5 Facts To Know When Marketing To Millennials

By the year 2018, millennials will have the greatest spending power of any generation. Their annual spend for 2015 is estimated to be $2.45 trillion and is expected to grow to $3.39 trillion by the year 2018, eclipsing the spending power of any other group.

So what really makes a millennial different from everyone else?

They grew up with the internet

It’s been established that a millennial is someone born between the the beginning of the 80’s to the early 2000’s. Considering the world wide web was launched in 1991, this simply means that millennials have spent most of their lives in the backdrop of the internet. They’re the first generation to witness its growth, first hand.

Probably why this ad launching the new Internet explorer, resonated best with them.

Smartphones are second-skin, but what about purchase?

85% of millennials own smartphones. What’s even more shocking though, is that one in five millennials browses the internet exclusively on mobile phones or tablets and no longer uses a desktop.

Brands and marketers who are looking to target this demographic, need to realise the importance of being mobile-ready. But what is the role that the mobile plays in purchase decisions for them?

While they’re glued to their smartphones when it comes to networking or staying updated, when it comes to shopping- most of them still rely on the trusty desktop. A study done by Annalect in 2014 showed that among smartphone users in the age group of 19 to 33, only 40% used their smartphones to make an actual purchase as opposed to 65% who did so using their computers.

There’s a huge potential for anyone who’s looking. Millennials are native smartphone users with 81% of them say that it’s important for retailers to have high quality mobile apps. While you’re not getting them to purchase just yet, being mobile-ready is imperative to capture their mind space.

You have to vie for their attention

The average person is exposed to close to 5000 marketing messages, each day. Attention spans have become shorter and it takes effort to get noticed. Brevity is a skill, one that’s greatly appreciated by millennials. It isn’t surprising though, considering their attention is divided between so many devices.

As Paige O’Neill, CMO of SDL puts it, “This demographic is part of the “always-connected” generation and therefore expects content to be delivered across devices, channels and in the language they prefer. Millennial consumers orchestrate their own brand experiences; they’re not waiting to be wooed by the next marketing campaign.”

They’re not interested in content, they’re looking for the right connect

There’s a reason why the brands that are making their mark on social media, are not necessarily the ones with big marketing budgets and bigger bank accounts. Yes, the Coke’s and Nike’s of the world are on top of all the marketing lists, but this is the first time EVER, that smaller businesses have just as much a chance to make it into the big league.

A recent study by Boston Consulting Group, shows that millennials identify with brands on a personal and emotional level far greater than previous generations. 59% of them stated that they purchased from brands that reflected their personality with 40% of them stating that they were willing to pay extra for a brand that reflected the image they wished to convey about themselves.

What this goes to show is that millennials are eager to engage with the brands and products they consume, at a far deeper level. Purchase decisions go way deeper than surface level attributes. If you have to catch their attention, you have to connect with them.

The shift isn’t towards the lack of trust, it’s in who they trust

The rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb indicate that we’re becoming more trusting as a race, doesn’t it?

Surprisingly, that’s not what research tells us. A recent research done by PwC on the reality of the ‘Sharing Economy’ shows that only 29% of the people surveyed stated that they trust people more than they did in the past, and 62% said they trust brands lesser today. But that’s only part of the story.

Millennials rely on their social networks to a large extent.

 In order to get to them you need to be part of their network. While celebrity endorsements and brand ambassadors still exist, millennials have ushered in the era of the online influencer- bloggers, tech gurus and subject matter experts who have built trusted networks of people with similar interests.


What brands need to understand is that apart from ‘millennials’ being a term that’s used to collectively distinguish them from the rest of the demographics, the key driving forces for the group are still the same. Their adaptability to newer technology and the ease with which they embrace newer ways of communication are a consequence of the era they were born into.

As Fiona O’Donnell from Mintel puts it, “Companies or brands that successfully market to Millennials are ones that recognize that there is no such thing as a ‘Millennial’—just individuals or groups of individuals who are at a similar life stage and have lived through similar experiences. They want to be treated for who they are, rather than be lumped together and labeled.”