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3 Reasons Millennials Hate You (And Your Advertising): A Guide to Millennial Marketing

Millennials. We are the generation on nearly every brand’s hit list, and for good reason. There are currently about 80 million millennials in the U.S. That’s nearly a quarter of the total population (CHA-CHING). We get why we’re the focus of your advertising efforts. But you should know that we see right through your overly trendy tactics. So consider this a helpful hint from the inside: a millennial, who works in advertising, telling you what works and what doesn’t in millennial marketing.

Millennial Marketing Rule 1: Be yourself

It’s what we’ve been taught since grade school, and it should be lesson 1 for millennial marketing 101. Why? Because we can sense insincerity. Think of it as the millennial superpower. As a rule, genuine, natural content works best. That’s how you’ll gain our trust. Putting on a new hat every few months in order to be on top of trends will come off as phony. Also note: reinventing yourself is fine, but pretending to be something you’re not for the sake of fitting in isn’t. Calling your product “bae” or throwing in a #hashtag for no reason will make you look like that weird uncle who is newly single and trying to be hip. #PleaseStop

Rule 2: Stand for something

Great logo. Cool font. No cause?! Millennials are looking to spend their money, but they want to know that they aren’t just being mindless consumers. There are so many brands out there right now that are using their position for good – and that makes it easy to choose them. Why would I buy a roll of regular paper towels when I know that for the same price, I can buy one that’s made from 100% recycled paper? I wouldn’t. Your brand needs to have something that makes it the simple choice, the preferred choice. And claiming you’re “the best” doesn’t cut it. Millennials are conscious shoppers; they want to help their community, their country, and the world in whatever way we can.

Rule 3: Understand social media

We’ve grown up with ad after ad being shoved down our throat, whether on TV or the radio, so it’s not like we’re surprised that you’re on social media. It’s fine really. But we could care less about your message UNLESS it has a purpose. Curating your brand on Facebook or Instagram to be meaningful will build brand trust in the eyes of millennials, and then when we see your relevant ad it will feel genuine. This group of people you’re trying to reach isn’t necessarily going to your page to get coupons or a sale—they’re going to see what you’ve been up to, what your brand is about. Use this to your advantage because, frankly, you’re being judged. Once we’ve deemed you “worthy”, then we can talk shopping.

This advice seems fairly simple, but some of this stuff is easier said than done. Do the research. Find a partner. Crack those Millennial babies. And have fun!

*Bonus tip*

Go big or go home. You want to go viral? It won’t happen from copying something that worked for someone else one other time. Break new ground and come up with something incredibly different and impossible not talk about. That’s what Millennials want. ✌️?


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