Successfully Selling to Millennials

Successfully Selling to Millennials

It looks like the odds are completely against you, the business owner, when it comes to selling anything to millennials. They are cynical of advertising, they aren’t brand loyal, they don’t like long-term purchases, and they research everything.

But believe it or not, there are ways to check millennial cynicism and to recruit them as business prospects.

Let me give you an analogy. If you’re fishing and the fish aren’t biting, you don’t give up and never go fishing again. You analyze the problem and figure out one of or all three root causes; You are in the wrong location, you are using the wrong technique or you are using the wrong bait.

If we translate that analogy to advertising and leads, you need to make one or more of the following changes.

  • Your Message Platform (the location)
  • The Appearance of the Message (the technique)
  • The Message itself (the bait)

The Right Location: Social Media and Mobile Devices

millennials, social media, mobile devices
Millennials were born in or around the age of the internet, so it would make sense that they are the generation that adopted quickly to technology. Because Millennials are so technologically literate, they use their mobile devices for everything. Especially shopping.

According to, “mobile devices were crucial for Millennial mothers to search for the best possible price on a product (79.4%), read reviews (68.9%), and download coupons (67.1%). Even in-store shopping was greatly influenced by Millennial mobile users, with over half (52%) comparing prices to other retailers.”

There are a multitude of social media apps, and it is impossible to use them all. That’s why you should plan your social media strategy around which platform works best for you.

Do just want to spread the word quickly about the latest discount in your store?  Facebook or Twitter might be the place for you to announce it. If you run a restaurant, encourage people to send pics of your dishes on Instagram or Snapchat for a discount. There are endless possibilities if you apply the right platform to the right message.


The Right Technique: Authenticity and Transparency

millennials, authenticity, fact checking

Make no mistake, Millennials are information savvy and are much more prone to research while they shop. Granted, if you give them an option to purchase through your website, they will be far more likely to buy. However, that purchase happens after they read the reviews and compare to other products.

Most millennials in the United States lived through or were born in the 1980’s and 1990’s, a time when marketing to children exploded. So, they’re quite used to spotting the traditional marketing tactics from a mile away. In fact, the pushier you are about your product, the more likely they are to be non-responsive.

The best way to get the message out there for millennials isn’t to desperately shout, “Buy Now” from the rooftops. That would make anyone run screaming. Instead, you announce with clarity, “This is who we are, this is what we offer, and this is why make it!”

However, if you stand behind your product and fully explain, “This is who we are, this is what we offer, and this is why you should choose us!”, you will get much more respect and attention.

You might start to get worried about the effectiveness of the message. How are you going to get your message across if you aren’t actively spreading your message to everyone you meet?

Don’t panic.

If you are honest about your information and you deliver enough useful and unique content, millennials will help increase awareness of your brand for you through digital word of mouth. The more authentic you are, the more trust you are likely to build from your target audience.

The Right Bait: Experience not Status

Up until very recently, people determined value through ownership. For example, in America, if you didn’t own land, you couldn’t vote until 1855.

However, cultural attitudes towards status and ownership started to shift drastically over the last few decades. Ownership does not determine status anymore; competency and experience do instead.

The more a millennial can experience something different, learn something new, or the more something can enable a better experience, the more valuable a resource is to them.

If you are selling a product and reading this, it sounds like you are doomed from the get-go.

experience, millennials, not ownership
However, you can still craft your pitch to make your product less like something that creates ownership status, and more like something that creates an ownership experience.

For example, if you sold something like tennis shoes, instead of promoting it like a status symbol, promote its features as something that will enhance the personal experience of the wearer. It increases the utilitarian value of the product to the target audience and increases the chance for a positive response and sales from the millennial generation.

This example increases the utilitarian value of the product to your target audience and increases the chance for a positive response.


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