Marketing to Millennials

Good v/s Bad Marketing
July 21, 2017
The 7 deadly sins
November 21, 2017

Marketing to Millennials_Saurabh Timochin

Love them or hate them this “rebellious” group of individuals lie between the ages of 18 to 34; and constitute the most diverse, apolitical and tech-dependent generation in history.

Millennials have come of age during a precarious time of epic technological change, disruption of traditional businesses and the democratization of commerce. With a generational group so diverse, stranded on the shores of a transient business environment; marketers will quickly have to understand, how to tap into this growing economic segment.

 By 2025 millennials will account for over $8 trillion, making it the most significant market segment

To understand the millennial better, let’s take a peek into their collective mindset. A non judgmental look at their traits may give us a better understanding into their motivations and subsequently business models, that cater to those underlying traits.

A study on Millennial Traits globally (various sources)

The graph summarizes 15 key facts, that may well be an indicative blueprint, on how marketing strategies will need to evolve in the future

While each of the findings holds a lesson to be derived from, below are a look at 4 traits that I found interesting.

1) Willingness to invest in assets

The traditional idea of financial security involved, building a portfolio of safe investments that would appreciate over time. You went to college, got a job, bought a car, got married, bought a house, had kids, saved money for their education, put some aside for a rainy day….and life went on.

This consumer framework loosely existed, for much of the 20th century and thus marketers had enough time to develop products; marketing them to customers at predictable intervals of their lives.

Today, with less than 15% of millennials willing to invest in major assets, it’s easy to misunderstand them as a bunch of footloose and fancy-free gypsies. One must however, bear in mind, that millennials carry the highest debt compared to any other generation in history. Truth is, millennials grew up in a world of debt – most of which wasn’t even of their doing. Add to that a shrinking global economy, financial collapses all over the world and insane student debt levels, it’s no surprise that their purchase priorities are completely different from that of their parents.

Marketers and Innovators who have been able to disrupt the rent versus own model are the ones that will define the future.

Businesses like Uber, AirBnb, Netflix, Zipcar, reveal just the surface – of a fast emerging shared economy.

2) Brand Loyalty

The fact that only 31% of millennium seem to be brand loyal, may frighten some older marketers. However, the state of consumer’s hearts may not be as dismal.

Brand loyalty could strangely be seen a fundamental human characteristic. As human buyers (with emotions of course) we will always want to associate with people or companies that give us a sense of belonging, a feeling of safety and a relate-able vision.

So while less than 31% of Millennials claim to be brand loyal; the concept of consumer loyalty will always remain; the variables of the loyalty equation will change.

It will probably take more than just being a big brand with in your face advertising, to stay relevant and adored amongst the millennial masses.

Below is a brilliant all in one illustration by Bain & Co, which I think, is the new customer value pyramid

3) Casualization

Millennials are casual and these numbers will keep growing!

They prefer comfort dressing over stuffy suits, they prefer spending on experiences over assets and are OK with shortening age old English words, to be more efficient and useful in their tech driven lives. (OMG right!)

These may be reasons as to why, we are seeing a shift in mainstream design. An iconography of information, a mass movement towards lighter pastel colors, even established logos moving towards more casual typefaces………………………………….. casual will become the new formal.

4) Self Absorbed

In an age where the “selfie” is an actual word, let’s not kid ourselves and think that the world cannot get any more “self-involved”.

Here lies a huge area to market products aimed at individuality. Vivo Mobiles in my opinion ran a brilliant campaign, marketing their selfie-based phones with the line “This is not a selfie this is myself”. I think, this brilliantly touched upon that need of self-absorbance, in a strangely tasteful way.


  1. Gabriel Ruiz says:

    Wonderful article! Good insight on the new wave of consumers.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: