Millennial Marketing

By Abby Christensen

millennialsAs a millennial, I have a myriad of opinions and insights on what makes this demographic tick. I’m surrounded by friends and colleagues who are millennials, and I study this demo as a PR professional. The American Marketing Association claims that this 18 to 34-year-old segment is a marketing “sweet spot.”

Millennials want to be perceived as passionate and belief-driven. They want to support, work for and contribute to causes they believe in. They want to experience life and build community wherever they go. That’s why there has been a millennial trend of investing in things that will enhance their experience.

Businesses are catching on quickly. Companies like Madewell and J. Crew use Instagram to convey a lifestyle and build a community around their products. Pitchfork and Third Man Records gives their music-loving community a behind-the-scenes look at various musicians, performances and staff on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Couch-surfing and Airbnb-like businesses have entered the market because of the trust in a community that is built into their services. So how can you join these businesses in marketing to millennials?

If you want to convey your brand’s vibe on social media, a picture is worth a thousand words.  A powerful image can catalyze engagement immediately. We see images go viral every day in social media, and engagement is a key factor in reaching millennials. This visual generation is drawn to things that catch their eye. Over 90% of the 150 million people on Instagram, the primary image driven social media platform, are under the age of 35, according to Social Media Beast. And Facebook gets 37% higher engagement on posts with images. This is not to say that witty text and catchy captions are out the window. Research shows that keeping posts short and sweet (between 100 to 250 characters) gets 60% more likes, comments and shares.

For example, Warby Parker launched a “Which Pair” social media campaign. They posted an image with someone wearing 2-4 different pairs of glasses. The caption introduced the WP staff member and named the glasses frame styles. Followers were asked to sound off their opinions. So, the lesson here is to hook them with the image and reel them in with the text.

This generation is forcing some of the big dogs to get creative in order to get millennial heads to turn.  Once a millennial is “sold” on your brand, keeping them engaged gets a lot easier. These brand advocates will essentially advertise for you by stamping a friendly face onto your message, at no cost to you.

Start thinking about how your company impacts your community. How can you enhance the experiences of those around you with your products and services? Think like a millennial!


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Barbara Cullings says:
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The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.——William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”

dstech says:

Another test

Courtney says:


dstech says:

This is atest.

Carole says:

Wow Abby, so proud of you !!! What a joy it must be to work at something you truly love. It all sounds so exciting and rewarding. Bless you my dear niece.

Rachelle says:

Thank you for the nice article!!

Nicole Torre says:

This is a great article! I’m definitely one of those women who is excited that the NFL is finally paying attention to our demographic. 44% is huge! I never knew it was so evenly matched. Thanks for the awesome read!

Lavonne says:

Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis.
It’s always interesting to read articles from other writers and use something from their websites.

Rebecca says:

Some of us who are approaching 50 (I’m 48) are still in the throes of motherhood – I have an 11 year old son. By the time my mom was 50 she was waaaaay past this – it’s a whole new world out here! Forget about AARP, I’m still doing the PTA. . .

Thanks for this great synopsis of our program. I have put a link on our website to this blog and also re-posted the link to the archived video of the event.

We hope to do this again!

heather says:

Thank you!

Rebecca says:

I think it’s humorous and fun, featuring a little eye candy; it would certainly make me remember the product.

Kendra Kroll says:

The concept of needing paces to carry things is a long-standing problem, esp for us gals. So I give them credit for their efforts. But there are concerns with cell emissions by one’s chest as well as the risk of sweat breaking one’s phone. These are valid and real issues, because that is exactly why people call us sometimes!…
I’ve been developing products in this space for ~5 years after having dropped my spare tampon on the gym floor and getting mad (whoops!) so I designed and patented another solution…PortaPocket. And it’s for way more than feminine hygiene! My system can be worn on more places on the body (thigh, calf, ankle, arm or waist) and works both under or over the clothing. It’s super comfy & versatile as one can swap out pocket sizes to suit the things you need. Fits ID, cash, cards, keys, cell phones (including iphone, BlackBerry and Droid), ipods, cameras, passports, lipstick, hygiene items, medical devices, more. Perfect for going out, working out, travel & everyday. in sparkly or plain styles. Now we can lose the worry…not our stuff. YAY! see what I mean at xoxo

Kat Gordon says:

I love this. I play a lot of tennis and it is one of the few moments in my life when I feel very physically powerful. The photography in this spot is stunning and the music + voiceover are perfectly paced.

Rebecca says:

Hilarious! Imagine all the new customers they’ll gain on this alone – I’ve never tried the brand but I will now!

Flaco says:

She’s my favorite female boxer. So beautiful inside & out. Congrats on her recent win last month!

