As Kaepernick Nike Ad Proves, Marketing to Millennials is a Must, Even for Small Businesses - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

By 2020, spending by millennials in the United States is projected to reach $1.4 trillion annually. That amount is more than double the $600 billion this consumer demographic is shelling out now each year, according to global tech and consulting giant Accenture. Simultaneously, millennials have eclipsed baby boomers as America’s largest generation, surpassing 83 million and making up more than a quarter of Americans, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show. The data provide compelling reasons why marketing to millennials is so crucial.

Catering to millennials is something, presumably, of which even Nike is acutely aware. The athletic apparel company recently featured controversial athlete Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign, sparking outrage from some corners of the internet, and cheers from others—particularly the online communities where millennials reside in vast numbers.

Many lauded Nike’s support of Kaepernick, who was thrust into the spotlight for kneeling while the national anthem played before a football game, as progressive. However, shrewd marketers and industry analysts claim that banking on Kaepernick is a power move for Nike’s bottom line. A report shows that Nike is one of millennials’ favorite brands.

Yet, despite the vastness of that generation and its enormous spending power, a 2015 report from Manta reveals that just 15% of small businesses across all industries market to millennial buyers, meaning roughly 85% of them are not targeting to this large consumer audience with powerful buying power.

Further, millennials are the most racially diverse generation in American history, making them potentially attractive to many types of small businesses. Findings from the Pew Research Center shows that 43% of millennials are non-white, the largest share of any generation. And more than 8 in 10 of them say they now have enough money to live how they want or expect to do so in the future.

To help make your business more competitive and attractive to millennials, here are tips to make your small business more appealing to this younger demographic group.

Marketing to Millennials – Tips for Small Business 

Utilize Social Media

Have more than just a website. Ensure your business has a social media presence, given the multiple platforms to choose from. Be sure to regularly update your firm’s social media accounts to increase visibility and exposure. Don’t be afraid to develop content that millennials support and find interesting.

Help Millennials Stay Connected

Consider providing customer Wi-Fi and other conveniences. Help them share their recommendations with family and friends.

Make your Website Adaptable with Mobile Devices

Millennials are tech-savvy and love mobile devices. They use smartphones and other mobile devices to search and buy goods and services online. Make changes to your site if necessary to cater to millennial shoppers.

Be Social and Where Millennials Are

Be sure your business has a presence on the platforms where your audience often visits. Engage with millennials, respond to their comments, and converse with them to help establish and build relationships. They may be more enticed to buy from your business if they have an emotional attachment to it.

Use Promotions

Offer coupons and discounts that are relevant to millennials. Remember, this generation likes great bargains.

Promote What People Care About

Millennials are big supporters of businesses that are socially responsible. They often support causes and missions that affect people and enhance their quality of life. Showcasing that aspect of your business could help win the attention of millennials.

Give Them a Reason to Shop at Your Business

Don’t be afraid to promote your business and provide reasons why millennials should shop there.

Join the Conversation

Jeffrey McKinney

Jeffrey McKinney is a long-time freelance business writer and reporter, contributing to Black Enterprise magazine for several years on broad range of business and financial topics. He also writes regularly for Franchise Times, a highly regarded publication covering the franchise industry.


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