Marketing Your Business In The Age Of The Millennials

What does marketing in the age of millennials mean to you and your business? Even if your business doesn’t directly market to this generation this still applies to you as a business owner.

We are in the era with the biggest generation in history. We’re talking about those born between the year 1980 and 2000, which are for the purposes of this post young adults between the ages of 18-30.

Millennials are a generation that have grown up in a world
of rapid technological change

Millennials are a generation that have grown up in a world of rapid technological change

How different should your marketing strategy be for millennials?

You might be asking yourself, how different should your marketing strategy be for millennials? Should it be any different from your other market segments? Yes it should be and here’s why. Millennials are setting new trends and are changing the landscape of marketing as we know it today.

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Gone are the days of mass marketing. That corporate style, one dimensional approach of businesses telling us what they want us to hear. We are now in an era of personalized more emotional based marketing.  One that is consumer focused.

A brand name isn’t enough for this generation. Traditional marketing and advertising doesn’t work anymore. Millennials turn to social networks, peer review and content from the brand itself to see how they conduct themselves online. If it wasn’t important to you before as a business owner, it should be now, brand consistency and knowing your values and purpose are more important than ever.

In a recent research study conducted by NewsCred, “The Millennial Mind: How content drives brand loyalty”, they sought to discover how millennials view content today. The result revealed that:

“62% of those surveyed feel that online content drives their loyalty to a brand – yet the content they’re receiving is turning them off by not helping them navigate their everyday problems, being too long, sales-driven, or not tailoring messaging to individual cultural interests.” – NewsCred

The study goes on to show that although millennials find communications from a business helpful they are not necessarily compelled to share it. You might be asking yourself then, what’s missing from the equation? If they find it helpful why wouldn’t they share it?

First, I believe millennials are more willing than any other generation to call a ‘spade a spade’, first and faster than any other generation.  It’s about keeping it real.  I have a lot of respect for that.

Marketing your business in the age of the millennials

We also live in a world with a lot of noise. Everyone, including millennials, are being bombarded with content. From the various social media feeds, videos, news articles, promotions, ads, blogs, white papers etc.  While social media does help connect us all it is also a great source for a lot of noise.

To counter this, businesses need to stand out. You want your business and brand to be remarkable as Seth Godin points out in his book “Purple Cow“. If your content doesn’t resonate or add value people will move on and the chances of them coming back for a second look are slim to none.

It doesn’t stop there. You also need to understand your audience. According to the same NewsCred study, millennials will respond more positively to content when it is tailored to their cultural interests. Content tailored to ‘their age’ and ‘where they are’ were also important but cultural interests scored higher as being important to them.

So what does this mean to you and your business?

You need to understand your audience. Who are you are trying to connect with and why? It is so important to understand the why. If you don’t know your why, then neither will they. You need to know where they are, what motivates them, their pains and what makes them tick.

[Tweet “In business know your why. If you don’t know your why, neither will they”]

This is where your client/buyer personas become more important than ever. Not just for millennials but also to segment your market. Even grouping millennials into one segment by itself is still too broad.

Marketing your business in the age of the millennials

One of the very first things a business owner should do, as part of their marketing strategy, is to develop a detailed client/buyer persona of their ideal target audience. The idea is to create a marketing message and content that resonates specifically with them and adds value.

In the NewsCred study, they also found that 41% of their respondents would abandon content if it was too long unless it offered value. Search engines like Google love long form content, especially when it adds value to a positive user experience. The theory is then, the longer the user will stay on the page, the more likely they will be to share and come back for more. This is not only true for millennials but for other generations as well.

Emotional Connections

Millennials are also big on businesses that support causes they believe in. The NewsCred study noted, however, that sharing funny content outweighed causes and thought provoking content. The take away here is to create content that not only offers value and resonates with your audience but also stirs an emotional connection. In a world with much darkness laugher helps bring brightness and hope.

Where are they?

Millennials have grown up in the world of technology. Even my young children, both under the age of five, already know how to navigate technology in our house such as the iPad and Netflix. They can easily find their profiles, login and access their accounts.

As such, millennials and the younger generations are far more technical than any other generation. They almost seem to intuitively know how to navigate modern technology.

So where are they when they are online? According to the NewsCred survey, Facebook and Google continue to be the main channels to search content. Millennials have grown up in a world of using Facebook and Google. Although I am a Gen X myself it is now a way of life for me. The difference is they consume more content across more platforms faster than anyone I know. Toggling between social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest etc., for various sources of content is something they do with ease.


Interacting and engaging with millennials through social media platforms is the modern way of communication. Texting continues to be the preferred way of communication as well. This provides great insight for service base businesses who would like to provide alternative forms of communication with their clients.

Email and subscribing to newsletters is less used by millennials but is still an effective form of communication for many and definitely other generations. If you’re uncertain how your clients wish to receive communication from you, now is a great time to conduct your own research by conducting surveys, polls or quick interviews with existing clients. Ask for their feedback on their preferred method of communication.

You may also want to consider other forms of communication.  Facebook recently launched new website plugins. In addition to the Page plugin Facebook launched earlier this year, business owners can now integrate Messenger and Events on their website. This now creates a seamless interaction with your audiences on Facebook page right on your website.

business owners can now integrate messages and events on their website
Image Source: Screen grab Facebook post

Another great feature Facebook launched is Events. This further allows businesses to create a more integrated experience for managing events both on and off Facebook. This removes any extra event management system you might be using into one seamless event management solution.  Now you only have one event system to manage, making your life more organized.

It’s also more social too as your audience can see what friends are also attending, they can easily subscribe to your events and be notified whenever you create a new event in the future. Events and Messenger are two additional forms of communication allowing millennials and other generations to easily interact with your business.

At the end of the day, regardless of who you are marketing to, you need to understand your target audience, where they are and why you are marketing to them.

Your website and social media continue to be a major source of communication with millennials as well as other generations. Your overall marketing strategy, supported by your online content marketing strategy (i.e. website, blog and social media), should always be created with that ideal client in mind.

I believe millennials set a excellent standard and reminder that represent the interests that hold true for many of us in other generations. We are all tired of the old traditional way of sales and marketing. We want a more personalized experience.  We want to engage with businesses we like, know and trust.

Edited photo - Diana Diana Davies-Harju, Partner, Marketing at InnovaMap

InnovaMap – we use the science of marketing to connect you with your target audience.

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