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3 Keys for Marketing to Millennials

Coined by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, the term “Millennials” encompasses people born between 1982 and 2003. Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the single largest demographic group in the United States, so any business with plans for a profitable future must prioritize marketing to Millennials. Understanding what motivates this group and how best to communicate with its members helps businesses maximize their marketing efforts.

Some Master of Business Administration online degree programs include coursework on the best practices for marketing to Millennials. This group of consumers has opinions and priorities that differ somewhat from their predecessors.

1. Millennials Are Socially Conscious

Millennials tend to prefer socially responsible brands that align with causes they consider important. A 2015 Cone Communications study reports that 66 percent of Millennials are more likely to engage with brands committed to corporate social responsibility.

To target Millennials, companies can use a variety of strategies such as social media campaigns that focus on social responsibility.

2. Millennials Are Sharers

Millennials are more plugged-in to social media than any other generation. However, a company can’t merely establish a Facebook page, Twitter feed or Instagram account and consider its work done. A few additional elements go into marketing to Millennials through social media.

Information gained through social media becomes more valuable to Millennials when “social proof” corroborates it, which includes honest reviews and peer sharing. Millennials are more likely to view companies as “authorities” in their areas if the preceding elements are in place.

Creating content that Millennials consider share-worthy requires a long-term commitment to content marketing and social media marketing.

3. Millennials Don’t Want to Miss Out

Millennials value experiences over possessions. In a reality show on tiny homes, you’re likely to hear them discuss spending less on housing so they can travel and enjoy other life experiences.

Another major motivator is the “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO), which manifests in Millennials who constantly check messaging apps and their favorite social media platforms so they don’t miss their friends’ posts or fall behind on news updates.

To leverage FOMO, skilled marketers create experiences around their products or services and give that experience an end date or time with language like “ends Friday,” or “only 50 seats left.”

Profits in Marketing to Millennials

Millennials will spend $10 trillion in their lifetimes. With so much money on the line, companies that successfully market to Millennials can position themselves for industry leadership over the next few decades. It will be essential to follow this group of consumers over the coming years and observe how their attitudes and buying patterns evolve.

Learn about the UT Tyler online MBA in Marketing program.


University of Washington APAC: Advising the Millennial Generation

Pew Research Center: Millennials Overtake Baby Boomers as America’s Largest Generation

Advertising Age: Millennials Want to Party with Your Brand but on Their Own Terms

American Marketing Association: Millennial Demand for Corporate Social Responsibility Drives Change in Brand Strategies

Susan Solovic: How to Leverage ‘Fear of Missing Out’ Marketing to Get Millennials on Board

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