Millennial Marketing

A hot topic of conversation over the last decade or so has been about our beloved/not-so-beloved Millennial generation. Regardless of your stance on Millennials, it pays to know how the nation’s largest living generation thinks, especially if you are trying to get them to swipe right on your product.

I’m Katie Kupser, Account Service Coordinator and proud resident Millennial* at Pearl Brands, and I’ve gathered some insights into our underrated generation to help you market to them more effectively.

Note: If you aren’t fluent in Millennial and need help translating the words or phrases in italics, I’ve provided a glossary below the blog. Be warned some of these words even make us SMH.

Let’s Get to Know Each Other

If you’re not speaking the same language, you’ll never get Millennials to buy your product. When it comes to grabbing our attention, it helps to keep in mind that we’ve been pushed to buy, buy, buy (raise your hand if you just sang “Bye, Bye, Bye” in your head) our entire lives.

Although we aren’t true digital natives, the internet went live in 1991, which was smack dab in the middle of our childhood. Most of us are old enough to remember the day our parents brought home our first desktop computer. Much like how our grandparents remember their first TV set.

As we got older, a constant flow of new technology right at our fingertips meant we were exposed to more marketing than any other generation before. Increased connectivity started taking over and it was only a matter of time before ad messages started going in one ear and out the other. I mean, who can really retain all of that information at once? #thestruggleisreal

Speaking of retaining information, we claim to be the kweens of multitasking, but is what we are seeing actually sticking? We may be fully aware what is going on around us but being able to recall it is a different story. When we watch commercials on TV, our attention is divided because we’ve pulled out our phones, tablets or are doing something else until our borderline obsessive binge-watching can continue. Shockingly enough, only 2% of millennials channel surf, which means the chances are pretty high that if your TV ad is compelling enough to grab our attention, we might just look up from Instagram to watch it. This challenge exists across all advertising media, so your message has to stand out.

Buying Habits

Millennials have an immense spending power of over $200 billion annually. We’re even predicted to spend over $10 trillion in our collective lifetimes. We purchase goods or services in different ways and for different reasons than any other generation. Here are some of our buying habits to highlight how we make purchases, why we decide to buy and who we buy it from.

Unlike the 57% of people over age 35 (some of whom refer to themselves as Xillennials) that said they feel like desktop computers are more reliable for making purchases, booking appointments, requesting reservations, etc., most Millennials actually don’t second-guess the information they find on their phones.  

We regularly turn to social media seeking our friends’ recommendations because we personally know and trust them. Even if 100 people gave your restaurant five stars on TripAdvisor, we most likely won’t be interested if our best friend had a poor experience.

We want to buy from companies who are woke. We prefer brands with some sort of demonstration of corporate responsibility and will pay a slightly higher price for a product if we know that part of that money is supporting a good cause. We feel better buying from (and working for) companies with ‘green’ offices or whose employees volunteer together.

So, What Can You Do?

Knowing what motivates Millennials, how can you change your current strategies to catch their attention? Here are two simple initiatives your business can start right away.

Hard selling and its sharp urgency doesn’t work on us and, quite frankly, hasn’t been very successful since before the Great Depression. When you try to hard sell us, we think you’re thirsty. To soft sell a Millennial, a tried and true strategy is to collaborate with an influencer on social media. We’re more trusting when our favorite blogger posts a tutorial about a new product than when we see an ad for it in a magazine.

It’s important to us that companies respond to our questions and comments on social media. A generic reply won’t cut it, so make sure the replies are from real, genuine people who are determined to help us out. Jason Dorsey, Chief Strategy Officer at the Center for Generation Kinetics sums it up perfectly: “How you handle online interactions – not necessarily achieving resolution, but the approach – can have a big impact on attracting future customers.”

We’re All Just Trying to Live Our Best Lives

Us Millennials are really just trying to live our best lives while doing good for others. If buying into your brand can help us achieve that, then you’re already one step ahead of the game. It’s also important to note that we’ve got a great eye for a failed attempt at Millennial speak, so always entrust your marketing message to experts like Pearl Brands.


Swipe right (verb): To accept interest from someone on Tinder.

SMH (verb): Shaking my head. Used when someone finds something so stupid, no words can do it justice.

 “Bye, Bye, Bye” (noun): Popular song by N*SYNC from their 2000 studio album No Strings Attached.

Kween (noun): Possessing all the attributes of a queen, with added sass.  

#thestruggleisreal (noun): A situation where someone is expressing undesirable difficulty, but are dealing with it through irony or in a comedic fashion.

Binge-watching (verb): Watching every episode of a TV show in a single viewing while often sacrificing sleep to do so.

Xillennial (noun): People who were born somewhere between when Generation X ended and Millennials started, but don’t really fit into either category.

Woke (adj): Having an awareness of current affairs.

Thirsty (adj): Too eager to get something, or desperate.

Live our best lives (verb): A statement used to justify one’s actions, either sincerely or ironically.


*4/7 Pearl Brands team members technically qualify as Millennials, but Katie is the only one who gets picked on for it.

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