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GUEST COMMENT Who are millennials and what do they want?

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Millennials, Generation Y, the 20-35-year olds who make up about 21% of the UK’s population. We are a generation that doesn’t seem to uphold the best reputation for ourselves, a few words spring to mind – selfish, narcissistic, ‘generation Y bother’.

At face value, we seem like a difficult generation to market to, but the rise in mobile and social media presents a multitude of opportunities for brands. It’s easy to generalise on what millennials want, but it’s important to focus on what they invest in, so advertisers can strategise effectively.

With so much competition in the market, brands need to distinguish how they want to be perceived, who they want to target and how to target them. This may sound simple, but it’s easy to get lost in the mix of marketing, trying to gain sales and traction from every place possible – that strategy may work if you’re planning to be a ‘one hit wonder’, but it’s not very sustainable. Millennials buy into the brand not the product, so it’s key to be true to the values that you portray.

Social media… of course

Social media is a given. A brand would be missing out on an opportunity if they didn’t utilise the platforms that millennials so seamlessly use, day in/day out. Shoppers want to be inspired and entertained and what better way to do this than to connect with them through social platforms.

According to millennial marketing, 46% of millennials reported to have 200+ Facebook friends, therefore the impact that shared posts can have is vast. Not only is your post being seen by consumers who have similar interests (we would hope), but the reach could be unimaginable. Why get marketers to interact with millennials, when you can get them to do the job for you?

So, is it true that ‘Content is King’, or should it be known that ‘Creativity is King’? Without eye-catching content your posts won’t be seen and will drown amongst the other brands trying to deploy the same strategy. It’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Whilst immediate sales are great, there is so much more to a customer relationship. I think brand loyalty is a lot more valuable in the long run. It’s not about your product, it’s about millennials expressing themselves through brands, so be a brand customers want to shout about.

Brand and influencers

If a brand’s marketing activity focuses on being too self-promotional, it won’t resonate well with millennials. Advertisers need ambassadors or fellow millennials to support their products or brands to get a valuable message across. An affilinet consumer index survey highlighted that bloggers are the third most trusted source (closely behind friends and family) whilst also emphasising that consumers are generally looking for original content and purchasing recommendations. Therefore, the impact that a blogger can create is undisputable. Product reviews are a great place to start, let the blogger experience your product/brand and publicise it through an article on their site and/or social platforms.


Every year is supposedly the ‘year of the mobile’; I don’t personally think there will be a year where mobile suddenly changes the market, but it’s definitely a growing platform for users – in particular millennials, to purchase and engage from. We’ve seen more publishers in the affiliate industry pushing their apps and functionalities within them. From Geo-targeting to push notifications, brands can be strategic about who they target and where they target them. The internet holds a wealth of information based on search history, recent purchases and demographic. This data is particularly valuable on a mobile, as it’s rarely going to be a shared device. A well targeted and personalised campaign is crucial, especially for mobile because anything other than that can come across as intrusive.

To summarise

All in all, I think it is important for brands to be creative, and true to their values in order to appeal to the millennial market. A brand’s reputation cannot be bought, it needs to be earned, so take the time to focus on how you want to be perceived and utilise the opportunities that the internet provides you with.

Stephanie Lester is senior account executive at affilinet UK

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