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Francisco Salvador
By: fsalvador
Read in 12 minutes

Marketing to millennials: The best way to attract Gen Y

If you are concerned about how your business can attract new customers, maybe you should look towards “millennials.” But to market to millennials, you need specific marketing tactics.


They are not the easiest of customers and dislike traditional slowness and seek a more agile interaction with brands. I know them well; most of my coworkers are millennials, as well as the majority of people in the technological sector (where I work).

Who are millennials?

There is no consensus as to the specific period when the millennial generation began and ended. But as a rule of thumb, think about people born between the mid-80s and the mid-90s. The Pew Research Center considers them as whoever was born between 1981 and 1996.

They are also called Generation Y and are usually the children of baby boomers.

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Individualists more than “herd,” but with strong social convictions, they tend to be social media users. They are also very sensitive to the opinion of their communities (or of people or professionals who they consider referents)

Millennials rebel to antiquated companies that stayed in the past century, as well as traditional banks. They are massive users of online banking.

Fundamentally, they don’t follow anyone: you’ll have to conquer them. They are authentic, and they show it. 

What Makes Millennials Different?

You need specific strategies and tactics when marketing to millennials. 

Millennials are the second-largest generation in the US after babyboomers. They have great purchase power, use that to your advantage.

But what makes them different?

  • They don’t merely want to “buy.” They want to have a shopping experience.
  • Millennials are very active in social networks.
  • They’re immune to advertising… unless that advertising has to do with some previous experience good for them.
  • With attentive customer service, you can make them happy.
  • They use digital communication channels. 
  • Millennials very well regard the user-generated content. They like to feel involved in brand building.
  • They generously share satisfactory experiences with their peers, but they also don’t skimp on details and criticism if the experience has been bad.

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Marketing to Millennials: the Best 7 Tactics and Strategies

As a small business owner, don’t think about big budgets. You can have a significant impact on sales with modest (or sometimes even free) marketing.

  1. Don’t be old-fashioned: use inbound marketing

To give these to Millennials, try inbound marketing. But what does this mean?

This marketing technique is completely different from what publicity used to be. Before, sellers used to be persistent and way too salesy. If you use that approach today, you will lose potential customers.

Now, millennials expect to receive publicity indirectly. Instead of ads, they want blog posts, social media interaction, SEO, etc. In short: a less intrusive approach that gives them something of value (like tips, instructive videos, etc.)

What to do: Try not to drown your clients with ads. Instead, be active in social networks and interact with them.

Also, offer quality content, promotions, contests, discounts linked to loyalty, and other incentives (through your blog, social networks, or by mail). That way, they will become your ambassadors.

  1. Social media is your ally

If you want to find millennials, go where they are: social networks. As we mentioned in our previous tactic, the importance of social platforms is undeniable. They need to be an essential part of your marketing efforts.

But how can you manage Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to attract customers?

Well, you need to show your authentic side. Remember not to be overly pushy when trying to sell, show the human side of your business, and have a warm and friendly approach. That’s what millennials want to see.

What to do: One great way to do this is by sharing live videos where you share important news, you showcase an event that is happening at your business, or anything that you can imagine. Think of it as updates you’d give a friend (because on social platforms, that’s how you need to think of your customers, as friends that are interested in your business).

You could also collaborate with influencers. Influencers are people that have thousands of followers online; thus, they have a certain influence over people (hence their name). That’s what they can be powerful spokespeople for your small business. This might be a little complex to do, but it’s definitely worth it. Remember to make sure their values ​​and yours are aligned.

  1. Show them your most attractive side: web design

Your website is more critical than it ever was. People from Gen Y do everything online (and when I say ‘everything,’ I mean everything). From looking at the latest information on their favorite artists to buying food and gadgets, the internet is the new hub for anything everyone needs. That’s why you need an eye-catching website that attracts customers.

And that’s not the only thing you need to pay attention to. It also needs to be easy to use, ‘cos if it’s not, millennials will leave in a blink. Functionality also includes making sure that it is mobile-optimized: this means users will be able to see it on a laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet, and that it’ll still look beautiful and will be easy to use.

What to do: Invest in making an interesting, visually attractive, and usable website that has all the information a potential customer could need. And don’t forget to make it as real and honest as you can.

  1. Your clients should be your priority: customer support

“Millennials value businesses that value them.”

That’s a very apt way of describing the relationship this group has with companies. And it’s what you should use as a foundation for your relationship with them.

Don’t be one of the businesses that focus on getting new customers, but they don’t care about strengthening their relationship with current ones. When marketing to millennials, you can’t make that mistake. If you work on having a good relationship with them, they will become loyal buyers for life.

What to do: Listen to them and nurture the relationship you have, don’t treat them just as numbers, but as people that support your business. There are many ways in which you can do this.

For example, you could get acquainted with all types of payment methods and ask your clients which ones they like better.

That way, they’ll know you care about their convenience and will likely choose you over another business that just offers one payment method.

  1. Showcase the real you: the power of honesty

When it comes to marketing to millennials, you need to be different from the competition. If you’re a faceless company, they might just go to your competitors. While giving your business a personality and a face might involve time and other resources, it will improve how people perceive your business: like something authentic and inspiring.

This will also help you differentiate yourself from your competition and to create a community of like-minded individuals.

What to do: As we said, one of the easiest ways of doing this is to be honest and friendly (online and in real life). Let everyone know what makes you different and better (without bragging, of course).

Does your business supports social causes or community improvements? You could also let your customers know about it. Millennials like purchasing at stores that support causes they believe in.

  1. Try to be better

If you involve millennials in the daily improvement of your business, they will appreciate it and keep buying your products or services. Try listening to them and understanding what they want and need.

What to do: You can learn what they think of your business (or what you could improve) by asking them directly or by asking them to leave reviews on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.

When you hear or read these reviews, thank the positive comments (you could even give them a discount for their next purchase). And when it comes to negative reviews, always answer them and offer solutions (whether you agree with the comment or not, be respectful even if they are not with you).

Always try to find a solution if there’s a problem, and (when the suggestions make sense), make the needed changes to your store, products, or processes.

They are proactive when leaving comments and complaints. Remember, if you listen to them and make the suggested improvements, they will become loyal and powerful allies to lower cost, improve quality, and refine your service. Keep in mind; they know your competition and products better than anyone, so rely on that knowledge and shopping experience.

  1. Don’t treat all your customers the same way: segment

Not everyone responds to the same marketing patterns. Take your time to meet your customers and to address the different segments in the most personalized way possible.

Millennials don’t bat an eye with generic messages, so you must make publicity that speaks directly to them. (Hint: use all the techniques above to personalize your marketing!)

What to do: Now, segmentation might be a strange concept, especially if you haven’t done too much online marketing. The gist of it is that online ads let you choose who will see the advertisement. For example, you can create an advertisement for women’s tops that only women in a certain age demographic will see. Or only clients that like Latin food will see your ad for your Mexican restaurant.

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Make All Generations Fall in Love With Your Brand

As you see, millennials are a complex challenge as customers. But they are also faithful if you cater to their likes and needs. Millennials will be ambassadors to your brand, they will suggest improvements, and they will be part of your business’ community.

Finally, if you don’t have too many resources to invest in marketing to millennials, there are always solutions.  Learn about a practical and creative way to market to your customers. We invite you to keep reading:

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What is guerrilla marketing?

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