What Does It Take To Engage The MILLENNIAL Audiences?

  • By Andy Fox

This demographic cohort seems to possess a number of characteristics… 

There are those who describe them as being lazy, entitled and narcissistic ‘Trophy Kids’, while others say they’re confident, self-expressive, liberal and upbeat. Some claim that ‘They’ll save us all’ and ‘They’re the next greatest generation!’ Whereas others say ‘they’ve been dealt a bad hand’!

Yes, we’re talking about the ‘Generation Y’, who is famously dubbed as The ‘Millennials’. However we like to describe them, today this young group born between early 1980s to early 2000s consists of over one-fourth of the global population, now reaching 1.7 billion people, and (get this), by 2018 Millennials will surpass the spending power of ‘Baby Boomers’ and by 2020 Millennial’s collective spending power will reach more than $1.4 trillion!

Now if those stats don’t raise any marketer’s eyebrows, I don’t know what will. And if you’re one of them looking to interact with and engage these Millennial audiences, you ought to understand how they behave, discover their interests, hobbies and values… 

In other words, any business aiming to sell to Millennials should know what really drives them or what makes them tick – Here are a few insights to help you in this journey: 

Leveraging The ‘FOMO’ Effect

If there’s anything that can immediately grab millennials’ attention and stop them in their tracks, is the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO). The FOMO phenomenon, initially spawned from social media, is basically anxiety over the idea that ‘an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere’. 

The Millennials are the most affected by this fear, or the feeling that other people are doing interesting things and getting more out of their lives – which pushes them to join in on the action, and failure to do so, or the failure to ‘catch that train’ breeds disappointment, anxiety and even depression to some. 

Any marketer or brand can tap into this ‘FOMO’ psyche and create content to induce similar feelings to grab the audiences’ attention. 

In the tweet below, South by Southwest (SXSW) reminds audiences about its important events and festivals, urging them to not miss out, with a ‘FOMO’ alert:


The above example was clearly a message that fostered FOMO, indicating that ‘either you engage or run the risk of missing out’. But the ‘FOMO’ trigger can be used in whichever way the brand sees fit… 

In the example below, Rent The Runway takes the pacifying approach, i.e. the content helps the audience to stay-in-the-know and doesn’t induce ‘urgency’. Here the brand offers its audience ‘behind-the-scenes’ experiences from the Sundance Festival, even if they missed the actual event:


FOMO is all about creating experiences, whether its concerts, festivals, themed parties or garnering support for a noble campaign. If marketers are to create contents via Social Media that accentuate the FOMO element, they are sure to get Millennials engaged in droves with their brands and its messages. 

Support A Cause

Here’s a neat trick to rise above the cacophony of competing brands, all the while appealing significantly to the Millennials – support a cause!

Yes, when the markets are stuffed with hundreds of similar products and limitless options, it pays to give that extra ‘incentive’ to your customers such that they happily choose you over others – and Millennials more so, are hard wired in expressing themselves as contributors to a ‘greater good’ than just opting for top brands with ‘quality’ product. 

The Millennials’ hearts seem to be pulsating more with an ‘altruistic beat’, allowing their radars to instantly pick any brands that goes that ‘extra mile’ to care about the end consumers, the society and environment at large. 

It’s the same reason why even though Nike spends billions of dollars each year on their marketing tactics; Millennials still prefer TOMS shoes. Because they know when they purchase a pair of TOMS shoes, the brand donates a matching pair to someone in need. 


Their slogan ‘One for One’ apparently outdid the ‘just do it’ of Nike, as it gives the Millennial generation a sense of fulfillment, which comes from knowing that they’re lending a hand to alleviate world’s problems.

Millennials Live In  Smart Phones & Love Social Media

Whether it’s connecting to friends and families, shopping online or playing games - Millennials practically live in their smartphones. And when over 85% of Millennials own smartphones, it comes as no surprise that marketers should tailor their content to suit smartphone users.

To start off with, brands need to optimise their landing pages. If your loading time is slow and your call to action not so clear, your competition will beat you any day. Not to mention the increasingly ‘decreasing attention span’ of people today; specifically of the ‘Y’ Generation.

Next up, is social media. Today over 87% of millennials are using Facebook as their most preferred social channel. Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter are the next in line for them:


So if you intend to engage the Millennials via online advertisements, Facebook is without a doubt the undisputed channel, where you should put your money at.  Besides, anything you can do to enhance this young groups’ experience on the smart phone screens will make you a winner.

A clever example would be from Kiip, with its innovative idea - integrating advertising natively into mobile gaming by allowing brands to offer rewards after in-game accomplishments.

Now the company has taken the idea further by integrating adverts into mobile apps, involving brands like Gatorade to offer rewards to its users, when they complete specific fitness routines – Such reward based smart phone experience is a sure-fire way to reach the Millennial generation and keep them engaged with your brand messages and products!

To Sum It Up…

Your Millennial audiences are a demographic cohort with diverse characteristics, interests and aspirations…

For the marketing mind, you may not be able to put them into a single box and call it a day; but if you’re looking to truly interact with and engage these future leaders – it helps if you can walk in their shoes and create amazing experiences for them through their preferred world views and their preferred platforms!

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is www.element7digital.com.au

Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

More about me, visit: andyfox.com.au