Thanks – Enjoyed this article, can you make it so I receive an email sent to me when you write a new article?

Alice says:

Although I agree that Ms. Cutrone is fabulous for speaking her mind, and creating a unique business, as a pr professional I have to disagree that she has brought any positive attention to the field of pr. Her outbursts and poor treatent of her employees along with her unyielding ego are unprofessional and only perpetuate the stereotypes of publicists and women in business. Her personality is perfect for tv and clearly she has found success in that which Is more a reflection of our culture than the great work she does as a business owner.

kelly says:

Alice we appreciate your point of view, and you are right about the fact that Ms. Cutrone doesn’t suffer from lack of self-esteem. We wonder if any of the behavior demonstrated on her show is the genuine article or maybe played up a bit for the cameras. Have you read her book? It really shed new light on her personality that maybe doesn’t get illustrated as much on the small screen.

Thank you for commenting!

Jessica says:

Thanks for sharing! I completely agree that men’s products might likely market to women. My fiancé will either grab the first bar of soap he sees or ask me to pick one I would like for him. He takes less than 15 seconds on a soap purchase, while I can take five minutes or more.

On a somewhat related note, I just finished reading a LinkedIn e-mail article about Facebook fanpages. Although I would guess that the majority of Victoria’s Secret sales are from women, the brand seems to belong as much to men as it does to women (judging from the number of male comments on its wall posts). It made me reevaluate the reasons I shop there!

kelly says:

As for your boyfriend’s soap buying habits, we aren’t too surprised. We think most soaps and other hygiene products really are marketed to the women who buy them for the men in their lives. Have you seen the Old Spice commercials in which the spokesperson bursts through another commercial because he “can’t be contained?” Too funny!

That’s really interesting about Victoria’s Secret. With the televised fashion show and the popularity of the angels, it makes sense that men would be fans. Wonder if this has potential to alienate female shoppers?

Amy Swanson says:

I loved that CitiBank commercial when it first came out! I thought to myself, “Finally! Marketers and advertisers are realizing that just because you’re a woman over 25 years old, does not mean that babies and marriage are the only thing on your mind.” The options available to women compared to my grandmothers or even my mother’s generation are so much more open.

The companies that realize this have a far better shot of me working with them than their competitors who make me feel like something is wrong with me for not being baby crazy at 23 years old. A great topic, Kelly!

kelly says:

Thanks Amy! We are always glad to see marketers and advertisers taking note of who women really are, not just the perceptions of who they have always been. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Amy Swanson says:

For one thing, the fact that they’re targeting both men AND women as a group I think is the wrong way to market Anarchy. When it comes to personal care products like deodorant or body spary, I don’t wnat to be “lumped in” with a bunch of guys. I want my issues addressed and the things guys want aren’t the same concerns that I have.

Some of my issue for not being interested in it could also be because I already have a notion of the users of Axe (and obviously, not in the most flattering context). For this reason I think they should’ve come out with a seperate brand for women all together. At least I would’ve given them a fighting chance and probably would’ve tried it before dismissing it. Just my 2 cents 🙂

Amy Swanson says:

I can’t believe Axe is going to go after the women demographic with their products. As someone who falls in to the 18-24 year old female demographic, their line of products just doesn’t appeal to me. I instantly think of high school when guys fresh out of gym class would spray an entire bottle on themselves and then walk to class (trust me, a little goes a long way). I think they should focus more on their brand’s image before trying to tackle another market.

kelly says:

Amy: How could Axe have marketed Anarchy in a way that would have appealed to you? Or would it have mattered since you already have a notion about Axe? These are things we try to think about when looking at brands that may have missed the mark.

Michelle Adams says:

I think that the author does raise very good points about those commercials. I am not a big fan of the Axe commercials, think that they are ridiculous. I will definitely not want to buy it.

kelly says:

Michelle…what about the commercials doesn’t appeal to you?

Scottie Smith Shull says:

Words of wisdom,which all ring true.
I am especially grateful for rule #2.
I loved the fact that we were from neighboring counties and shared similar backgrounds.
I thought the world of you then and still do!
Much love and best wishes for continued success.
Scottie Smith Shull
Miss Caldwell County 1988

kelly says:

Thanks Scottie!

Joyce says:

I think you’re fabulously talented Kelly and I’m thrilled for you that you’re embracing all of who you are! Yay!

David says:

What a beauty you were. We all could learn a thing or two from you. You had more talent than most of us. I’ll never forget audtioning for A Christmas Carol right after you auditioned. God what an act to follow.

