Millennials are poised to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest generation in America. Understanding how to market to this diverse, tech-savvy group is crucial for brands in 2023.

This article will dive into updated generational insights about Millennials, their values and preferences, and actionable strategies across content, social media, and experiential marketing to connect with Gen Y.

Digital Admen founder, Anton Siler, was interviewed as a part of a focus group NPR was hosting while taking a deep dive into millennials, as part of a new series called the New Boom. This group, some 80 million strong or so, spends over $1 trillion a year by some estimates, which begs the question: How should brands and advertisers go about reaching millennials if they’re so powerful?

This is the trillion dollar question everyone is scrambling to figure out the answer to. Why? Mainly because advertisers want to be one of the brands on the receiving end of that $1 trillion, which can be tricky given the fact that millennials are so different from the generations that came before them. The focus group that NPR hosted varied in age, gender, race and occupation and offered an interesting spectrum of input. The button on this page links to the entire NPR broadcast, which not only showcases highlights from the focus group, but it has some additional insights from Dr. Americus Reed, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business as well.

NPR: Morning Edition



As the largest current generation in the US workforce, marketing to Millennials requires a nuanced understanding of their values and preferences. This coveted demographic wields over $1 trillion in annual spending power. Yet their fickleness towards brands presents an ongoing challenge.

Millennials have a paradoxical relationship with marketing. Extensive exposure to digital ads since childhood has nurtured skepticism toward traditional promotional tactics. At the same time, their fluency as digital natives compels marketers to engage via social media and experiential activations.

While notoriously disloyal consumers, Millennials crave authenticity. Some 63% say shared values are behind their attachment to brands. Those perceived as socially responsible and environmentally conscious tend to fare better with Gen Y.

Marketers must evolve past disruptive outbound advertising. Educational and interactive content resonates strongly. So does leveraging user-generated content and influencer partnerships. The key is inviting Millennials to participate in a meaningful, transparent brand experience.

With their peak spending years fast approaching, the stakes are high in cracking the code on marketing to Millennials. This generation’s size and social consciousness necessitates that brands understand their motivating values. Savvy marketers will ditch convenience and embrace connection.

Who Are Millennials in 2023?

Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials have entered their peak earning and spending years. This generation also referred to as Gen Y, now ranges from ages 27 to 42. They comprise over 72 million Americans, recently overtaking Baby Boomers as the country’s largest living adult generation.

Millennials came of age at the turn of the century, growing up immersed in rapidly advancing technology. From a young age, they became adept at navigating the digital landscape in ways older gens struggle to grasp. Their lifelong embrace of technology shapes how they consume information, connect, and spend.

While Millennials are sometimes stereotyped as fickle and entitled, their behaviors reflect prioritized values. Having endured events like 9/11 and the Great Recession early in life, this pragmatic generation highly values experiences, social causes, and community.

Millennials are delaying major life milestones like marriage, home ownership, and kids compared to previous gens. But their peak spending years have arrived. With an estimated annual spending power of over $1.4 trillion, Millennials simply cannot be ignored. Their savviness as digital natives forces marketers to engage authentically across platforms.

Understanding Millennials’ defining characteristics, from their technical fluency to social consciousness, is key to unlocking this lucrative cohort. While marketing to Millennials poses challenges, brands that evolve to align with Gen Y values will nurture lifelong loyalty.

Core Values to Align With


Having grown up saturated by marketing messages, Millennials are adept at spotting disingenuous ads. This generation seeks genuine connections and transparency from the brands they engage with. Millennials are more swayed by real user reviews than celebrity sponsorships. Brands must convey authenticity in their messaging and validate it through sustainable practices.


Millennials care deeply about social and environmental issues. Over 70% say they will spend more on brands that support causes they believe in. Companies perceived as ethical and responsible have an advantage with socially-conscious Millennials. Brands should be vocal about their CSR initiatives and commitment to inclusivity.


More than other generations, Millennials prioritize spending on experiences that enrich their lives and create memories. Purchasing “Instagrammable” moments often takes priority over material goods. Brands should consider sponsoring culturally relevant events and creating interactive, shareworthy experiences that align with Millennial passions.


Millennials appreciate personalized communication over blanket messaging. Leveraging data to deliver customized recommendations and offers tailored to individuals performs well with this segment. Brands should also give Millennials opportunities to express their individuality, like developing unique brand collaborations or participating in product design.

This influential generation wants brands to align with their priorities in order to earn their loyalty. By championing authenticity, social causes, experiences, and individuality, marketers can build meaningful connections with Millennial consumers.

Content Strategies to Attract Millennials

Informative Content

Millennials appreciate educational content that provides value, not just sales pitches. Brands should invest in helpful blogs, how-to articles, ebooks, and videos that build knowledge and position the brand as an industry expert. Useful, non-promotional content earns trust and loyalty.

Snackable Visual Content

Given their mobile tendencies, Millennials favor eye-catching visual content in bite-sized form. Brands have an opportunity to capture attention through Instagram posts, Snapchat stories, TikTok videos, and other visual content optimized for smartphone consumption.

Behind-the-Scenes Content

Millennials want to see the real people behind a brand. Providing a peek behind the curtain via photos, videos, and stories about employees cultivates authenticity. User-generated content also humanizes a brand effectively.

Interactive Content

Polls, surveys, contests, and other interactive content types engage Millennials by making them active participants. Brands can also leverage influencer collaborations and hashtag campaigns to spark dialogue and connections.

