3 Key Things to Consider When Marketing to Millennials

Emma Grant

Head of SEO

Results-driven Emma heads up our SEO team. A champion of best-practice SEO strategies for search engine success that lasts and delivers best value, Emma’s work focuses on boosting clients’ online visibility with the ultimate goal of increasing sales. Emma applies her extensive skill and experience to create strategies that pay off quickly for faster results. She knows precisely what to do to reduce clients’ paid ad spends for greater profits, and how to boost organic leads for better long term return on investment. After close of business, when she’s not organising exciting travel adventures, you may hear Emma strumming classical guitar tunes or working on her jazz riffs.

Millennials: that lucrative yet elusive audience that is the target of so many businesses. It’s a tricky demographic that’s for sure; with technology and social engagement in-bred from the ground up, and expectations that far exceed those generations that have gone before, it is no wonder so many brands find it a challenge to conquer this sector.

Millennials are those born between 1980 and 2000. A recent Google study revealed that 87 per cent of them are not without their mobile at any point in the day or night, but that they will generally be the most likely to have ad-blocking software installed so that their online experience isn’t marred by intrusive adverts. This age group is also budget-led, which means there will be fairly considerable resistance ahead of any spending decisions. In fact, four in five millennials fear that they will end up worse off than their parents, according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson.


Millennials are those born between 1980 and 2000.

‘Generation Y’ – a Crucial Target Audience

Despite all of this, millennials, otherwise known as ‘Generation Y’, remain a crucial target audience. Whilst they are less likely to make direct cash purchases, they are said to be the driving force behind brand sharing, which of course is an incredibly powerful marketing channel. But exactly how true are the stereotypes? And how helpful is the abundance of millennial marketing advice that’s out there?

We read in a Telegraph interview with Susan Evan McClure, director of Smithsonian Food History Programs, after she had instigated an American History series to attract millennials, that she was surprised by the results that revealed what is important for millennials tends to be the same for older people. She did concede however that certain Generation Y marketing tactics work better than others.

“We’ve found that what millennials are really looking for is content. They’re looking for experiences that are content-rich, hands-on and engaging,” she said.

Millennials marketing

Millennials are the driving force behind brand sharing.

So content is key. But what else should we be taking into consideration when marketing to this important demographic? Here are our top three.

1.     Authenticity

Millennials demand authenticity. Anything that comes across as fake is going to make them lose patience. Our research has uncovered that the worst offenders are oral care, perfume and weight loss marketing. Corny music is also out for this audience.

2.     Sophisticated Design

There is no room whatsoever for outdated design for the millennial audience; they just won’t stand for it. If this is your target sector, be sure to invest in freshening up your brand. You’ll need to avoid things like stock photography; flashing links and old-style fonts. Expressing your values and your lighter side will really help you get to the crux of what really appeals to this audience. In terms of web design, your site will need to work across all types of device otherwise it will just serve to frustrate, and you are going to need it to follow today’s modern, scroll-down format: it’s what millennials expect to see.

3.     Subtlety

Aggressive marketing styles are a complete no-no where millennials are concerned. In a 2014 survey, it was revealed that 84 per cent of them don’t trust any sort of advertising that involves things like pop-ups, especially those that prevent them getting out of a window, and screen-blocking ads that mask the content they are trying to access. Overly enthusiastic remarketing doesn’t go down well either, being seen as a form of online stalking, so be sure to keep it to a minimum. Pop-up email captures that crop up too often are also regarded as annoying, as are long articles using overly sensationalistic phrases like, ‘But wait, you’ll never believe the results!’. These are known as ‘clickbait’, and are considered particularly frustrating by this generation that prefers advertisers to get to the point.

Marketing to millennials

Are millennials the right audience for you?

Is Generation Y the Right Target Audience for your Business?

Of course all of this is only relevant if your target audience is actually the millennial set. You’ll have to work out whether marketing to this group is actually the best route for your brand, which of course takes research. If it is, be sure to follow the guidelines set out above so that your approach falls in line with expectations and preferences.

If you could do with some marketing direction and help with strategy planning, why not Figment digital marketing agency London? We’ll help you plan a campaign that effectively reaches your key targets, and we can assist with the crucial audience research too.

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