Nowadays, everyone in the business world is trying more and more to attract the infamous millennial generation. In 2019, millennials will overtake Baby Boomers as the largest adult population, making them the “holy grail” of target markets (Fry 2018). Marketers are beaten over the head with how many times they’re told to be active on social media to market their products, but social media isn’t the only way to go. Instead of telling you for the millionth time to market on the big 5 social media platforms, I’d like to explore 3 (other) Ways to Market to Millennials That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.
This short video sharing app has 1.26 million ratings, an average rating of 4.7 stars in the Apple App Store, and currently sits at #4 for Photo and Video apps. With over a billion installs from the app store and more downloads than Facebook and Instagram, the TikTok app has quickly risen the ranks since its release in 2016 (Yeh, 2019). The Wall Street Journal even referred to it as, “The latest reason teens are addicted to their phones” (Mims, 2019). The app is currently testing incorporating advertisements into their platform (Flynn, 2019). As one of the most popular phone apps all over the world, TikTok is the platform to watch and one of the biggest marketing opportunities since Facebook.
The iPhone feature that allows you to easily share photos and videos with friends was recently utilized as a marketing strategy by three-time Grammy winner, actor, comedian, and music artist, Donald Glover. The star of the show “Atlanta”, who goes by the stage name of Childish Gambino, debuted his new sneaker line in collaboration with Adidas, at ‘influencer palooza’, a.k.a the annual Coachella music festival in Indio, California.
Attendees of the festival, mostly millennials who were staring at their phones all weekend, received an AirDrop request from the famous “Donald Glover” and chose to either decline the request or take a chance. Those who took a leap of faith were met with a picture of Glover’s new sneaker line and were given one hour to pick up their free pair (Arenstein, 2019).
Whether you choose to give out a free sample or not, Glover’s example sets forth an interesting precedent, especially as technology changes. This could be the start of a marketing strategy so localized that you can digitally market to the people in proximity of the physical location of your store or it could be the start of being bombarded with advertisements or promotions that pop up on your phone as you walk around a shopping center.
3.) “Genuine” Marketing
Times have changed, millennials aren’t so easily fooled anymore. Today, they want authenticity and when marketing is ingenuine, companies face massive backlash. On the opposite side of that, when marketing is honest companies are praised.
This January, Kendall Jenner, one of the highest-paid models in the world and little sister to Kim Kardashian, started endorsing Proactive, an acne-fighting product. Millennial consumers laughed at this endorsement because they knew Kendall didn’t truly use Proactive, despite her claims it solved her acne. She is known to have used high-end, expensive skin-care treatments, medications, and dermatologists (Ross, 2019).
Similar backlash happened with Jenner’s half-sister Khloe Kardashian who was hired to market for Flat Tummy, a non-FDA approved laxative marketed as a weight loss supplement. Not only consumers, but a fellow celebrity called her out for attributing her weight loss to diet supplements instead of her access to a personal trainer, chef, and dietician, eventually causing her to delete the post.
In February, Nike released their “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring Serena Williams as the voice-over which aimed to inspire women by speaking out against sexism, specifically in sports, and has been widely praised (Binlot, 2019). The campaign targeted real social issues and the partnership was trustworthy because not only is Williams an outspoken feminist but the bit almost seemed like a direct response to Williams’ loss in the US Open Final only a few months before (Chavez, 2018).
About the Author:
Lexie Duca is a student at the University of Denver.
Arenstein, S. (2019, April 16). Was the Donald Glover AirDrop at Coachella an Experience? Retrieved from
Binlot, A. (2019, February 28). Nike And Serena Williams Inspire Women To ‘Dream Crazier’ With New Campaign. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/abinlot/2019/02/28/nike-and-serena-williams-inspire-women-to-dream-crazier-with-new-campaign/#632c843d20a3
Chavez, N. (2018, September 10). Serena Williams is calling out sexism in tennis. Here’s why. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/09/us/serena-williams-sexism-tennis-controversy/index.html
Flynn, K. (2019, January 29). TikTok is quietly testing ads. Retrieved from https://digiday.com/marketing/tiktok-quietly-testing-ads/
Fry, R. (2018, March 01). Millennials expected to outnumber Boomers in 2019. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/01/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/
Mims, C. (2019, April 28). TikTok Is the Latest Reason Teens Are Addicted to Their Phones. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/tiktok-is-the-latest-reason-teens-are-addicted-to-their-phones-11556337610
Ross, M. (2019, January 09). More Kendall Jenner backlash: She’s challenged for claiming Proactiv cured her acne. Retrieved from https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/01/09/more-kendall-jenner-backlash-shes-challenged-for-claiming-proactiv-cured-her-acne/
Searing, L. (2019, January 27). The Big Number: Millennials to overtake boomers in 2019 as the largest U.S. population group. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-big-number-millennials-to-overtake-boomers-in-2019-as-largest-us-population-group/2019/01/25/a566e636-1f4f-11e9-8e21-59a09ff1e2a1_story.html?utm_term=.5d0c23d4c7a7
Yeh, O. (2019, February 26). TikTok Surpasses One Billion Installs on the App Store and Google Play. Retrieved from https://sensortower.com/blog/tiktok-downloads-one-billion