- Content Marketing

How to Market to Millennials (Even If They Aren’t Your Target Market)

As millennials come of age and enter our workforce, along with them comes some serious potential for profits. According to Hubspot, “There are currently 80 million Millennials in the U.S. – nearly one-fourth of the total population. And, with an annual buying power of $200 billion, they are the most lucrative market.”

How to Market to Millennials (Even If They Aren’t Your Target Market)

Knowing this, companies who neglect giving special attention to the wants and needs of this generation will be missing out on significant growth potential. Even if millennials are not your target audience because your products and services don’t apply to their age group, applying these tips to your marketing strategy can benefit any company.

Mobile Optimization is Key

Nielsen research shows that 98% of millennials own a smartphone, which is why it’s essential for your business’s website to be mobile friendly. Millennials expect the companies they connect with to have optimized their web presence and made them convenient to use. If a site is awkward or hard to navigate from a phone, most millennials will quickly become frustrated and move on to another site.

In addition, according to Entrepreneur Magazine, millennials, more than any other generation, trust that the information on their mobile devices is the same as the information they could access from a desktop. Because of this expectation, it is imperative that your mobile site allows users to access the same information that is available on your desktop site.

Inbound not Outbound Marketing

Millennials are not impressed by traditional marketing tactics like magazine ads, old-fashioned television commercials, pop-up ads, and billboards (i.e. outbound marketing). To millennials, these ads seem impersonal. They appear to be profit-centered and company-focused.

This generation is looking for connections. They want to feel like the companies they purchase from care about more than just the bottom line. They are looking for experts, for companies that share quality information, and for businesses that give back to their customers and their communities.

Think about how you can incorporate your company’s expertise and passions into things like blogs, YouTube videos, white papers, and interviews. Millennials respond to companies that share their information and help their customers make informed decisions. They run from the hard sell. They look for honesty, quality, and caring. They will connect to companies who can answer their questions and teach them something new.

Let’s take a look at an example of successful inbound marketing. This blog post from BioClarity is focused on giving consumers information on an issue that they are struggling with – acne. Unlike traditional outbound marketing techniques, this blog post isn’t focused on the company or product but, rather, provides the consumer with quality information and establishes BioClarity as an industry expert.


Sell an Experience, Not a Product

Millennials tend to value experiences over material items. This doesn’t mean that you should stop selling your product/service and get into the business of concerts and festivals. Rather, try marketing your products and services around experiences. Things like sneak previews and branded parties can give millennials a chance to feel like they are experiencing something before the crowd.

You could also capitalize on existing experiences (e.g. concerts) by sponsoring an event. This is a more traditional form of marketing that would get your product/service in front of event attendees. Seeing as millennials are more interested in experiences, event sponsorship is now more attractive than ever.

Another way to utilize experiences in your marketing strategy is to share your customers’ stories and their positive experiences with your product. While you aren’t providing an experience for consumers, per se, it does show them the experience they could have if they purchase your product.

Here is an example of using customer stories as an effective form of marketing. Pottery Barn features customer images of their products on their Instagram. By utilizing the hashtag #mypotterybarn, they are able to see how customers are using their products to update their homes and improve their lives. By featuring these customer images, Pottery Barn is encouraging consumers to recreate that experience for themselves.

Millennials Value the Shopping Experience

Sticking with the theme of selling an experience, it’s important to focus on the customer shopping experience. Millennials want more out of their shopping experience than simply choosing a product. They think of shopping as a form of exploration and enjoy when there is a social aspect incorporated into it.

Think of ways you can enhance the e-commerce experience. Make it easy to pin your products to Pinterest. Let them create a wish list and express themselves by the things they are considering purchasing. While this may lengthen the conversion funnel, it is a new part of the shopping experience that millennial consumers have come to expect.

Not Marketing to Millennials?

If you are marketing to businesses rather than millennial consumers, it may make sense to teach your audience how they can market to their millennial consumers. Show them how they can use these tactics to connect with their audience.

Let’s look at how marketing to millennials can be incorporated into your B2B strategy. SmartMove’s target market is not millennials, it’s landlords (who are typically older than the millennial generation). However, they used the inbound marketing tactic of creating this informative blog post to show their customers (landlords) how they can better interact with their customers (millennials).

If your target audience is older generations, you can still take advantage of these tips. Remember that many consumers consult their children on purchases they are considering. They also learn purchasing habits and techniques from others and will quickly appreciate the enhancements you have made to appeal to millennials.


Keeping up with trends has always been an important part of growing and maintaining a successful business. Millennials are a major source of buying power and to neglect their wants and needs in your marketing strategies can impact your company’s growth potential and bottom-line. To stay on top of current trends and millennial habits, incorporate these tips into your marketing strategy.

How to Market to Millennials (Even If They Aren’t Your Target Market)

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