Reviews & Testimonials

Millennials trust earned media, not paid endorsements. Spotlighting authentic customer reviews, user-generated photos/videos, and testimonials from real people provides credibility.

Creating content that educates, entertains, and involves Millennials is crucial for modern brands. The key is delivering value and transparency at every touchpoint.

Social Media Marketing Tips

Top Platform Presence

Major platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are where Millennials spend their time. Brands must establish an active presence on these key channels with relevant, engaging content.

Align with Causes

Millennials are drawn to brands that share their values. Companies with strong CSR initiatives around sustainability, diversity, and social justice earn admiration. Promote how your brand contributes to society in a meaningful way.

Cultivate Personal Connections

Millennials crave genuine interactions, not canned customer service replies. Social media provides a chance to have real conversations, show your brand’s personality, and provide value through helpful content. Social listening also gives insights into pain points.

Convey Authenticity

Millennials can sense inauthenticity and self-promotion from a mile away. They want transparency about who you are as a company and what makes your products great. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses into your brand and real customer stories.

The social savvy of Millennials demands thoughtful engagement. Brands must demonstrate their values, foster meaningful connections, and focus on transparency to earn trust. This generation sees through marketing fluff and wants brands they can believe in.

Social Engagement

Millennials appreciate brands that interact and build connections, not just broadcast. Responding to comments, posting Stories, and using humor conveys personality. Social listening also provides insights.

Influencer Partnerships

Aligning with influencers who authentically resonate with Gen Y can increase reach and trust. But brands must vet influencers carefully to avoid misalignment with values.

Targeted Ads

Geo-targeting, interest targeting, and other ad customization based on platform analytics allow efficient spending. Tailor messaging and offers to each platform’s Millennial users.

The social media landscape provides myriad touchpoints for connecting with Millennials. Humanizing your brand and speaking to their passions drives results. Meeting Millennials where they already spend time online is key.

Effective Experiential Marketing Strategies for Millennials

A lot of marketers will tell you that you only need to focus on online and digital strategies to reach this audience. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are some in-person, real-world ways to get in front of this lucrative audience.

Sponsor Relevant Events

Look for opportunities to sponsor events related to Millennial interests like music festivals, 5K races, comic conventions, food festivals, and more. Having an on-site presence where they’re already engaged allows natural brand interactions.

Create Interactive Experiences

Millennials value experiences over products alone. Set up pop-up shops, showrooms, or demo areas that let them actively engage with your offerings. Let them test, taste, touch, and try before they buy.

Pursue Creative Partnerships

Collabs, influencer activations, and co-branded experiences generate buzz and provide fresh angles on your brand. Identify partners that appeal to Millennial passions from gaming to streetwear.

Offer Sweepstakes & Contests

Millennials love winning experiences, not just products. Contests for concert tickets, trips, and access to exclusive events get attention. Video sweepstakes perform well on social media.

Getting your brand away from a sales-focused context is key. The more your brand becomes integrated with cultural experiences Millennials care about, the stronger the emotional connection.


Crafting effective marketing strategies tailored to Millennials in 2023 and beyond requires a profound understanding of this tech-savvy and open-minded generation. Unlike their predecessors, like the baby boomers, Millennials are a unique demographic that demands an innovative and personalized approach. Traditional advertising simply doesn’t cut it with them anymore.

To truly resonate with Millennials, businesses must pivot towards authenticity and personalization. Here’s the key takeaways on how to do it right:

  1. Leverage Targeted Marketing Tactics: One of the most powerful tools in the modern marketer’s arsenal is targeted marketing. By harnessing the potential of influencer marketing and leveraging the right social media platforms, businesses can ensure their message reaches the right audience. Millennials are highly active on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, making them ideal channels for engagement.
  2. Embrace Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with influencers who align with your brand values can be a game-changer. These influencers have already established trust and credibility with their Millennial followers. Their endorsement can give your product or service a significant boost in credibility and reach.
  3. Tailor Content Specifically for Millennials: Generic content won’t cut it in today’s marketing landscape. Create content that speaks directly to the interests and values of Millennials. This can include visually appealing videos, eye-catching visuals, interactive experiences, or personalized messaging that resonates with their unique worldview.
  4. Highlight Authenticity: Millennials value authenticity above all else. They can spot a canned message from a mile away. Make sure your marketing campaigns reflect genuine values and a sincere commitment to causes that matter to them. Avoid gimmicks and exaggerated claims.
  5. Data-Driven Insights: Use data analytics to understand Millennial behavior better. Track their online habits, preferences, and purchase patterns. This data can inform your marketing strategies and help you create content that truly connects with them.

Marketing to Millennials in 2023 and beyond necessitates a departure from traditional approaches. Instead, adopt a strategy that emphasizes authenticity, personalization, and the use of targeted marketing tactics. By doing so, your business can forge meaningful connections and capture the attention of this influential generation.

Key Takeaways

Marketing to Millennials requires nuance. Their values around authenticity, experiences, and social consciousness necessitate thoughtful engagement across channels.

Strategies like helpful content, interactive social tactics, and experiential activations are key. Mobile optimization enables convenience while humanizing your brand builds rapport.

The brands that will earn Gen Y’s loyalty are those evolving beyond transactional sales pitches. This influential cohort demands marketing that entertains, educates and aligns with their worldview.

Millennials’ peak spending power has arrived. Now is the time for marketers to adapt their strategies to provide value, not just products. By embracing purpose and transparency, your brand can foster meaningful lifelong relationships with these consumers.