26 Aug 2019

Marketing to: Millennials

When you look at a group of people you want to target, it’s important to understand their specific characteristics, needs, and means of communication. Gender, race, socioeconomic class, and more feed into these personas, but there’s another differentiator that shouldn’t be overlooked: generational cohorts. 

Whichever of these categories you fall into, be it the Baby Boomers or Generation X, you are likely to demonstrate certain inherent habits. 
Let’s take a look at one of the most talked about of these cohorts, millennials. 

We’ve all heard the stereotypes. TIME Magazine even called us “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents”. We’re known as the “me generation”. Boomers see us as spoiled, temperamental, and lacking the drive to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and make something of ourselves. 

We also happen to be the most savvy generation of shoppers in recent history, and have the power to make or break a company’s image via social channels, blog posts, and good, old-fashioned word of mouth. Oh, and also, there’s over 75 million of us in the US alone. 

We’re constantly bombarded with ads and content because of how plugged-in we are. 

But, there’s a catch. 

On average, we make 20% less than our parents did at our age. We have a ton of buying power, but almost no disposable income. We make less money, own less property, and, because of this, are more focused on saving than previous generations. 

So, how do you get past these roadblocks and speak to us? 

Speak our language. 

I respond to ads that evoke a sense of financial security, self-reliance, and independence. 

I also do my research. 

I’m addicted to apps like Rotten Tomatoes and Yelp, because, in my mind, they save me money. I’m constantly reading reviews, looking for happy hour deals, and weighing my options, simply because I don’t have $12 to waste on a movie that got reviews that were only okay. 

Aside from being thriftier than our parents, we’re more invested in certain issues. We care about our health, sometimes so much so that it’s cost-ineffective. 

Companies like Whole Foods have been able to capitalize on this. Because they offer a wider selection of natural products than, say, the King Soopers down the street, millennials are willing to pay more. Google search terms like “organic foods” and “paleo” often lead to ads for stores like this that have a higher price tag, but a lower health risk. 

At the end of the day, we’re not looking for a brand new car or a designer bag. A majority of us just don’t have the ability to make those high-end purchases. 

What might seem gimmicky to you offers us an opportunity to experience a product or service we might not have been able to before. So throw coupons our way, offer us a free trial or two, and build a relationship with us that will make us feel confident about buying that monthly subscription or treating ourselves every once in a while.


I’m Sophie Mann, and I work at encite branding + marketing + creative as Vice President of Strategy. My job entails a continuous study of business, marketing, data and culture, all in the name of driving strategy forward. I’m passionate about helping brands resonate more strongly with their consumers and communicate with their ideal clients. I’m also a proud graduate of the University of Kansas - Rock Chalk!

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  1. […] spend a lot of our time these days talking about Millennials and Baby Boomers, but there’s a large group situated right in between the two that makes up a […]

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