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Marketing to Young Adults: What Factors to Consider

As lyrically stated by Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changin'. Millennials are aging into the primary target market for most small businesses and we're forced to make marketing adjustments in order to catch their attention. Practices that use to catch the attention of consumers are no longer working and technology has taken over the playing field.  

So, as a business owner, how do you adjust?

In this week'd article, guest blogger Helen Cartwright is going to tell you how to do just that.  Helen has years of experience blogging about digital marketing and technology and we are excited to welcome her to the Staylisted blog this week. 

Today’s young adults are not your typical consumer. Many of these individuals were born in the early 1990's, and they never knew a time without computers, microwaves or phones that did not have to be wired to the wall. These are tech-savvy individuals who can easily find out any information that they want with a simple Internet search, and they are much more connected than previous generations. When you have identified young adults as your target audience, you understandably need to find an effective way to reach out to these individuals. More than that, you need to grab their attention and convince them to make a purchase. As you might imagine, marketing to today’s young adults is substantially different than it was in previous years. These are some of the critical steps that you need to take to effectively reach out to this target audience today.

Understand the Consumer

Marketing to Young Adults

As is the case for any type of marketing campaign, you must understand who the consumer is and why they may use your product or service. It is easy to lump young adults together, but this is an error in judgment. Some young adults are just starting out in life, and they may be immersed in the college experience. Others may have already graduated and may now be buying a home, a car or other large items for the first time. These consumers may have different interests, such as in having a good-time and living life to the fullest, protecting the environment, fighting for social injustice and more. In some cases, your target audience may be broad, and you may need to find a way to appeal to the masses in this age group. For example, you may need to create multiple marketing messages that each target different segments. In other cases, your target audience may include only a narrow segment of individuals in the young adult group.

Create Exceptional Products

Some companies create products that they intend to sell to a young adult audience, but they fail to understand the lifestyle and needs of this target audience. Exceptional products must address needs or must appeal to their fear of being left out. You should test your products carefully in various focus groups and studies before introducing them to the marketplace. Study how consumers will use the products in specific ways. You can then use this information to formulate marketing campaigns that drive need.

Choose Marketing Platforms Carefully

Marketing platform Differences

Image Source

It is not enough to simply identify a message to relay in your marketing efforts. You also need to know which marketing platforms are most ideal for reaching your target audience. For example, many of today’s young adults do not watch cable television. Streaming video may be more common. They also may not listen to the radio regularly, and instead, they may get music through streaming audio services. Social media is also vitally important when marketing to young adults. Remember that some platforms may be more well-suited for using when marketing specific types of products than others. For example, home décor products may be marketed effectively on Shopify or Pinterest. Cars may be marketed on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Use Videos Creatively

Today’s young adults love to watch videos on mobile devices, and they also love to share interesting or funny videos with friends and family members. If you intend to market your products or services to young adults, creating short videos is a smart idea. Remember that these videos must grab the audience’s attention quickly and must get right to the point. Do not expect the audience to sit through a video that is more than a minute or two in length. When videos are interesting or creative, they may potentially go viral by being shared many times over, and this works in your favor substantially.

Communicate Interactively

Because social media marketing is essential when you are reaching out to young adults, you need to understand the importance of two-way communication on many of these platforms. Regularly monitor comments on your profile and on profiles that have tagged your own profile. Communicate directly with both positive and negative comments. Remember to use a voice that is appropriate for the target audience, but also keep the tone professional and respectful. This step can take a considerable amount of time because of the many comments that may be made online about your company or products in a given day. Setting alerts or notifications is a smart idea.

Streamline the Customer Experience

streamline the customer experience

 When marketing to young adults, remember that these individuals live in a world of instant gratification. They generally do not want to jump through hoops to make a purchase or even to reach out to you for more information unless necessary. As you develop exciting and engaging marketing material for this age group, refine your customer experience and sales process so that your target audience can complete the desired action very quickly and easily. One way to accomplish this goal is to create a direct link on your marketing material to the page on your website that relates to the product that you want them to purchase. This page should be well-designed so that a one-click process initiates the final steps to purchase the product. All information that they need to make an informed decision ideally will be located on this page as well.


As you can see, marketing effectively to young adults is rather straightforward when you have the right strategy in mind. Regardless of the target audience that you want to reach out to, you need to understand who your audience is, what they want and how to reach them. Young adults today live in a world of instant gratification and immediate knowledge. They expect to be engaged in memorable ways and may be bombarded by multiple messages within a very short period of time. Turn your attention to these critical tips if you want to reach out to young adults most effectively with your marketing efforts.

Helen Cartwright

Helen Cartwright is a passionate blogger and content manager at studyclerk.com, who excels in the Digital Marketing and Technology niche. When not wired in marketing strategies she ghost-write for a variety of authors who have their work published on leading online media channels such as The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com.

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