Five Things Brands Need to Know About Marketing to Millennials

Like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, millennials are a valuable and elusive prize for marketers. With massive collective purchasing power and robust BS detectors, millennials present a valuable opportunity and a compelling challenge. Here are five trends to keep in mind when trying to win the hearts, minds and wallets of your millennial audience.

Live (or almost live) Video

Millennials are a no-bull bunch. In fact, for 43 percent of them, authenticity is more important than the content itself when consuming news. Live (and almost live) video gives viewers a candid look at the brand, which helps build stronger, more personal relationships with fans. A great example is Free People, which uses Snapchat to give fans a sneak peek at new collections, go behind the scenes at photo shoots, tour the company office, and ask fans about weekends plans.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is a win-win for marketers. Millennials trust UGC 50 percent more than other types of media and find it 35 percent more memorable. They’re also 6 times more likely to purchase a product if the products pages feature photos from social media. 62 percent of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social media, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. Hard to argue with those stats. So don’t argue, just get some UGC!

Nordstrom Rack does a great job of incorporating user-generated content.


Don’t recreate the wheel. Working with influencers is a great way to reach more potential customers by leveraging existing relationships. Influencers have already done the legwork of building a rapport with fans, so working with them is a good way to earn authenticity and accountability with your audience. They won’t always work for free (nor should they), but influencers are often an affordable way to connect with your potential millennial consumers.

As an example, Birchbox teamed up with lifestyle blogger Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere to promote their May box. They both promoted their partnership with 5 Instagram photos, which resulted in 18,000 likes and reached over 550,000 consumers.

Social Good

Millennials are a socially conscious generation who want to make a difference in the world, and can be skeptical of overt sales tactics. In fact, 80 percent of millennials want businesses to get involved in addressing social issues and believe businesses can make a great impact. Consider partnering with a good cause, donating a portion of profits to charity or do a TOMS-style one-for-one donation for every product sold.


If you’re not already doing this, what are you doing? 🙂 Mobile is everything– 87 percent of millennials reported having their smartphone on hand day and night. Of course Google handicaps rankings for non-responsive sites, but that’s not the only consideration. Half of all millennials have downloaded a mobile shopping app, so beyond making sure you’re site is mobile friendly, consider creating a mobile shopping app if it’s right for your business.

Etsy has a great, easy-to-use app that makes it easy and fun for people to buy.

About the author: Audrey Myre is a Boulder native and recent graduate from CU, Myre began her career at Room 214 as a social media intern before joining the staff as an account manager. With a degree in marketing and digital media, she has a passion for building connections through online communications. Follow her on Instagram @audreyyannaa

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