• Hayley Gibson

Millennials are the biggest spending generation but brands struggle to engage

Let’s face it, the word millennials is overused, it’s rarely perfectly defined and seems to be a love hate relationship for marketers. For those still unsure who millennials are they are broadly defined as those who had internet before they turned 18. They’re digital natives who grew up with social media and they share everything online desperately chasing likes, shares and the perfect selfie. To be more specific, age wise they are between 18-32. So that’s nice and vague then.



In Australia, millennials make up 4.2 million of the population and they have a combined disposable income of $530million per year. Now that’s a pretty huge figure and the good news is they’re the biggest spending generation ever. However, lots of brands are losing out and failing to connect with these tech-savvy Instagrammers. The harsh reality is if you can’t work out how to excite and market effectively to millennials, the future doesn’t look too bright for your brand.


The intertwined emergence of three significant factors has contributed to the rise in difficulty with effectively marketing to millennials.


The first is the shift in values between millennials and generations before them. Unlike previous generations, millennials value rich sharable experiences over owning ‘things’. This doesn’t mean that they won’t buy things, they just want to feel like they are buying into an experience and a lifestyle. Don’t forget this is a generation that will probably not own a house for a very long time - thanks baby boomers!


For example, it’s incredibly unlikely that millennials will share, snap or even talk about a really great banner ad or an expensive magazine article. Counteract that with hosting a rooftop party for a handful of top customers you’ll not only get the reach of everyone at the event but you achieve the best form of marketing there is, a personal recommendation from a friend.


Not every brand has the budget for large experiential events but the primary solution here is to align your brand's core values with theirs and bring it to life through an experience. Get back to basics. From here you can leverage experiences that interest and connect with your customer.


Another factor is the shift in power from brand to consumer in determining the effectiveness of marketing strategies and campaigns.

Ever increasing information sharing through social media and fast paced changes in technology, allows millennials to be bigger influencers than a brand's marketing. These consumers are far more informed, aware, socially connected and empowered than ever before.


Today, young consumers’ attitudes and behaviours are largely inspired by people they know in person or online. They trust relevant, authentic opinions from real product users they can relate to. With such ability to gain information that they ‘trust’, they can sniff out a scam at 10 paces, aren’t afraid to air some dirty laundry in public and anything put out there will be scrutinised. If it doesn’t measure up as genuine it will get called out. Again, go back to basics to the purpose of your brand, come from an authentic place and have a welcoming presence for interaction by them on platforms where they hang out.


The third and final factor is that millennials genuinely want to connect with brands that have purpose and treat their customers as individuals. They genuinely want to buy great things from brands that do things for the greater social good.

Millennials crave messaging and actions which drive a deeper connection to us as human beings as opposed to ‘selling’ a product or service bluntly. Treat them like people you are communicating with rather than selling to and look at ways that your brand can be a force for good to achieve a longer lasting, deeper connection.


These three points touch the surface of where to start with effective millennial marketing; if you want to learn the most up to date research, marketing secrets and practical strategies of how to get the edge with them as consumers, Growth Tank are hosting the Millennials Marketing Conference in Melbourne at ACMI on the 25th & 26th May.


Hear from top experts from Facebook, Instagram, MTV, Buzzfeed, VICE Media, NOVA Entertainment, TRIBE, The Urban List, Pedestrian, oOh! Media, Junkee Media, Hello Social, Soap Creative, McCrindle Research, Hubspot and many more! For more information and tickets visit the site.

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