PixInk says:

Kelly, you are right in your assessment that technology industry has done little to investigate the purchasing behaviors of women. Many brands are guilty of “pink coating” and they are missing opportunities to translate value to the most powerful consumer group in the world. Still, there are some companies that get it; Apple, for instance, which boasts moms as the primary purchasers of the iPhone. The balance either don’t care or aren’t aware that women pack purse power. Either way, they’ll continue to fall well below their potential by not making marketing to women a priority.

kelly says:

Apple has definitely done a great job on all marketing fronts…and you’re right about the pink coating. This is one of our biggest pet peeves. Just because a brand wants to market its products to women, doesn’t mean they should be pink.

Sorry, but I have to firmly debate with this blog post. Having said that, I understand that all of us all have our totally different opinions.

kelly says:

Jerry, which part is it that you disagree with? We’re always happy to engage with our readers.

I got what you intend, thankyou for posting .Woh I am glad to find this website through google. “Food is the most primitive form of comfort.” by Sheila Graham.

amy swanson says:

This was a very interesting article, Kelly! I love Chevy’s current commercials featuring the old photographs in today’s surroundings. Very clever stuff which I guess ins’t new for them really. I had no idea they were selling to women as early as the 1900’s, the things you learn 🙂

Eve says:

This movie is the most important film I have seen in ages. We can and must do better. We owe it to the world. I am urging everyone I know to see it and get involved, to make it trend on twitter. I know a lot of women feel stymied about how to start, I think it may be as simple as getting the message out there. Every website owner, blogger, writer, comment-maker needs to be talking about this.

Amy Swanson says:

I totally agree with Rob Schwartz’s comment of successful campaigns having characters who are “likeable, branded and worthy of repeated views”. I know that’s how I determine if a character (and by extension a brand) is good or not, in my opinion.

However, I’ve heard conflicting statistics on who exactly does the household shopping today. I think if companies wanted to create a successful character for their brand, they’d make them appealing to both sexes.

kelly says:

Amy…you make a great point here! What qualities do you think an icon would need to have in order to be equally appealing to both sexes?

Michelle Lee says:

Thank you for sharing this, Kelly! This was very inspiring and makes me suddenly extremely proud to be a part of this new age – where women are strongly active on the Internet!

kelly says:

Marion…your strength and courage are so evident in your comment! As difficult as it must be to have gotten the diagnosis, it seems like you are going about things the right way…helping others and staying positive! All of our best to you!

Powerful,being committed,being awoken, this is me. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and in the process of dealing with the disease, and being fortunate to have caught it in time, has given me an option in my life to help others and make them aware, what we call Payback…I have been working with Make-up for over 50 years starting to help Marilyn Monroe calm her style back in the early 60’s which made me realize how performing the trick of making up a woman’s face like Bobbi Brown now, shows me this is truly a Powerful Art. Being performed on Women of today.

Thank you for highlighting us on your blog! We’re excited to see how more and more women in Africa can be empowered as we continue to grow. Your support is encouraging.
Thanks again!

Dar says:

My favorite female boxer. Beauty & strength. What a combo!

Gleason's Gym says:

We love her here at Gleason’s Gym!!

michelle says:

That is very cool. I never really went to Starbucks that much, but maybe I’ll go this week just to get the free treat. We have Biggby’s (in MI) and that’s the closest coffee place to me.

Brette says:

We really appreciate you writing this and acknowledging GirlsGuideTo… Thank you so much!!!! 🙂

Bob Wilson says:

A Steeler fan? Now I love you even more Kelly! 😉

I think the amount of pink Tennessee Vols football gear should show the boys club there’s money to be made in marketing their sport to (and via) women.

Lauren says:

Do you have any advice on how to create one on our own or what should go into one? I work with a 501(c)(3), and we basically have zero budget to do a media kit.

kelly says:

Maybe we can do a future post on something like that! Thanks for commenting!

Lauren says:

Hey, Kelly, I saw this book and thought of you- The She Spot: Why Women Are The Market for the Changing World and How to Reach Them


kelly says:

Thanks for the suggestion…I’ll have to check that out!

[…] in developing many of its tenets? In other words, cave men days. This blog has already stated several things about the importance women place on relationships and feeling connected. According to “stone-age […]

Hello Kelly,

I passed your building this summer heading to my internship with Susan G. Komen and immediately spent some time on your Web site. I don’t believe the blog was up and running then, but now I am so thankful it is! I am currently studying PR at UT, and have loved reading about your boutique style, focus on women, and the clear creativity you use in your work.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge,

kelly says:


Thank you for stopping by the blog! Please check back often…we love feedback!

Alexandra says:

Glad you enjoyed it!

kelly says:

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the support!

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