Close, But No Cigar: Why You Are Struggling To Reach Millennials

Millennials are a dominant consumer group, but reaching and retaining them effectively is a tough task.

Do any of your campaign goals include growing a substantial millennial audience around your product or service?

I previously worked for a digital marketing agency with a client that had this same, albeit general, goal. As big as this client was, that was as specific as they got about attracting their new demo. Most sales were offline, purchases were also made by a relatively older age group. Yet, this client saw the value in marketing to Millennials. But how to approach this new demo was the question on everyone’s mind.


“There are roughly 80 million Millennials in the United States alone, and each year they spend approximately $600 billion.”


Often, the very people driving your product or marketing your wares think of millennials as a different breed. I think of them as a younger demographic with different consumer behavior. Sure! Millennials are notorious for being avid connoisseurs of social trends, but they differ most in how they consume information.

“There are roughly 80 million Millennials in the United States alone, and each year they spend approximately $600 billion,” according to Accenture. This alone makes them more than a respectable consumer audience. But capturing the minds of Millennials and converting sales and building brand loyalty goes beyond social media and traditional advertising.

Here are a few ways to consider when you’re looking to build a larger millennial audience:


1. Make the experience enjoyable.

Convenience is key. Millennials are the epitome of the digital age where everything is on-demand. With that said, their world has become surprisingly convenient and that translates into every business interaction.

Think about brands like Seamless who revolutionized the food delivery industry by allowing you to shop through local menus and order without ever having to make a call. Uber, everyone’s private driver, is similar in the way that it allows you to order a ride within seconds and track the real-time arrival status.

Your business could efficiently solve an innate problem, but if the user experience (UX) isn’t enjoyable or convenient it will keep customers from returning, especially millennials.


Photo: © berc, YFS Magazine
Photo: © berc, YFS Magazine

To meet this need, seek to reduce unnecessary steps in the process, create a platform that’s simple to understand and make information easily available. UX includes the practical, experiential, meaningful and valuable aspects of interaction and product ownership. It isn’t just a factor when it comes to mobile apps, either. Making your brand experience more enjoyable breeds more engagement, a consistent following, and improved conversions.


2. Know the audience of marketing platforms.

One of the more sustainable trends of the past decade was the evolution of social media networks. However, as this industry continues to develop, each community has grown to meet the needs of different audiences and communication needs.

Knowing which type of content works where and how to build relationships through preferred social platforms has a direct impact on the growth of your millennial audience.

Generally speaking, each social network speaks to a different crowd with distinctly unique benefits.

  • For instance, Twitter has become a notable news source and is a great way to relay information or push traffic to sites. Producing shareable and trending content is a great way to gain exposure, which is why memes and gifs are so effective here.

    You can “uncover when a topic is trending on Twitter, and correlate that with highly converting content from your site” and then “effectively link marketing channels” by using keywords and topics to tweet, optimize [them] for trends, and drive cross-channel conversions,” according to content marketing firm, BrightEdge. Twitter does it’s job on the back-end with analytics to help you understand what’s working.

  • Meanwhile, Facebook’s link preview is great tool to push your audience outbound to landing pages because they can see if they’re interested even before leaving the site. Yet, Facebook’s audience network growth is clearly their biggest selling point when you’re ready to tap into the millennial market. Facebook’s highly in-depth targeting presents a great way to expand your brand to a specific audience. Even Instagram funnels ads through Facebook’s ad network.

  • LinkedIn and Google+ offer more a professional audience with beneficial community groups. These platforms also rank well on Google which is a great way to capture site traffic. “Google+ content itself — meaning content you post to your page — can rank in search results in instances where your website may not (Marketing Land).”

Knowing the separation of audiences will help you determine how to distribute content depending on the platform.


3. Cultivate consumer to consumer interaction.

We find comfortability in things we’re familiar with and millennial consumers are a prime example of this ideal in action. Resonating with your audience could be final piece toward gaining millennial traction.

This is why it’s important to choose the right verbiage and tone on social media, email newsletters, and customer touchpoints. We don’t want to feel like we’re being sold. Traditional advertising copy doesn’t establish a great deal of trust between brands and younger demographics.

Personal interaction and real customer engagement goes a long way. Capitalize on this via your social networks and customer service activities. Address Millennials as individuals rather than needles in the haystack.

Ultimately, the best way to resonate with Millennials is to cultivate consumer to consumer interaction. According to Social Chorus, 95 percent of millennials in the US, friends are the most credible source of product information.


Millennials are a dominant consumer group, but reaching and retaining them effectively is a tough task. When seeking to reach a younger demo, focus on making their experience enjoyable, knowing platform-specific demands and speaking their language. These three things are essential when building a bigger millennial audience.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Dennis Williams is a founding member of Bando, a mobile news platform delivering real-time news for the urban culture. He is the former Head of Marketing at VideoInk, a New York on Tech mentor and has extensive experience working in digital marketing and content in the startup community. Connect with @thebandoapp on Twitter.


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