The Truth About Marketing To Millennials
Updated: Mar 12
Millennials are THE WORST.
We’re lazy, spoiled, unemployed, highly educated 22 to 36-year-olds living in mom and dad’s basement or the childhood bedroom we grew up in.
We’re adults who play video games, spend way too much time on social media, binge on Netflix, eat more avocado toast than the average person in the history of forever.
We love to say we’re just “figuring it out.”
Forget all that. Let’s be real.
Millennials have a bad reputation.
Alright, there might be SOME truth to the stereotype I stated above, but not really.
According to Accenture:
- There are about 80 million millennials in the USA, and they spend upwards to $600 billion a year.
- Millennials are already in their 20s and 30s, and many already have an established career and even children.
- By 2020, millennial spending power will raise massively to $1.4 trillion and represent 30% of all retail sales.
Alright, yes, we might not have the money or the spending power like the Boomers, but it’s also UNFAIR to lump all of us into one category and assume we don’t matter.
Because we definitely do.
If you’re a writer, copywriter, or running a business in general then you’ll be focusing on this demographic pretty soon.
How can you write and market to this group of people who are seemingly the worse? Let me tell you.
First off, I’m a millennial myself. I’m a 26-year-old first-generation Asian-American immigrant.
I’m in university debt, still play video games, love Whole Foods, screenshot memes, went to Europe for a ‘gap year’ three years ago and haven’t really left. I have millennial friends all over the world and the consensus stereotype is that we are lazy and will never get our lives together. (Perhaps, it’s just my friends, who knows).
And yes, I’ve had more avocado toast than 9 to 5 jobs.
So, how do you write and market for us?
The generation that’s slowly taking over the workforce and will have the spending power bigger that comes with it?
My anthropology degree, people-watching hobby, and obnoxious extrovertness have finally come to good use.
Here’s a shortlist of some of our values, beliefs, and attitudes that I’ve compiled that can describe us Millennials. It’s up to you how you use this information. I think it’ll be useful to you.
8 Things Millennials Love
Millennials aren’t dumb. We know we live in a world of scams, celebrity endorsements, sponsored posts, and fake influencers.
In the end of the day, a lot of us don’t say “sell-out” anymore, we understand people have to eat and provide for their families.
That doesn’t me we have to like it.
A survey from Stackla shows that people say authenticity is massively important when choosing which brands to support. This is especially true for millennials who had a whopping 90% say authenticity was important.
This reminds of people choosing ‘real organic fruit’ over ‘processed and packaged junk.’
And it seems like it’s not that hard to spot a fake brand. According to Social Media Today, 57% of consumers think that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.
When it comes down to it, millennials just want their business to go to a place that’s honest and doesn’t hide anything. That also doesn’t mean they have to be perfect.
Millennials seem to really support brands that have pro-social messaging, sustainable manufacturing methods, and a good ethical business structure.
In its 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, it showed that 73% percent of Millennials indicated the willingness to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand.
Moreover, 81% of millennials expect their favorite companies to publicly declare their commitment to good corporate citizenships.
Think about TOMS shoes, and when ‘you buy one pair of TOMS shoes, another pair goes to an impoverished child.’ I remember buying a pair myself, alongside my sister, also a millennial.
It’s really easy.
Millennials just want the companies they buy from to practice sustainability and to abide by good ethical standards.
Us millennials really love to feel like we’re part of a community.
Yes, we want a lot of same things our parents want: a good job, a stable income, a family, kids, white-picket-fence, etc.
But we also want to believe in what we’re doing. We want to follow our purpose and our ‘why’.
Millennials don’t want to work or do business with a company that doesn’t include or engage their audience or the employees.
We want to be part of what’s going on. There should be a purpose and we want to be part of a cause.
If you’re an employer trying to hire a millennial then it’s in your best interest to be as transparent, and to not be a ‘boss’ but a coach.
