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Marketing to Millennials: Insights from an Insider

By Karl Langhans

As a fellow Millennial, I’ve heard those from other generations express much frustration regarding reaching my labeled demographic. We seem to be the most misunderstood and generalized generation to date. Greedy, impatient, wasteful, lazy. We’ve all heard such adjectives used to describe the Millennial. And with constant reiteration from the mainstream media, it’s easy to see how these supposed traits can take hold of our perspective. However, connecting with us is easier than you may think. I promise we don’t bite (unless you touch our Netflix).

Consider location over lingo.Macboy

The general marketing approach focuses on understanding the Millennial “lingo.” This isn’t nearly as important as recognizing the digital locations where we spend our time. Let’s take Snapchat, for example. Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to share pictures and videos that expire after a long time? Geofilters are available within the app that can be placed in a picture. Geofilters are unique picture overlays that users and brands can submit for public use.

Why is this important? There are two reasons.

First, Snapchatters can choose to interact with a brand’s Geofilter. This non-invasive marketing tactic puts the control in the hands of the user, and the ad on the user’s picture is shared without any effort by the brand itself. Secondly, the branded Geofilters are only available for a limited time, so the content always appears current. With Snapchat content lasting a maximum of 24 hours, brands don’t have to worry about wear-out. The app has over 100 million daily active Snapchatters and this number is constantly growing. Look to Snapchat if your goal is to offer an interactive brand experience that’s more memorable than it is irritating.

Offer conversation instead of a sales pitch.

Up to 84% of Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. This isn’t to say that print, radio, TV and other traditional forms of media no longer have a purpose, but large corporations impersonally pushing products on a broad audience doesn’t exactly come across as sincere to Millennials. Facebook and Twitter are unique platforms that allow brands to respond to consumer questions, feedback, and even criticism.

Taco Bell got it right.

One brand that has mastered the art of social media dialogue is Taco Bell. They’ve brought their fun and quirky brand personality to Twitter and use the site to interact with tweets directed at the company. The brand has even participated in comical Twitter feuds involving various brands such as Old Spice and White Castle for all of its followers to see. This not only allows the company to display its likeable personality, but also adds a humanlike quality that followers can relate to.

So did Lay’s.

Another example is the engaging Flavor Swap campaign by Lay’s. The brand allowed customers to vote online between four flavor matchups. A newly introduced flavor was paired with an existing Lay’s flavor and the flavor with the most votes stayed in production. The links to the Flavor Swap microsite were shared across the brand’s social accounts and allowed Lay’s to discuss which brands were the most popular among its followers. Creating a dialogue on social media offers brands a cost-effective and engaging opportunity to connect with millions of followers.

Three tips to reach a Millennial audience.

Successfully navigating Millennial waters can seem like a daunting task. But here are three insights that should help. Remember to: (1) utilize the most recent and popular social platforms to showcase your brand in a highly affordable manner (2) frame your pitch as an activation rather than a call to action (3) allow Millennials to feel in control and give them the option to view your content, rather than telling them what to do. Instead of trying to sell the car, offer the test drive. More often than not, we’ll hop in for the ride.


7820283Karl Langhans

Karl is a recent advertising graduate of Michigan State University and currently resides in Chicago. Besides writing copy, his interests include hockey, reading, weight training and traveling. He believes that understanding a brand’s unique personality is the key to creating quality content. Click here to find out more.


Michele Allen

With over 30 years of design and marketing experience, I founded Crux in 2005, a 360° Creative and Marketing Agency, catering to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and non-profits. Specializing in experiential spaces, museums, brand development, and digital marketing, I excel in crafting memorable experiences while emphasizing the significance of authentic brand communication. I offer expertise in Brand Development, Trade Show Exhibits, Museums, Corporate Spaces, Interactives & VR/AR, and Digital Marketing, committed to tailored support and guidance.