Coming of Age: Marketing Trends to Capture the Millennial Generation

Millenial Generation Gif

The millennial consumer. Who are they and what do they really want? Despite the stereotypes or labels surrounding millennials, one thing is certainly clear. This “lazy” or “entitled” generation has finally come of age. 

Millennials have now entered their peak spending years, commanding approximately US $200 billion in annual buying power and representing a significant portion of the population. For brands, this coming of age represents a challenge, creating a paradigm shift in marketing to a generation that is engaged in social and digital consumption and influence.

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Brands must develop a marketing strategy that appeals to this evolving generation. So here are five important digital marketing trends that must be employed to engage digitally-inclined millennials.

1. Social media is king

As one of the earliest generations to be born with a smartphone during their formative years, the millennial mindshare is more inclined to use online as a platform to engage with brands. Millennials are among the first to try a new technology, particularly social channels. When millennials want to learn about a brand’s new products or services, they first turn to social media.

In fact, when Blackhawk Network did research on how millennials shop, social media (55 percent) appeared as the number one source for all things shopping, followed closely by Google (45 percent), and then Amazon (39 percent).

Social media is key to targeting the attention of millennials. Brands must focus on creating a comprehensive social media strategy that delivers on engaging content as well as highly-targeted deals and savings.

2. The influential power of peers

Millennials are the most active users of mobile services that impact marketing today. Alongside using social media to learn about new products or services, they employ social channels to communicate with each other, providing suggestions and recommendations.

In order to take advantage of this social influence, brands must engage with millennials through both influencers and employee advocacy. Influencers are key to reaching a wider base audience that is impassioned about individual recommendations or suggestions. By getting your products or services in front of an influential social media user, your brand facilitates trust, loyalty, increasing revenue and brand awareness.

Related articles: Influencers Are An Effective Way Used By Brands To Reach Consumers

Conversely, your employees, some of whom are millennials themselves, can be strong advocates for your brand, generating instant interest within their own influential circle of friends and family.

3. Adopt native advertising

Traditional formats of advertising are often lost to the millennial generation. They are bombarded with advertisements from across so many different channels (mobile, social media, email, etc.) that they are becoming increasingly immune to the impact of traditional advertising.

In order to target millennials, brands must key in on adopting native advertising. Using tools like promoted tweets on Twitter or featured videos on YouTube or sponsored content on target sites can encourage engagement from millennials and convert engagement to sale.

It’s important that brands key in on content that delivers useful information or high quality messaging. Presentation is also important when using native advertising to drive your brand content.

4. Understanding the importance of cause marketing

Millennials are a socially-conscious generation. Many are aware of a company’s corporate social responsibility and how they engage with social issues. And those brands that increasingly improve their processes (manufacturing, supply chain, etc.) to create positive social impact, will see a rise in millennial engagement.

When looking to engage in cause marketing, your brand must be aware of several factors. It’s important to choose the right partnership, for one. But it’s equally important that your brand strives for authenticity when engaging in cause marketing.

Related articles: Traffic, Promotion and Making Money Online with a Low Budget

Doing it for the sake of donations or revenue increase will gather little momentum. It may even negate the positive social impact your brand has been striving for.

5. Be seamless

From brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce to social media and loyalty programs, there are many ways that brands can engage with millennials. The key to winning over the millennial generation is to offer a seamless experience, integrating certain operational elements that will drive a single conversation with the consumer across all channels.

To activate millennials’’ interest for your brand, consider the following types of campaigns that have been proven to make an impact:

  • Retail promotions: Hiring the right talent, including Duty-Free promoters, models, hostesses and mystery shoppers
  • Below-the-line campaigns: Developing point-of-sale materials to aid sales and for various uses such as in-store promotions, roadshows, standees and merchandise design
  • Digital channels: Using mobile apps to further build client engagement
  • Media buying: Booking strategic ad space to generate multimedia visibility
  • Events marketing: Hosting live events such as awards ceremonies, conferences, product launches

Brands will need to improve their capabilities to create a service that seamlessly incorporates all channels that drive engagement.

A final word

Millennials are one of the first generations entering their peak spending years as digital natives. Being raised in a digitally-rich, somewhat over saturated environment means brands must be keenly aware of their kind of digital experience. Brands must consider the overall digital trends across all touch points to create a positive online interaction that will drive engagement and resonate with the millennial generation.


Tony Youssef

Tony Youssef is the co-founder and CEO of Pulsar Group. Pulsar Activation is a full-fledged hassle-free brand activation agency that has been based in the UAE for 10 years, with branches in Beirut and Cairo.