How To Engage Millennials With Promotional Products

‘They are accused of being entitled and narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused and lazy - but entitled is the big one.’ - Simon Sinek

Millennials. The most important generation at the moment. The toughest to manage. And, as Simon Sinek (a well-known author of bestseller ‘Start with Why’) said in his interview: ‘They are accused of being entitled and narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused and lazy - but entitled is the big one.’ Are they all that bad? Of course not. They are also open-minded, future-oriented and inspiring. This generation changes our understanding of workplaces, leadership, education, and economy.

Who are they and what’s special about them?
Everyone who was born between 1980’s and 1996 is considered a millennial. This is a generation of individualists: they want to be independent, they want to be the ones setting trends.

But what’s even more important - they are skeptics and being born into a society driven by business competition, they don’t fall for offers as fast as we’d want them to. A brand needs to earn their trust. Often they go from global to local, preferring smaller brands to world-known giant corporations. They are very careful about what they wear, what they use and what statement do they make when associating themselves with a certain brand.

Another core characteristics of millennials are that they are totally digital. Unlike all the generations before them, millennials see the world through the lens of evergrowing technology. Less physical, more digital: user-friendly apps, quick access, ordering online, smart buttons - every digital opportunity that will make their life simpler, and their experience with the brand - enjoyable.

Millennials are tech-relying and see the world differently from any previous generation. Photo by 

Social media-oriented
It is no surprise millennials are besties with facebook, twitter, Instagram and such. This type of social connection is very important to understand and use if they are your target audience. Also, social networks work magic when you need a promo campaign to go viral.  

Why target millennials and why with promotional products?
Today millennials reach the age when they want to own property, have a stable job and start a family. For marketers, it means they are ready to spend more money, and they have a great spending power.

When developing a marketing campaign to millennials, many marketers think that if they use social media every day for 5 hours minimum - that’s where they should put their efforts. But, in fact, millennials get irritated with an overwhelming amount of ads. According to PPAI research, most effective advertising channel for millennials is promotional products, when online advertising takes up only a third place.

Promotional products don’t have a negative impact and are one of the best boosters of your brand awareness. Why? Because psychologically, advertising with promotional products works differently from any other type of ad: all because of what is called a reciprocity principle. Put in simple words reciprocity principle is wanting to do something good for a good done to you. Receiving a good-quality promotional product awakens a sense of excitement, joy, and gratitude. Which, in turn, makes your brand look appealing in the eyes of your target audience.

How to reach millennials with promotional products?
Before we look at particular promotional products for millennials let’s outline a couple of principles that are important to keep in mind:
Show commitment and care. Don’t try to hard sell the brand, it will only awaken rejection and negativity towards your brand.
Engage them. Make them feel like part of something big and important. Show them that they matter and make difference.
Surprise them. Nowadays it is crucial to stand out on the market and, at the same time, it is harder and harder to do. Same goes for the promotional products industry -  whatever giveaway you have planned - make sure it will bring positive emotions and fun to your clients.
Tell a story. Remember to include a nonverbal message that goes with your product. Something that stretches beyond the physical object - an idea, a goal, a lifestyle, a purpose of your brand.

So what are the best promotional products for millennials?

What could better satisfy the 21st-century person than a tech promo product? If you are thinking Bluetooth speaker or a flash drive...well, let’s just say they’ve been on a promo market for a decade at least, so not exactly, although possible. Better yet to go wireless: charger or headphones. Another option is everyone’s favorite AR and VR. Having a bag or a T-shirt with augmented reality picture on it? Awesome! Because it actually covers so many things: it is a physical item a person carries around, it is an app in the person’s phone, and it is a go-viral thing because of all the social media shares.

Millenials are environmentally aware. Many prefer to surround themselves with eco-friendly items. And if you want to send a message to this category of millennials and position your brand as environmentally friendly, this option is the right one. But be careful, because many of the products we consider ‘eco’ are actually not. To protect your reputation and make sure your gift will be appreciated, find out more on this issue here.

Organic food, sports, positive thinking and growth strategies. Smoothies in their mugs, yoga mats on their backs and fitness trackers on their wrists. This generation enjoys health-related items, so a relevant promo item (a mug for their drink, an acrylic massager or a workout belt for a phone) is a great idea.

Whether work-related or following a dream of seeing the world - traveling is a 'must' for millennials. Some enjoy going places, while others - sharing pictures of their adventures on Instagram and Facebook. How would you like your promo product to travel all the places your client goes? Then give just the right thing: a travel kit, car tracker, universal money clip, power bank, car charger and such.

Promo gifts that make trips more comfortable will work. Photo by STIL

Millennials, like no other generation, want to feel special and unique. That is why spending your money on a custom-made promo product will pay off in full. Find out how to get the best out of a custom promo product here.

Be careful
- with apparel - if you think they are so obsessed with clothes they’d wear anything you give them - think again. Cheap cloth? Tacky logo? No, thank you. As said previously - these are people who are very careful about the statement they make with the branded stuff they use.
- with gadgets - buying cheap gadgets is a no-go. Uncertified phone or laptop accessories may damage them, and that, of course, will harm your reputation.
- with eco - before making a statement about your environmental awareness make sure your ‘eco’ choice is not actually damaging the nature.

Brands marketing to millennials should really dig into this generation’s characteristics, know their target audience and why certain things work much better for these guys than traditional advertising methods. Promotional products are among the best ways to reach millennials because they don’t arouse negative feelings like commercials and ads. Done right, promo products awake feelings of joy, surprise, and gratitude. When choosing a promo item for millennials we should keep in mind their preferences and trends they follow: from tech-related to eco-friendly to custom made unique items.


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