3 minute read

They’re 80 million strong, and you can bet they’re a big force behind all the Amazon Prime packages showing up on people’s front porches this week. Millennials make up the largest living generation in the United States—nearly one fourth of the entire population. And considering this generation has an annual buying power of approximately $200 billion, brands have been taking notice and scrambling to figure out how to tap into this young market.

Just remember: Gen Y isn’t like the generations that came before it.

According to Pew Research Center, the term Millennial refers to anyone born between 1981 and 1996, meaning Generation Y came of age at the same time technology really burst onto the scene with some big, life-changing advances. This makes Millennials unique from all other generations, which can create some marketing challenges. But they’re certainly not untouchable. You just need to know where to find them and what resonates with them. In other words, be relevant.

Here are five ways to do that.

Go online.

As the generation that grew up with technology, Millennials have an affinity for online marketing. According to AdAge, Generation Y spends an average of 25 hours online each week, and 91% are regular internet users. Be sure your website, social media profiles and email marketing strategies are up to snuff and ready for engagement with this mostly tech-savvy bunch.

Keep it minimal.

Minimalism is always a good choice when it comes to marketing to Millennials. Having grown up within a fast-paced, technological world, Millennials want a brand to capture their attention immediately and get to the point, without a lot of pomp and circumstance. For instance, consider a brand like Google. There’s nothing flashy about their branding or marketing, yet Gen Y eats, breathes and lives Google products. Focus on a clean, minimal design in your branding to appeal to Millennials.

Be authentic.

Millennials crave content-driven media. They comb through websites, blogs and social media posts to share information that imparts a sense of empowerment. And the type that resonates most with Millennials is the stuff they find authentic. According to Forbes, 43% of Millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming information. This means Gen Y has to trust a brand before they buy, so focus on sincere authenticity in your marketing messages.

Disrupt the market.

Generation Y is always in favor of the faster, smarter, more efficient option—the one that disrupts the market. For instance, take a look at Uber and Airbnb, two companies that cut out the hassle or helped save money (waiting for a cab/paying extra for a hotel) and put power in the people’s hands by disrupting the entire market. Look at what experience, product or service you offer and consider the type of disruption you can make.

Take a stand.

Gone are the days of neutrality in marketing. While older generations may have preferred businesses that “stayed out of politics,” Gen Y could not be more on board with brands that take a stand. They want to know what a business believes and what the brand stands for. When you stay silent, you even risk appearing tone-deaf or dated. Whenever appropriate, communicate your stance on issues that appeal to Millennials.

Generation Y offers a massive audience to tap into. Just be sure you know how to capture their attention–and their hearts.