For Things To Be Easy….Especially Learning
Yes, it sounds like we like to be lazy. But wouldn’t you want to learn how to do things faster and more effectively?
Millennials love lifehacks and ‘Top Ten Tips for…’ anything.
Hence the rise in things like Blinkist app or other apps that make it soooo easy to do anything. (looking at you, Netflix autostream)
If you really want to get to us, give us information that we can use immediately and that’ll make our lives easier.
People think we’re the worse. Why not teach us how to not be? We want the top secrets that the very best use to become successful.
If you really want to better your content marketing, provide content that’s useful, easy to read, and practical.
Millennials tend to be more ethnically and racially diverse than their elders. We’re seen to be less religious, less likely to join the armed forces, and are on track to become the most educated demographic in the world.
Due to social media, YouTube, Netflix, and other streaming sites, we’re able to educate ourselves on a variety of subjects and be exposed to different ways of life. Which has made us much more open-minded than the previous generation.
We are the ones pushing for equality and are much more accepting of people, no matter what gender, race or whom they chose to live.
Also, the idea of forgoing the regular 9 to 5 job lifestyle and looking more towards the entrepreneurial life.
Flexibility and Convenience
This is another trait that may make us appear to be lazy, but if you’re going to work somewhere or purchase a product, wouldn’t you want to be as comfortable as possible?
The race for convenience has been at high with the accessibility of movies through streaming sites, meal deliveries, grocery deliveries through various apps, and the rise of online shopping.
This also applies to the workplace.
Millennials are more willing to work for companies that allow things like telecommuting, flexible hours and more open space.
If you really want to get to the heart of the millennial, making something as convenient as possible is the most attractive route.
Things We Hate
Of course, there are things we millennials absolutely hate. We always hear a lot of the same ‘stereotypes’ put us all in one category. You can’t generalize us. That’s simply not fair.
Really quickly, here are 5 myths that you should definitely ignore if you’re marketing to millennials.
Myth #1. We’re all alike
Of course, we’re not. We’re all individuals and have been raised in the most diverse era in history. Yeah, we do have a lot of similarities but to treat us like one single group is insulting.
Myth #2. We’re all lazy
We love this one. People think we are content with living with mom and dad forever. But often we’re just trying to be frugal and pay off student loans, which are much higher than they used to be. A lot of us are very independent and motivated.
Myth #3. We hop from job to job.
We actually change jobs just as much as the Gen Xers. If we like a job, we’re loyal. We leave out of necessity.
Myth #4. We don’t want to be married.
We’re not opposed to it. We just want to establish our careers first…and we want to get it right the first time.
Myth #5. We don’t want to be homeowners.
We actually do, but we’re saving up first. We’re actually financially savvy or at least eager to learn (cue the content writers).
So if you’re a content writer, copywriter, or any type of marketer, what do you need to keep in mind when communicating and marketing to Millennials?
First, we’re drawn to visuals. We love graphics and good video with a compelling speaker, but keep it short and sweet. You really only have seconds to grab our attention.
Second, Millennials are scanners, not readers. Make your content and copy easy to scan.
Third, blame it on Disney Channel Original Movies (shoutout to Brink!), but we love a good story. Putting in a narrative and a story does wonders to keep us engaged.
Fourth, we love interacting. You need to be as engaging as possible and including your millennial audience into the conversation. Why do you think all those features (polls, ask me anything, ratings) on Instagram, AMA’s on Reddit, and comment sections are popular?
Fifth, teach us something. Lose the fluff and make it easy to understand. Short and sweet.
Last, we’ll share long content pieces if we love them. If you’re writing long content, break it up with bullet points and good headings.
Maybe we’re the worst. Actually, we definitely are not.
We’re slowly taking over the workforce and will be your primary audience in the near future.
We’re the first generation to really grow up in the digital age and it’s evident in our daily habits.
At the end of the day, all we want is to be interested and engaged.
Keep it short, sweet, easy and to the point. We want to learn and just be happy at work and in our homes.