Millennials: Born between 1981 and 2000. One of the most targeted audiences in modern marketing, we are an enigma to the many companies trying to reach us—and why do companies want to reach us? Because there are 75 million of us … trailing just behind the Baby Boomers. 

The issue is that millennials are a diverse and difficult group to engage, and there are many unspoken rules that millennials follow when determining where to place their investments. So, if you’re one of those brands with a sugar tooth for millennial marketing, here are a couple of things to consider with the help of my good friend, Ron Burgundy.

We hate being targeted.

That’s right. We know what you’re stepping in, and we don’t like it. Targeting millennials needs to feel effortless. It needs to feel like you’re NOT trying too hard. To that end, your marketing should come down to the efficacy of your product or service. Ensure what you’re selling is really interesting, and you’ll have no problem selling it. A catchy tagline won’t fix a terrible product. 

Have a meaningful goal or purpose. 

Millennials don’t want a monopoly running the show … unless we’re talking about the board game, in which case I’ll gladly take over Boardwalk and Park Place before you. Brands that stand for something are the most appealing to us. With our generation, there’s sure to be a following no matter what that mission may be for you—as long as it’s genuine. Saving the forest is your mantra? Great. You’re an animal lover? Excellent. Within any target marketing scenario, you want to build a connection with the audience.

Be cutting-edge, but in moderation. 

Maybe this goes back to effortlessness, but don’t create something that creeps people out. No one wants to scan their retina to pay for their burger. We want something that is different yet viable. Cut through the clutter of competing products and their corresponding marketing efforts. We want a product that is useful and speaks to who we are and what we believe.

Don’t name drop.

Do not play this card. I am over seeing you parade celebrities around on your ads and in your magazines. Put them up. You want to know what we want to see? For the love of all things holy, we want to watch Angela Lansbury sing “Tale As Old As Time” while we cry and dance around in our living rooms that we can barely afford. Can we do that in peace, please?

Just be you.

If your product is great, word will spread. If you need help creating a plan to increase product sales, partner with an experienced agency that believes in your product enough to know how to accommodate your needs. Authenticity is the best way to attract millennials, so convey who you are and where you’re going to a talented designer. Then, watch your product come to life.

Don’t put us on hold.

This isn’t really a marketing tip, I just wanted to throw it in the mix for good reference. I’m talking to you, telemarketers. This actually speaks to a growing need for modern convenience. Millennials are just like everyone else—we will support brands that we know have better accessibility. Whether online or in a brick and mortar establishment, provide a great customer experience. In The Busy World of Richard Scarry (don’t sue me, DHX Media / Nickelodeon), efficiency is key. 

Testing, testing …

The key to effective marketing is to, first, test it. Conduct a focus group or online forum, and tailor your marketing around those results. Get help from a research professional. Without good research, you’ll be like every other company in the world hashtagging, tweeting and “hipstering” your way to embarrassment—to no avail.

Oh, yeah. One more thing.

Stay classy. That’s it!

If you want to better reach millennials, consult with someone like, oh, Designsensory, about the products or services you offer, and learn about research, design and marketing methods that would work for someone in your specific industry. Remember, millennials are not against you ... just your bad marketing.