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marketing to the millennial generation


What do we know about marketing to the millennial generation? The old methods just don’t work. I’m part of the Millennial generation and I can tell you that personally. Marketers have been trying to target young adults for several years, carefully tracking the behavior of the game-changing generation. Millennials just aren’t acting like any previous generations before them when it comes to marketing and consuming.


Yet, Millennials are extremely brand-loyal and willing to spend more with the companies we prefer. All these nuances have left traditional advertisers confused. Most know that traditional marketing methods and mediums are not as effective in reaching the younger generation. Few are sure how to find them.



Find Your Audience and Keep Them Engaged


Marketing to Millennials is important because they wield great influence and buying power. First, the majority of the generation is anywhere from their twenties to early thirties. At this point, they’ve reached many adult milestones, like having their own place or starting a family. Second, the Millennial generation makes the media. Young adults are the main voices online acting as influencers and experts. This has given rise to the popularity of “YouTubers” and being “Insta-famous”. These two factors make the millennial target market both valuable and difficult to engage.


Millennials also customize their social media, which breaks them into small subgroups or niches. The pages I follow on Instagram are very different than my sister’s account because we have different interests. So, we’re each exposed to different content. Finding your target audience doesn’t have to be difficult, but you need to create buyer personas to figure out who’s worth targeting and then produce a steady stream of authentic content to send.


Finding your target starts by understanding how Millennials interact with media and advertisements. In their Millennials on Millennials report, Nielson interviewed millennials to understand how they engage with media and advertisements. According to the report, “Less than 2% of 18-34 year olds changed the channel during commercials, compared with 5.5% of 35-54 year olds and more than 8% of viewers 55 and older. Young people also had the lowest program engagement and lowest ad memorability scores the studied shows.”


This data reveals the biggest problem with using traditional mediums to target this group. Millennials promptly tune out messages that only focus on selling. Instead, they prefer advertisements that follow a narrative. In fact, the Nielsen study reveals Millennials are OK with ads if the content is free. However, this trend acknowledges a significant change in viewing patterns that will impact your media mix.


attitudes towards ads



Acknowledge Viewing Patterns With Your Media Mix


I watch television just like anyone else, but Millennials differ in how they watch it when compared to previous generations. Millennials to Millennials reports that although “traditional” TV is still the primary method of viewing, 23% of Millennial TV viewing is done through devices like laptops.


Adweek states there are three different groups of millennial viewers, divided by their habits:


screen TV usage


The “On their Own” group lives independently from their parents. They are the most likely to have a multimedia device and high-speed internet. approximately 78% of this group subscribe to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.


The “Starting a Family” group were the most likely to own DVRs, DVD players, and tablets. They tend to watch the most live TV and spend the most time at home.


The “Dependent Adult” group has the least influence over their screen time. Their habits tend to mirror the preferences of the other adults with whom they share a roof.


Acknowledging these habits can help you better target the subgroup that matches your ideal customer.



Employ Social Media to Break through Clutter


Millennials scroll through social media while they watch television. When I’m watching a movie or TV show, I’m just as likely to be checking my Facebook or liking pictures on my Instagram. This means, if you want to get Millennials’ attention, you need to fight through all the other posts in their feed that they see. This requires several key strategies.



Tell a Story


Millennials prefer to follow a narrative built by a brand over time. Remember the Budweiser Clydesdale and dog combo commercials used during half time for the Super Bowl? Budweiser connected through emotion and story-telling to reach their audience, using characters that are widely loved. I don’t even drink beer, but I’m always captivated by those commercials every year. Consider this as you plan your social posts.



Personalize Ads through Targeting


Use technology to target your ideal customer. We Millennials love our social profiles. There’s a lot of information out there about us floating around. Use that information to reach those whose interests align with your brand. Additionally, you can track people who visit your website. This will expose them to personalized information related to their online activity. 



Match your Media to the Platform


social media marketing

Several years ago, brands would pump out the same post in the same format to all platforms. They thought this would help reach more people with the same message, but it bored them instead.


If someone follows a brand using several different websites, they want a different twist on the message each time they see it. Each platform presents different opportunities to promote different types of media. Use this to your advantage!



Choose Quality Over Quantity


With the goal of engaging many people, it can be tempting to produce a lot of content. As much as possible, choose quality over quantity. People are reading all day, all the time. Spend the time to create noteworthy content that will resonate with your audience rather than trying to shove information at them on a daily basis. Your audience will appreciate a few thoughtful posts more than a flood of forgettable messages.



Generate Rich Media Content That Performs Over Time


To differentiate your brand, create content that uses rich media such as video, audio, or other interactive elements. For many people, it’s easier to watch a short video than to read an entire article. Top social networks support and encourage rich content and millennials will be more likely to remember those engagements.


In Conclusion


Find your millennial audiences, keep them engaged, and recognize their viewing patterns with your media mix. This requires strong, original content. Create more traffic by using rich media as part of your content plan. Millennials will remember interactivity over traditional advertising. If you shift your strategy to include these tips, you will build a lastly niche within the millennial market.