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Millennials: defining the marketing enigma

Generation Y, which is also known as millennials, is a much-discussed and relatively unknown target group that is causing headaches for marketers worldwide. After all, those born between about 1980 and 1995 represent a large part of the population with purchasing power. Of course this means marketers see them as an attractive target group. Unfortunately, age and purchasing power are almost the only things that connect this heterogeneous population group. But don't worry, the millennials can also be courted. You just have to know how.

June 2019

Who are the Millennials?


Generation Y lives online. The internet is not new territory for Generation Y, but has almost always been a natural part of their everyday lives. Many of them grew up in a networked world, so they are considered digital natives. Millennials also already compose a large part of the population (e.g. 25 percent of the US population), are climbing the career ladder and starting their own families. In other words, they are many, they earn money, and they are willing to spend it. Nevertheless, the millennials are regarded as a generation marked by events such as 9/11 and the financial and economic crisis. They do not take prosperity and peace for granted. They are considered critical, question things and want to improve the world. These values have an impact both on their consumption behaviour and on professional decisions. Study results have shown that millennials are more willing to buy products from companies that stand for something.

Which approach works?

Authenticity plays an important role in the life of millennials. It is therefore hardly surprising that conventional advertising cannot be the only way to reach your goal with them. This is also confirmed by market research. According to HubSpot's figures, 84 percent of millennials do not believe traditional advertising at all. On the other hand, a large percentage of millennials trust user generated content. First and foremost, they believe in their own network and not a brand or its marketing messages. According to a survey by Lexington Law, only six percent of them believe that online advertising is credible.

Friends and experts for orientation

When it comes to decision-making, millennials trust their friends and not just the analogue ones, but also those on social networks. Influencer marketing therefore plays a major role in reaching this target group. These characteristics are not only relevant in the B2C segment. After all, due to their age, the millennials have also reached decisive positions in companies.

Their opinions and attitudes to relevant issues, which may include strategic business decisions, are often highly valued. Their attitudes, the pursuit of social justice and sustainability, and their use of the media of course have an impact on their professional decisions. As in B2C, Millennials are inspired by trusted influencers in their professional lives, so B2B influencers such as industry experts or other thought leaders have greater relevance to them in opinion-forming and confidence-building.

Privately, a good portion of the millennials actually like to take time to compare prices and research reviews before they buy. This is done through a variety of channels and sources: From blogs to social media, e-commerce platforms - and of course influencers who are active on the various channels. According to a study by Annex Cloud, 91 percent of millennials buy on recommendations from friends. In contrast, they cannot be reached as easily with classic display ads on websites or in social media. In the B2B area, there are slightly different rules for addressing millennials via influencers, which is why we have dedicated a separate article to this topic.

Where do marketers find millennials?

The picture and video channel Instagram, which has become increasingly attractive in recent years, is particularly popular. The number of users in 2018 was around one billion worldwide and around 35 percent of active users are millennials. And they trust the recommendations of instagram influencers.

If you want to win millennials as a marketer, you should adapt your strategy to the needs and, above all, the values of this generation. Place your trust in authenticity and develop offers or actions around the topic of sustainability if possible. Offer credible content, publish it via social media channels and integrate influencers into your marketing concept.


  • Digital Marketing
  • Digital Trends