms doesn’t mean that the Millennials who make up your audience also do the same. You need to determine what it is that makes your specific Millennial target audience take action in order to tighten your marketing strategy.

Millennials Are No Longer Kids

Millennial parents and their kid

One other thing brands need to remember is that Millennials are no longer kids. As was stated earlier, Millennials are in their thirties and forties, and many have families of their own. The media often stereotypes Millennials as young, single city-dwellers who love Starbucks, avocado toast, and craft beer, but those are tied tropes. While they may have contained some truth about a decade ago, they no longer hold as much.

Today, Millennials are moms, dads, and middle managers. They are stuck in traffic during their daily commute, and they are concerned about retirement savings and health insurance. The days of the carefree Millennial stereotype are gone, as those stereotypes now belong to Gen Z. They also once belonged to Gen X, and before that, Baby Boomers were the young whippersnappers whom marketers fought so hard to understand.

The truth is that every younger generation since the end of WWII has had disposable income in greater quantities than generations before WWII. Millennials were once the Internet whiz kids whose parents just didn’t understand, and now Millennials are becoming the parents who don’t understand their own kids.

As mentioned at the start of this post, the key to marketing to Millennials is to understand their station in life and what matters to them in that station. Everything else falls into place when you follow marketing best practices that have been used to entice middle-aged buyers for decades. Working with a digital marketing agency can also be valuable if you don’t have the right data to get your messaging across to this demographic.

Contact E-Marketing Associates to Receive a Personalized Marketing Strategy

E-Marketing Associates is your trusted partner for digital marketing solutions, including reputation software. Whether you want to market to Millennials more effectively or expand your brand recognition online, our experienced experts can provide personalized solutions.

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