03.04.20164 min read

Marketing to Millennials Without Breaking the Bank

Guest post by Julie Hartwell

The Millennial generation is coming into its own as consumers. It’s an exciting time for marketers, as the entrance of these tech-savvy young’uns ushers in a slew of marketing opportunities.  Here are a handful of low-cost options for marketing to millennials.

Social Media

From Twitter to Vine, Facebook to Reddit, social media has entrenched itself in the heart of digital culture. Thus, social media marketing has earned its place in the heart of marketing strategy. Engaging young consumers through these platforms is easy because they’re open to the public. You can advertise products and promotions while simultaneously learning about and interacting with your target audience.

While most of the major social media outlets have paid options for marketers, it’s possible to simply participate as an individual (say, your social media director or even CEO). This makes social media the number one free method of marketing to any age group, but especially to Millennials, who have firmly embraced social media.

Viral Marketing

One of the best methods of marketing to millennials is to embrace viral marketing. Put your brand personality to the test by embarking on a marketing campaign that sparks conversation. Viral marketing evokes the image of a spreading disease, which is pretty much the kind of coverage this word-of-mouth marketing hopes to achieve. Reliant on viewers to spread the word of its content, viral marketing is a powerful way to utilize social media to its fullest potential.

Viral marketing tends to be cheaper to produce than guerilla marketing because, if done well, requires comparatively little effort. Aside from content creation and the base of its shares, it will (theoretically) take on a life of its own and run rampant. Some successful examples of viral campaigns are the Harvey Dent “political candidate” website released as an advertisement for the movie The Dark Knight in 2008 and “Subservient Chicken” website Burger King set up in 2004.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing draws on the idea of guerilla warfare, which is characterized by combatants not identifying themselves and hiding in plain sight. It also alludes to the tactics of striking quickly in unexpected places before melting back into the crowd. In marketing, this usually means advertising in unexpected places, often using objects or places in creative ways to advertise a product or service. Guerilla campaigns are all about placement and catching attention. Study some examples of guerilla marketing to help stir up some ideas about what you can do to make your company intriguing to passers-by. One of the best examples to look up is the live bacteria sign made for the 2011 movie, Contagion.


Promotional materials are nothing new. Nonetheless, they remain as a powerful way to advertise. The first step is to keep up with what materials are going to get the most use. T-shirts are always a good choice, especially if delivered via t-shirt cannon at a concert or festival. But some of the best and cheapest products haven’t been around as long, like smartphone cases. Choose what you hand out carefully and be sure it’s designed with young folks in mind. The more of-the-moment your design is, the more likely you are to see your products being used and worn in public.

There are fewer more valuable endorsements you can get than seeing someone advertise for your company for free. Young consumers have grown up in an environment of advertising, so they expect a lot from marketing campaigns. Luckily, creativity is free, so you can boost your business with little more than a neat idea and a some elbow grease. Put some heart and humor into any of these tactics to catch the eye of the youngest consumers out there. 

About the Author

Julie Hartwell big ideas blog

Julie Hartwell is a marketing specialist and artist. She loves that creative marketing with a sense of character is becoming the centerpiece of so many campaigns.


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