Millennial Insights

Who are Millennials, and Why is Millennial Marketing Essential for Brands?

While the exact start and end dates vary depending on who you ask, the Millennial generation generally includes those born between the early 1980s and the mid 1990s. With approximately 80 million people and about $200 billion in purchasing power annually, it has surpassed Baby Boomers in size and spending. Given these staggering numbers, knowing how to market to Millennials and satisfying them as consumers are now table stakes for business success.

Key Insights for Millennial Marketing

Like all great targeted marketing, Millennial marketing is grounded in knowing your consumer through Insights that help you connect, customize, and cater to your target consumers.

You probably want or need custom consumer research related to your specific business landscape and a broader set of targeting criteria than generational demographics. But knowing the distinct characteristics of the Millennial generation can be a powerful starting point and frame of reference for engaging with them.

Below is a sample collection of insights you can count on as you engage in Millennial marketing.


Millennials are the first real digital generation. Their social media and other technology-savvy make them resourceful, seeking information in completely different ways. They ask a lot of questions. They want to know more than surface information. That means they complete way more of the purchase path on their own than any consumers that came before them. Millennials have embraced technology absolutely – it supersedes any other form of communication. They prefer texts versus calls, and social media over traditional.

Socially Engaged

Engaging easily and often with brands, they look for and use deals on their favorite things, and they are much less likely to trust a brand that is not active on social media. They see themselves as part of the process, understand the power of reviews, and are prone to providing feedback. Because they like to share the spotlight by participating actively and publicly with their preferred brands, they embrace the entire buying experience, and their interaction does not stop with social.


With a notoriously activist mindset, Millennials care about ethics and authenticity, and giving back is important to them, both for themselves and the brands they buy. These beliefs drive how they perceive brands and purchase goods and services.  They are motivated by brands that conduct their business with sincerity and show active disinterest or even disdain for businesses that are driven by the bottom line without a redeeming “greater good” component.

Short Attention Span

This generation is also known to have a very short attention span. That means that they expect instant responses and will move on quickly if they feel you’re not paying attention. This translates directly to how they interact with brands – 66 percent of Millennial consumers admit that their loyalty is dependent on the speeds at which brands respond to them, and 25% want feedback within 10 minutes after reaching out to a company on social media. In general, they also tend to be more fickle and less prone to make an effort to try to purchase the same brand repeatedly

Personal Preferences

Millennials tend to allow and expect more personalization than past generations. They believe that a brand that knows them and has specific information about preferences and behavior is more endearing and more valuable. So, they don’t put as much emphasis on privacy, opting instead for sharing in the interest of convenience and tailored experiences. Likewise, they steer clear of “mass” marketing and products, preferring local, small-batch products and personal experiences.

Price Conscious

These consumers spend differently too. They haven’t embraced the value of home ownership that previous generations banked on, and they also lack the zeal for savings that their parents had. They tend to be financially strapped, yet they do spend, using technology in every aspect. Millennials expect everything to be available online, and while many shop online, many more prefer the offline experience. Because they value first-hand experience, they spend more money than any other generation on restaurants, travel, and shopping.

How to Market to Millennials

Insights like those outlined above, individually and combined, provide valuable clues as to how to market to Millennials. For example:

  • Using multiple digital communications channels across social media platforms and other technology-enabled media is especially important to enable you to meet them where they are and break through the clutter of the fast-paced ongoing conversation.

  • Brands must maintain clean, up-to-date, responsive, easily accessible communications, channels, and platforms to earn and keep the trust of their Millennial consumers. If a website is difficult or frustrating to explore, to find, to understand, or to act upon, then the consumer will likely flee to another site that is more responsive and better equipped for navigation. Mobile-first is an absolute must here.

  • Speed matters, a lot. Consumers fully immersed in a technologically enhanced life will not wait for long before they move on to the next provider. Slow-loading times are often a deterrent to Millennials who don’t want to waste precious time.

  • Be the brand that cares – request regular feedback on various channels, and importantly, respond quickly and act based on their input.

  • Develop the right kinds of ads. Limited promotions and cool gifts for services and products that they perceive to be valuable is one tactic that many Millennials can’t ignore.

  • Connect on a human level. Give Millennials an outlet and a reason to put themselves in the picture, story, or cause. This will help you create a whole relationship with the customer and engage them by integrating your brand (not just your product or service) into their daily lives.

  • Self-service is welcome – these consumers love to do things themselves at their own convenience.

  • The best Millennial-friendly customer experiences allow them to be social. They are logged into their social media account once a day or more. They prefer companies and brands they can get to know, interact with, and engage with on a social level out in the open.

  • Take a hands-on approach and provide trial opportunities. Get the customer as close to the experience of sampling the product as possible, even online.

  • Connect the dots between your brand, the community, online engagement, and personal experiences. These consumers respond well to companies they can relate to, that seem like good neighbors, that know them, and that present an authentic face to the marketplace.

What comes after Millennial Marketing?

Consumers born after the mid-nineties are considered to be “Gen Z”. This group is coming of age and still growing and will soon surpass even the massive Millennial market.

Learn more about Gen Z