Marketing to the New Generation of Customers
Part 1: The Millennials

Marketing to the New Generation of Customers Part 1: The Millennials

Millennials are often misunderstood because of stereotypes (lazy, entitled, self-absorbed, etc.) and victimized of unfair and hasty generalizations of other generations, particularly the Baby Boomers.

Also known as Generation Y (born in 1981-1996), they will dominate the market as they may now be the largest living generation since they are expected to outnumber Baby Boomers this year according to Pew Research Center.

Since they were born in the era of traditional marketing, they witnessed the transition of print media to digital. They were born in the period of playing in the streets is a cool thing and, at the same time, they are not ignorant of computer games.

This is why it is hard to market products and services to them. Being exposed to two seemingly polarized ways of marketing makes them knowledgeable about it.

With this, here are some tips on how to market to Millennials and facts about this misunderstood generation.

1. Be Authentic.

Authenticity is a big word and thus an important one for Millennials. They are known to be observant and keen to detail that they can easily sense what’s fake and ungenuine, what’s an advertisement and real talk. Millennials value authentic reviews from credible sources. They prefer hearing it from their friends and peers via word of mouth.

Millennials are after the assurance of quality that a service or a product will offer to them. They are also very critical to influencers who endorse products as it could be another ‘marketing talk.’

Authenticity is not only about real reviews but also with the company. With you. Millennials have to be convinced that you are not just using them for your profit and other business goals. They have to know that you are more than your product or service, that you are really out there not just for money but with clear goals for the community you are serving.

2. Be there for them.

Transparency is the key. Millennials have to know that you are prioritizing your stakeholders, which are the customers. Listening to the various concerns, criticisms, and demands will show that you actually care for their welfare.

“The amazing thing about marketing to Millennials is that they are so good at telling you what they love... and what they hate. And if you are listening - truly listening - this can be incredibly helpful. For us that means selling our products in kits, using our customers as our models so they feel like they are buying from a brand that represents them, asking them what new colors and styles they want us to make, where our next pop up or event should be and even how they want us to communicate with them. Every decision we make is informed by listening to our customers, so when Millennials purchase, they are not just in love with the product but they feel like they are a part of something special that they helped to create,” said Joanna Griffiths, founder, and CEO of the active intimates e-commerce brand Knix Wear. (

It is also important to note that building a relationship and mutual trust with Millennials is something worth investing in. Through this, companies can make loyal customers.

Last, their inquiries have to be answered right away. With the average human attention span continuously decreasing, they need answers from you and not just automatic or robot replies. You do not want them to skip to other brands just because of unanswered inquiries in email.

3. Have an impact.

For Millennials, your company values are important and how you make an impact on the community. That is why corporate social responsibility activities are important. It is not just beneficial to the recipient but also creates a good image for the customers to see and appreciate. But beware, as said above, Millennials are very keen; they can easily sense if it’s fake or genuine.

Also, according to the latest research, almost 50% of millennials are more willing to buy a service or a product to a company that supports some cause. It makes them think the value of the availed service or product benefits not only them but also others. It is proof that Millennials are not actually self-absorbed, but they are the generation who wants to initiate change in their community.

“Parents of Millennials want to know a product’s features and benefits. Millennials require a second layer. What is your why? How do you impact the world? Lead with your purpose. At our company, we believe in doing everything possible to offer solutions for the health and well-being of others. Sometimes that’s through our products, but first and foremost, it’s through who we are as people. Philanthropy cannot be a side conversation. In our case, we collaborate with charity: water, a nonprofit organization delivering clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. We donate $3 from the sale of our [top] selling product - Eye Authority - to help fund water sources worldwide. But it’s not enough to hand off a check every year. We’re physically going to build our first funded well, and we’ll be making our customers a part of it,” said Annette Rubin, CEO of HydroPeptide, a personal care line advancing clean science and epigenetics-driven formulations. (

4. Be ‘Instagrammable’

Being instagrammable does not only mean high-quality photos worthy of posting and sharing to the social media application Instagram, but it is also a modern slang that means worthy of sharing with other people on any platform.

Living in the age where we can share everything with our friends regardless of distance (thanks to the internet and social media platforms), Millennials want to show to the world that they do something greater than themselves.

It actually supports the premise that Millennials want attention, but it doesn’t necessarily mean in a negative way. It could be about sharing to inspire others to do great things. This virtual acceptance and belongingness is somewhat a validation of their choices in life.

Truly, marketing has to adapt to different cultures and behavior of its target customers in order to succeed. This new generation of customers/audiences needs to be understood first to create an effective campaign worthy of their attention, time and money.

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