3 Tenets About Marketing to Millennials

Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO of The NIIC

You’ve likely read about it at some point—Millennials have buying power. If you’re marketing a product that targets this generation, you best be sure you have internalized these three tenets:

1They are equally concerned with your product’s value statement as the story behind it. No longer can you solely rely on the merits of selling a quality widget. Millennials want to know the narrative, how it got to market in the first place. For example, who are the people in the warehouse, in the office, or in the fields picking the coffee beans? Brands need to effectively market the story of their product as much as or even more than the bells and whistles. Lush does a great job of making that connection, with its “handmade stories” campaign.

Even smaller companies can do this on a basic level. Tools like Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat are effective for so many brands in that they make it easy to provide a behind-the-scenes look at their operations. This live (and unedited) content comes across as authentic—a trait which Millennials value.

2. The role of influencers cannot be ignored. Believe it or not, there are cohorts of young people who make a small fortune online representing brands that run the gamut. They are the “merchants of cool,” so to speak. Millennials look to these hip peers for direction and inspiration when it comes to trends. For companies wanting to get in front of this generation, it often becomes a pay-to-play game.

3. Trust is a key commodity and must be earned. Just as many Millennials were graduating college and entering the workforce, the Great Recession stopped them in their tracks. Then movements like Occupy Wall Street further incited cynicism of big business. For these reason, many Millennials seek out authenticity and trust that sometimes only small business can provide. What’s more, this generation is known to place a premium on keeping their money local, so “shopping small” checks that box.

If you market to this segment, what other realities have you come to learn? How have millennials behaviors and values influenced how you market to this demographic?


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