3 Tips For Marketing to the Millennials; Brand Innovators Recap


BIIf your brand isn’t concerned with millennials, something probably needs to change. As was pointed out at last week’s Brand Innovators Summit on Mobile & Millennials, millennials are the fastest growing generation on the planet and over the next 5 years, they’ll have more purchasing power than any other generation. That’s huge.

I had the pleasure of both moderating a great panel and tuning in to other panels at last week’s Brand Innovators Summit. What became clear is that brand marketers are gaining clarity about who millennials are and what they’re all about, but reaching them with social and digital campaigns is still like taking a big leap of faith. If you’re in the same boat, here are 3 key takeaways about marketing to the digital native generation.


Millennials are astute at scoping out inauthentic brand campaigns. Having grown up with access to the internet, millennials have more easily been able to search out the truth. Transparency is critical to them and they can sniff out a phony with ease. Add to that, they’re not afraid to be vocal about their opinions and they do so at the speed of share. Given that, be sure that your brand’s campaign is authentic and backed by your brand’s promise. Don’t go green or pink just for the sake of it. If there’s not a social good tie-in with your brand, don’t risk hopping aboard the in vogue train. Be real. If not, good luck appealing to them.


Millennials often get a bad rap for being too technologically tuned in and too interpersonally tuned out. Not true. Technology is the new interpersonal realm for millennials. It’s imperative to remember that each generation is not so wildly different from the others. More than anything, it’s the context that creates a difference. Matt Cardwell, Director of Social Media at Quicken Loans, noted that when he was younger, he spent evenings reading random passages in dense encyclopedias. Now, decades later, he spends his evening hours reading random entries in Wikipedia. The function and the behavior are exactly the same, it’s the form and context that are different.

So, is it so weird that millennials fall asleep in front of their phones? When their phones are also their bookshelves, their magazines, and their TV? Not really. When creating a campaign, remember that all behavior is human and context is what makes it look different. If you view it through that lens, it’s a little less scary to test out content and programs aimed at millennials.


Marketing to millennials consumes time and expenses. It can be a scary investment for brand marketers. You’ll likely need to get buy-in from higher ups and while you’ll have some data at your helm, some of what you need to do is just take a bold leap of faith. Craig Daitch, Senior Manager, Social Media, and Annalisa Esposito-Bluhm, Communications Manager at Chevrolet, both attested to the fact that at the end of the day, they may not have been able to explain why their #ChevyGoesEmoji Press Release was going to succeed but they had a hunch and they had to give it a go. Luckily, the campaign was a success but even when your campaign doesn’t succeed, it’s not the end of the world. This is still pretty new territory. To gain traction, you’ll have to learn from mistakes. So, if your campaign fails, make sure your marketing team and partner agencies are failing forward and gaining insights for the next iteration.

What tips do you have for marketers struggling to get in front of their millennial audience? tell us in the comments below.

Brand Innovators

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