What Most Brands Get Wrong About Marketing to Millennials

If your marketing is geared towards millennials, then you should know how to connect with them. Because most brands don’t.


It’s as much a pejorative as a descriptor these days. A buzzword used by marketers who seek to leverage the vast purchasing power of this golden demographic. There’s just one problem. 

Most brands have no idea what they’re doing where millennials are concerned. Sure, they manage to generate a few sales, bring in a few new customers. Sure, they might connect with some millennials. 

But for the majority, their marketing efforts amount to little beyond white noise. 

The problem here is multifaceted, but it ultimately boils down to one thing. These brands do not understand millennials. Many of them try to market to millennials the way they’d like to be marketed to.

Certainly, there are exceptions. Marketing agencies that have rid themselves of the old guard. Professionals who’ve taken the time to do their homework and generate audience profiles. 

But in most cases, they make a bevy of mistakes, including, but not limited to: 

Treating Millennials as a Monolith 

Millennials are among the most diverse demographics in the world, and the up-and-coming generation Z is geared to be even more diverse. You cannot simply go into your marketing campaign with the vague idea that you want to ‘engage with millennials’ and expect to have any degree of success.  While there are certainly common threads amongst millennials, you still need to be specific.

Ask yourself a few of the following questions: 

  • What are they interested in? 
  • What do they value? 
  • Why would they engage with your brand in the first place? What need are they seeking to fulfill? 
  • What demographic details define them beyond ‘millennial’? Examples could be income level, gender, cultural background, etc. 

Going Overboard Trying to Sell

As we said, there are a few common traits shared not just between millennials, but between millennials and generation Z. Generally speaking, they do not like being sold to. They’re interested in engaging with a brand that quietly understands and fulfills their needs.

That means blog posts that aren’t solely focused on driving sales. Social feeds filled with content that’s interesting, educational, or entertaining. They’ll still know you’re trying to sell to them, of course —but because you’re doing it in a way that’s not overbearing, most won’t mind.

It also means toning down the emails. Nothing is more annoying than purchasing a product from a brand only to have your inbox inundated with several emails a day. Sending a newsletter when there’s a new deal is one thing, but if you flood people’s inboxes with irrelevant nonsense, they’ll start tuning you out. 

Not Putting the Customer First

How’s your return policy look? What about your checkout process? Shipping and handling? Customer support? 

For a millennial demographic, these need to be as seamless as possible. Don’t shove popups in people’s faces, and make sure your checkout process is both simple and transparent in terms of shipping costs. Perhaps more importantly, make sure you have a concrete, generous return policy.

Too many brands operate on a purely selfish, money-first basis. While that might work for the older generation of consumers, for everyone born after the early 80s it’s incredibly aggravating. If you make it clear to your audience that you’re prioritizing their wants and needs, they’ll reward you with far deeper loyalty.

The Millennial Puzzle

Marketing to millennials is neither as difficult nor as complex as you might think. Provided you understand them as a demographic and do your homework, you’ll do just fine. And as an added bonus, you’ll distinguish yourself from the countless brands that simply cannot be bothered.  

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for SEOHost.net, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.