How to Market to Millenials: 5 Brands Who Are Doing it Right

By Sara Behrendt, Creative Director

June 7, 2021

Oh the millennial. That elusive, magical creature that all marketers strive to catch. Those snapchat-loving, socially-conscious, entrepreneurial youngsters. You gotta love them. Oh, wait, I am one.

While the term millennial” has earned a place in the marketing buzzword hall of fame, it’s not without reason. We are a huge generation of roughly 80 million people in the U.S. alone who spend close to $600 billion each year. We grew up in the age of the digital revolution; we saw technology grow and shift quickly and we’ve learned to embrace that spirit.

We are young but diverse. The Millennial Generation are those born roughly between 1981 and 1997 which means anyone between the ages of about 21 to 37. That’s a wide range from anyone just finishing college, to parents well into their careers with kids.

Millennials have thrown marketers for a loop because we don’t respond to traditional advertising like previous generations did. We simply don’t trust it.

“Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, who happen to be strangers, than advertisements and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.”

Hubspot

While this is a major shift for marketers, it’s also an enormous opportunity for brands to expand their marketing strategy to a broader, more diverse model.

In this article, I’ll take a look at brands who are getting it right, brands who have found a way to make each of us feel like the unique snowflakes that we are, brands who in return have gained a loyal and devoted customer base excited to be evangelists, and spreading the word about the products and services they love best.

Let’s jump in.

1. Create an experience that encourages Millennials to participate & share their unique perspective | La Croix

Millennials love to participate. How do you think we got all those participation trophies?! We believe our viewpoints and opinions are just as important as anyone else’s at the table and we want to be heard. A great way to do that is to recognize the unique way we use your product after we buy it. If you’re a brand that we love and you give us a chance to be a part of that brand zeitgeist, we’ll run with it.

La Croix is doing a great job encouraging customers to tag their Instagram photos with #lacroix by making customer photos a primary part of their feed.

When you scroll through La Croix’s Instagram feed, more than 50% of their content comes from loyal La Croix drinkers who love the sparkling water enough to share about it. Each photo shows off that customer’s personality but they all fit into the La Croix brand story.

La Croix doesn’t let these posts sit idle. They share these fan photos, give that fan their 5 minutes of fame and make our voices heard.

Like mine! Below.

2. Offer a product that fulfills a Millennial’s desire for a customizable, adventurous experience | Birchbox

Millennials want to be treated as individuals. Offering a service that is custom to our specific wants and needs is sure to get our attention.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription of beauty samples personalized to you based on your skin and hair type, beauty concern and style. Their design is beautiful, they have a no commitments attitude and the boxes are delivered to you.

There are a ton of subscription based services, but Birchbox goes beyond by offering customization, and makes finding new beauty products fun and easy.

Best of all, they’ve found a way to create an adventure mindset around beauty supplies.

69% of millennials say they crave adventure and this goes beyond hiking Machu Picchu. We want to bring adventure into our daily lives and Birchbox makes that possible in an easy and fun way.

Each month you receive a beautifully designed box with different samples picked for you. You never know exactly what you’re going to get, bringing spontaneity and intrigue into the everyday.

3. Give Millennials the chance to live the brand story | Starbucks #PSL& the Orange Sleeve Society

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is more than a drink — it’s the embodiment of a lifestyle, a mindset, an entire season.

Starbucks doesn’t need to tell customers to take pictures of their Pumpkin Spice Lattes clad in sweaters and share them. We’re already doing that on our own. And we want more.

A couple of years ago, Starbucks created the Orange Sleeve Society. As a member of the Orange Sleeve Society, you receive an orange knit coffee sleeve embroidered with Team PSL”, welcoming you to embrace your inner Pumpkin.

It was a genius move by Starbucks to take loyal Pumpkin Spice Latte fans and welcome them in deeper, to be a part of the Pumpkin Spice lifestyle, to be in the club, to be a brand-loyal superfan. Exclusivity is flattering… and something you want to share. And people have been clamouring to join in since.

4. Let customers be involved in developing your product line | Betabrand

We know millennials like to participate, share their perspective and be heard. Betabrand has taken these concepts to the next step by encouraging their customers to help develop their products.

Betabrand is an online clothing company where fans co-design, vote, comment and then crowdfund the best clothing and accessory ideas.

This genius model gets fans engaged and invested in a product from the very start. They are able to comment on any changes they would like to see, talk with the designer themselves, and show their enthusiasm when an idea knocks it out of the park. By the time a product is manufactured and shipped, the fan is so invested in the process that they’re much more likely to spread the word.

Since 89% of millennials trust family & friend’s recommendations more than claims by a brand, this model seems to have a lot of upside.

Plus they offer dress pant yoga pants. Yes. Dress pants… that feel like yoga pants. Clearly they know how to make a product that millennials can get behind.

5. Create a product or service that is convenient for Millennials | LOLA Tampons

Alright ladies. Time to talk periods. Menfolk… hi.

There’s nothing worse than realizing you were the idiot who forgot to buy more tampons. And we all know the struggle when you’re standing in Target deciding: Should I buy 1 pack of regulars and 1 light? Just the multi-pack? How many of these boxes of these things do I really need??!”

LOLA feels your feels. They have taken a somewhat annoying task and turned it into a helpful, convenient experience. LOLA is a subscription-based service delivering 100% organic, cotton tampons in the exact assortment you want, so you get the precise number of lights, regulars and supers for your unique flow.

Millennials (and probably all women) will appreciate this service. LOLA simply pinpointed all the small nuisances women feel about their periods and fixed them.

In addition to being convenient and personalized, LOLA is transparent about their materials, offers the ability to cancel at any time, and has created a lifestyle brand around their product beyond simply selling tampons that encourages customers to follow and engage with their social accounts. All these elements combine to make them a brand and service that lady millennials are bound to love.

So, what’s the takeaway?

What all these brands have in common is their commitment to making amazing products and encouraging their customers to spread the word. They know that tapping into millennials will help them grow their revenue, because:

We’re loyal.
60% of millennials said that they are often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase.

We share what we love.
90% of millennials will share their brand preferences online.

We’ll see you on social.
38% of millennials said brands are more accessible and trustworthy when they use social rather than traditional advertising.

We listen to peers.
93% of millennials have purchased a product after hearing about it from a family member or friend.

Given the high loyalty and engaged nature of millennials, targeting this younger generation is a must.