According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials are the largest consumer group in United States history. They even surpass baby boomers by over 15 million people, making them some of the most frequent shoppers out there. With their spending totals nearing $600 billion each year, marketers are doing anything they can to come up with the next creative advertising technique that will resonate with their interests. But is it working?

Statistically, promotional products are the most effective form of advertising for millennials. Not only do the items make them feel important, but they help draw crowds at an event. In fact, 47% of millennials go to a branded event just because of the swag they come home with. We can’t blame them! There’s nothing more exciting than walking into event and seeing all the free stuff you’ll come home with.

While millennials are usually known for their above average texting speeds, sharp wit, and their obsession with social media, let’s not forget they are the next generation of consumers. They’re starting to buy houses and cars, making it more important than ever to appeal to their buying needs. As such, there’s no better time than now to rethink your marketing strategy!

Marketing to Millennials

We all want our brand to be the next Amazon, but there are a few things to consider before diving head-first into your marketing strategy. First and foremost: Is your product or service inherently geared toward a younger crowd, or is your ideal customer a seasoned business professional who is looking to purchase software or trade stock? These are all important things to consider, given that you probably wouldn’t want to make Snapchat advertisements a priority if you work for a nursing home.

The good news is whether you own a trendy clothing boutique or a law firm, there are plenty of ways to stay relevant with the millennial generation:

  1. Establish authenticity. Millennials don’t want to feel like your brand doesn’t have personality. To many, companies should be as transparent and relatable as their peers. By planning community events in your area or sponsoring local fundraisers, you’ll be able to get out and meet your audience in-person. If you have a tight budget and events are harder to plan, be sure to experiment with Facebook live and Instagram stories. Both of these options will add some character to your brand without having to spend a dime.

  2. Hand out branded items. Let’s be real, here. Nobody loves freebies more than millennials. Whether it’s fidget spinners or PopSockets, 80% of them will keep the product for over a year. At the end of the day, they enjoy having a way to physically identify with your company and a token that proves they were at the event. Not to mention, when your brand becomes part of their daily life, they relate to you on a more personal level.

  3. Go light with the marketing. If there’s one thing millennials are better at than any other generation, it’s sniffing out phoniness and solicitation. It’s the reason why you won’t see them picking up the phone during infomercials or opening coupon mailers. With so many businesses competing for their attention, they want to feel autonomous in their purchasing decisions. Overdoing it and begging for attention will only put you on the bottom of their list.

  4. Say adiós to cold calls and print ads. Not only will millennials screen your calls, but they’re simply not interested in being solicited in such an intrusive way. They value their sense of space, and when you’re calling nonstop or bombarding them with letters in the mail, they’ll be wishing they invested in a brand repellent.

  5. Collaborate with influencers. Social media isn’t just affecting the way we connect with our friends and family, it’s completely revolutionizing the way we shop online. In fact, non-celebrity social media influencers like Casey Neistat and or Kandee Johnson are 10 times more likely to encourage in-store purchases. Reach out to your industry’s most influential social media superstars. It could transform your brand!

What Millennials Value

Everyone thinks the products in their shop are revolutionary. Yes, other companies make something similar, but yours is different! Sound familiar?

The truth is, unless you’re in an incredibly niche industry, someone is probably already doing what you do. It’s more important than ever to think outside of the box and brainstorm how your company is going to actually impact the lives of your customers, not just how you’re going to get them to buy from you.

Of the things millennials value the most, corporate social responsibility is one of the most important. According to the American Marketing Association, 70% of them will spend more money on brands who support causes they care about. If your industry is plagued by self-interested businesses, try incorporating philanthropy into your business model. How can your brand make the world a better place?

In addition to making your customers feel good about shopping with you, it’s important to have the same impact on your employees. Consider putting together an employee welcome kit for all new hires and have it ready on their desk. Whether you include custom water bottles or cell phone wallets, the fun swag they receive on their first day is sure make them feel appreciated.

Promotional Products for Millennials

Custom pens or stress balls are great marketing materials for any business, but if you’re aiming to impress a younger crowd, you’ll want to do something a little more unique. One of the best ways to reach them is by offering retail-inspired items.

Take a look at some of our favorites!

Whether you’re a small startup or you’ve been around for 15 years, don’t miss out on marketing to one of the biggest groups of consumers in the United States. By going the extra mile and creating unique content, you’re showing your brand is compassionate, relevant, and worthy of being purchased from. Who knows, you might end up being the next hit brand millennials go wild about on Instagram! Make sure you’re prepared for your next marketing campaign by stocking up on modern promotional products that will keep your company relevant and fresh.


Ames, E. (n.d.). Millennial Demand for Corporate Social Responsibility Drives Change in Brand Strategies. Retrieved May 15, 2018, from

Fry, R. (2018, March 01). Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. Retrieved May 15, 2018, from

The 10 Millennial Marketing Statistics Every CMO Must Know. (2017, March 16). Retrieved May 15, 2018, from

Vaughan, C. (2018, March 16). Non-Celeb Influencers 10 Times More Likely to Drive In-Store Purchases. Retrieved May 15, 2018, from

Who Are Millennials. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2018, from

About the author

Kelsey Skager

Kelsey is a master of promotional products with over five years of marketing and industry experience. She is proud to have been featured on ABC 7 Chicago News and NPR.