How to Market to Millennials

Millennial purchasing power has always been incredibly strong; in 2020 in the US alone this group represented approximately $1.4 trillion in disposable income. And now that the audience has grown up – the oldest members of this cohort turn 40 in 2021 –  drink sellers are being left behind if they don’t specifically target this digital-native, socially-conscious, experience-driven consumer segment.

A recent survey found that members of this uniquely talked-about generation each spend an average of $300 a month on alcohol. But what are they drinking, exactly, and what can it mean for your brand? These six data-backed facts offer fascinating insights on the leading millennial drinking trends, providing clear guidance that will help your brand approach this lucrative target audience.

1. Promote individuality: Offer opportunities for co-creation and self-expression

Millennials have been called self-absorbed many times, but really they’re just aware and have expectations to match, as conscious consumers should be. When it comes to their purchasing habits, nearly 40% of millennials state that self-expression is essential. They’ll choose to buy from brands that embody their values and who let the world know who they are and what they stand for.

Here at Ripples we’ve found that User-Generated Content (UGC) created by customers themselves using the Ripples Web App has significant added value. Add your brand’s logo as a frame, and your messaging reach will be exponentially greater.

2. Try everything once: Encourage their taste for exploration

Millennials are explorers by nature, and their drinking habits are a clear reflection of that curiosity. This means they aren’t necessarily loyal to a single brand. 65% tend to try more than three types of alcohol. Cocktails that blend different flavors are perfect for the generation that includes nearly 60% of self-declared foodies. Don’t be afraid to showcase an unknown spirit in your craft cocktails or to feature an out-of-the-norm ingredient or flavor profile. Millennials are more experimental than older generations, and will appreciate a guided introduction to the unknown.

3. Stay healthy: highlight nutrition and well-being

If the previous millennial drinking trends made it seem like this generation is only focused on superficial things – think again. Millennials are considered the most health and well-being-focused generation, bringing great focus to the nutritional value of the food and drinks they consume. They actively seek organic or natural ingredients and take the time to investigate the source of whatever is on their plates and in their cups. Be sure to emphasize this information and emphasize your healthy options.

4. Social drinking: amplify your social media reach

One of the biggest tips we have for you with your social media marketing is to focus your efforts on the platforms where your  customers spend the most time. If you’re targeting millennials and Gen Z, that means Instagram. And what are they sharing? F&B content is high on the millennial list of topics. More than 50% talk about drinks on social media and almost 70% have posted images of their food and drinks on social networks.

For brands and businesses offering beverages, this means that making your drink share-worthy is critical. And if you use the full power of the Ripples platform and its branding and personalization tools (see tip number one), your millennial audience will share their printed drinks with their own social media networks – further amplifying your reach. This is today’s most effective word-of-mouth marketing tool, and you want to make sure that your drinks are pretty, creative, and fun to look at.

Ride the millennial drinking trend, turn visitors into ambassadors, and increase your customer base in the most authentic way.

5. A toast to tech: Technology-driven drinking is a millennial drinking trend

This generation appreciates innovation and respects the brands that can use it well. Millennial customers are always happy to discover new technologies and use them to enhance their drinking experience.  

Some top alcohol and coffee brands embrace a traditional approach that protects their legacy. While this is important, brands should also find a way to be more innovative and let millennial customers know that their brand isn’t lagging technologically. Printed beverages and the technology enabling them can do that without interfering with the drink’s preparation process, offering something for every generation.  

6. A sip of coffee: Think about millennial’s coffee drinking habits

Our article may be focused on alcoholic beverages, but we can’t discuss the leading millennial drinking trends without a word or two on coffee. The generation that accounts for nearly half of today’s US coffee consumption brings many of their alcohol drinking traits to coffee drinking. Millennials want their coffee consumption experiences to be exceptional and healthy, creative and innovative. Around 60% consume specialty, gourmet coffee, for example. This makes the above lessons relevant for coffee-related businesses and not just alcohol ones. 

These millennials drinking trends are not all surprising, but they sure are fascinating. They paint a picture of a tough, determined crowd that knows its value and needs. Now, take that picture and print it on a foamy beverage to give your millennial customers a drink like no other.