blog header image

Three Principles to Follow When Marketing to Millennials

Chris Sullivan

April 25, 2016
Chris Sullivan

“Your job as a marketer is to put out an idea worth talking about. That’s marketing. When a real person repeats it, that’s word of mouth marketing.”

-Andy Sernovitz, socialmedia.org

Lately, I’ve noticed that many brands have started to lose their marketing focus when trying to reach the coveted millennial market. Their focus has shifted from providing consistent messaging that comes out of a brand’s core values and benefits to social media-based tactics that are superficial in nature, existing only to drive likes and shares.

Ironically, these tactics, which are meant to attract millennials, are actually pushing them away. In order to market effectively to millennials, keep the following in mind:

  1. Be Real. Millennials will repeat (share, comment, like, etc.) stories, content and more through more media channels. But to win them over, you need to put out an idea worth talking about that is true to your company’s core values and brand idea. To reach millennials, authenticity is key. We live in the era where the collective information of our entire history is at our fingertips. People cannot hide and brands cannot lie. Volkswagon, which for decades had successfully reached the younger generation, is literally and figuratively paying the price for not being real. On the other end, real, compelling and people-driven stories have attracted millions of customers to brands like REI and Trade Joe’s.
  1. Be Purposeful. Millennials are a mission-driven generation. They are attracted to brands, organizations and companies that are purposeful in their corporate mission. Brands like TOMS make a profit and also make a difference. In fact, you can even have a beer and change the world if you’re at the right pub. Challenge your people (or people, challenge your leadership team) to find and support a common good that can unite your brand with your audience.
  1. Be Empathetic. The rise of the recognition of emotional intelligence gives brands the ammunition they need to connect with people on a deeper, more human level. Ultimately, brands act as a gateway between people that have connected over a commonly agreed upon idea. Listening and open dialogue can be two of the most powerful customer service tools. Great customer service is something worth sharing.