Get All Access for $5/mo

How to Market to Millennials in 2019 Here's a hint: Milliennials are no longer kids.

By Cheryl Snapp Conner Edited by Heather Wilkerson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Westend61 | Getty Images

The time has passed for curmudgeon outrage over avocado toast. "Millennials" is now just a loaded epithet for "adults under 40." They're buying houses, establishing careers and raising a new generation of kids.

As such, their needs are evolving. "The oldest millennials are starting to think about what their next stage of life looks like and making decisions that look more similar to what we'd expect that age group to do," writes Jeannette Chapman, economic researcher and deputy director of George Mason University's Stephen S. Fuller Institute. "They're growing up."

That means it's time for our marketing campaigns for millennials to rev up a little bit as well.

Related: 5 Ways to Market to That Fickle Group Called Millennials

Urban chic gives way to quieter, more affordable homes.

One of the millennials' major life decisions now is where to live as they approach middle life. Ten years ago, they went against the grain of previous generations by championing high-density urban living. But after years of gentrification and skyrocketing costs -- let alone the onset of parenting -- millennials are starting to look out of town.

Based on a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, financial company SmartAsset says millennials are moving to places like Dallas, Norfolk and Colorado Springs instead of urban hubs like New York, San Francisco and, increasingly, Denver. Instinctively pairing millennials with urban bourgeois imagery may no longer fit. Instead, consider planning your marketing strategies for smaller, quieter cities and even suburban locales.

Tech-enriched homes should aim for smart, not flashy.

Despite a love/hate relationship with technology, the current consensus among adults under 40, according to Deloitte, is that the benefits of tech fixations like personal devices and social media outweigh the costs.

Millennials aren't seeking tech for tech's sake, the way their dads ogled Sharper Image catalogs in the "80s. According to Deloitte, they want to spend their money where it will enrich their lives and make things easier, especially considering the "macroeconomic and day-to-day anxieties weighing on millennials' minds" and their "bleak expectations for the economy."

Related: Millennials: A Generation Seeking More

Updating marketing strategies to reflect these sensibilities will give you more pull with hyper-informed and selective millennial customers. Aim for up-to-date offerings that are also practical, especially for tech.

Trade optimistic fantasy for supportive empathy.

The millennial workforce is more diverse in race and gender than previous generations and is now second only to Baby Boomers in size. They're better educated than previous generations, with more than twice as many college degrees compared to the Silent Generation, according to Pew. But being big, diverse and better educated has not given them an economic edge. They're actually lower in wealth than Boomers were at similar ages, thanks to factors like the Great Recession.

Related: 3 Tips to Keep Millennials Engaged

This alludes again to the economic anxieties cited in Deloitte's research. Empathizing with the precarious, demanding economic situations adults under 40 now face should help to set the tone for your marketing efforts. The optimistic wanderlust and escapist FOMO of early social media influencer strategies are holding less sway as the millennial audience grows more realistic and mature. Instead, play to the sensibilities of educated and plugged-in adults with increasing responsibilities and little support.

In summary, marketing to millennials used to be tricky. Their youthfulness and tech-savvy ways kept us on our toes as we redefined authenticity and sought new and fresher ways to bring brand identities to life. While these needs still apply, adults under 40 are revealing themselves to be regular adults after all, with grounded and sensible needs. There's a set of new opportunities emerging for conversations about what it means to live in a world of new requirements and how today's savviest brands and services can help.

Cheryl Snapp Conner

CEO of SnappConner PR

Cheryl Snapp Conner is founder and CEO of SnappConner PR and creator of Content University™. She is a speaker, author and national columnist and a specialist in public-relations strategy, crisis communications, thought leadership, entrepreneurship and business communications.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.

Leadership

This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.

Leadership

Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.