Marketing to Millennials

Four of ten have a tattoo. They are in their early 30’s. The millennials are here.

Lisa Schmidt

Born after 1980, millennials now outnumber baby boomers and Gen X. Tattoo appreciating, often sleeping with their cellphone, yet open and accepting of elder generations’ oddities, this is America’s largest population group. This group is one to be reckoned for marketers: they make up 60 percent of the 18- to 49-year-old demographic. In a media conversation such as, “will my marketing even be noticed?” millennials are one of the most important demographics. It is a conversation about how to survive the future in consideration of marketing strategies.

Recently described as “television-viewing-fan-tweeting-app-using-blog-discussing-text-chatting-mobile-watching consumers” by Nielsen [television media], this group often engages in multitasking on multiple screens and on various social media platforms. This is important in developing your messaging, message architecture and platform as it determines which perspectives you choose to appeal to this group while holding onto the traditional baby boomers. Marketers are having the discussion about how to morph content to expand beyond the baby boomer generation or risk losing the millennial generation as an audience.

In the business world, messaging is a critical tool for marketing communications whether internal or external. Building a message to include the next generation of consumers and employees means adding some reality as well as spontaneity to morph greater attraction of this group. This group is not easily offended by the kinds of things that older viewers would have been offended in seeing. That said, millennials relate to ethnically and racially-diverse relationships that include the non-traditional family and circle of friends. They expect diversity.

Getting a millennial to read, see and process your message becomes about how you say it, where you say it and how you allow interaction with the message. The interaction can become a challenge for marketers in expanding reach from traditional audiences to include this group. Social media is a driver, but the conversation must continue in a way that is meaningful in experience. Sometimes that means including a “time” factor for the experience.

Given that millennials are bigger than boomers, marketers should consider how to deliver experience since there is considerable clout and buying power coming as they age. Here’s how I approach creating the marketing experience:

I refer to marketing experience as all of the business activities you perform to create a perceived equal-value exchange by

(1) finding out who your customers are and what or how they want to “feel”; (2) interpreting what customers understand as important and improving the experience or creating a new one; and (3) creating strategies to facilitate the marketing experience.

Promotion of the four p’s in marketing [product, place, price and promotion] is where I believe the greatest opportunity exists for creating the experiences that is so valued by the millennials. Elements of promotion include personal selling, advertising, public relations, sales promotions and collateral. Collateral includes booklets, catalogs, brochures, films, tradeshow exhibits, sales kits and point of purchase displays.

Start the conversation, which may or may not include social media, and discover whether your customers’ value having something inexpensive that they can change out or something that costs a little more but lasts a long time. You may discover that you already have attracted the millennials.

Don’t take a bath when it comes to marketing. Get marketing to the millennials.

Lisa! Schmidt is a marketing advisor. She can be reached at or 360.635.7321