Are Millennials Changing the Face of Marketing?


Millennials are those who were born between approximately 1980 and 2004.  Most millennials are at the beginning or middle stages of the major milestones of life- jobs, houses, marriages, and kids-but are doing these significantly later later in life. The way they approach their purchasing power is very different from previous generations.  They will delay spending on ‘typical’ major life items, and tend to spend more on experiences and travel.  They are consistently looking for convenience over These spending habits have changed the way some companies are choosing to market their products.


Millennials are the largest and most diverse population in the United States.  They make up approximately 1/3 of the population.  Therefore, not choosing to market to this group, is leaving out a huge potential of sales.  It is also avoiding a group whose purchasing power will soon be a majority of the economy.


There are several companies who have been coined with successfully marketing to this new generation.  ZipCar, Spotify, and AirBnB have all been shown successful marketing to millennials.  These companies emphasize a sharing mentality that has proved successful among this population.  They also are convenient- millennials do not need to pick up a phone to use these services, they can easily do them online or through an app.  Millennials are used to having items immediately at their disposal.  They are the first generation to grow up using technology, and therefore, are used to immediate services.  Products or services that require a phone call or extra work will continue to lose to convenience and strong IT platforms, that allow these customers to access what they want quickly.  2614344601_b5443af912_n

Other companies will need to follow similar formats to these successful examples. Millennials, more and more, are purchasing products online.  Millennials also spend the majority of their time online-therefore, marketing for these groups should start online.



Millennials’ purchases are influenced differently than generations passed.  Typical outbound marketing techniques, are easily ignored by millennials.  This group has grown-up learning how to put up pop-up blockers and get on do not call lists.  Traditional cold-calling methods are less effective than ever before on this population.

In-bound marketing techniques, that demonstrate the product’s use have shown to be extremely effective.  Some examples include the Ford Fiesta Movement and Clinique.  Clinique has a YouTube channel where consumers can see videos on how to apply different products, and how they work on different skin tones.  Consumers can get an idea of how to use the product, and trust the product more than when someone comes and stops them at a Macys.  In the comfort of their own home, they can see products in use and make their own purchasing decisions, without the pressure they are used to from typical outbound marketing techniques.

Millennials are also drawn to marketing techniques that address their interests and cares. For example, Whole Foods doesn’t just provide groceries.  They share articles about the importance of where food is coming from.

They post recipes with their food.  They demonstrate with videos on how to cook these meals.  They allow customers to share experiences and post different comments.  Whole foods is not just marketing their groceries, but the experience their food provides.  Millennials are about experiences and in order to successfully market to them- a focus on the experience is necessary.  Millennials trend towards brands like Whole Foods who are focused on the experience-even if it comes at a greater cost.

While millennials are affecting how companies market their products, they are not changing the true face of marketing.  Marketing still has the ultimate goal of sales and profits.  Marketing still needs to bring customers in through getting the product name out and urging customers to buy-in to their products and services.  Therefore, while companies must adapt to target the millennials-their primary goals are still the same.

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