Targeting Millennials in South Africa


We’re all familiar with the term, but do we actually understand enough about the Millennial market to create customers that appeal to each individual within the masses? 

Most brands understand that if they wish to build a company with a healthy market share, they need to invest in younger markets to ensure long term loyalty.

60% of Millennials said they are often, or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase. In other words, you’d best form a relationship with them sooner, rather than later.

So how can we appeal to a market that already distrusts anything associated with our brands? Not to worry, we’ve developed the ultimate guide to ‘marketing Millennials.’


Millennials (also known as Echo Boomers or Gen Y) are those born between the early 1980’s to the mid-1990’s, making them below the age of 35.

The term originated in an editorial by the digital magazine, “Advertising Age”, in 1993 for kids aged 11 and below.

In South Africa foe example, Millennials make up 14 million consumers or 27% of the South African population and are partly responsible for the mindset shifts that have had major impact on brands and how they position themselves within the market. 

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According to the GFK study, 84% of Millennials have completed either a secondary or some level of tertiary education compared to previous generations.

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With greater emphasis and access to education, Millennials are more self-assured and believe in controlling their own destiny. Following this sense of control, they are therefore more optimistic about their economic future. 

The CEO of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, commented that  Millennials “do have a sense of entitlement, a sense of ownership, because, after all, this is the world we were born into, and we are responsible for it.”

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The Insta Famous(ish)

Can also be known as ‘Influencers.’ Inspired by creativity and the latest fashion, they consider themselves trendsetters and espouse whatever content is going to improve their social exposure as a brand. They won’t mind dropping dollar for a killer-avo-on-toast-to-post.


Woke AF’ers

These guys are probably the most politically invested of their peers. They make it their business to know all about the current political climate.

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Technological Adopters

These kids are most likely spending their time playing on their Playstation or researching the specs on the new iPhone. They have an affinity towards anything technological that might benefit their lives, or at least entertain them.

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Over Achievers

Most likely to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or David Ogilvy, these individuals are hard workers and can be found drinking strong coffee as they work on their latest start-up concepts.

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Yes they still exist, and they still don’t like the cool kids, even though they are one. Your typical hipster enjoys wearing his/her Birkenstocks to the local farmers market, but pretends not to judge people whilst doing it.

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Allergic to gluten, but enjoys a good dose of superfoods in their morning cuppa. These users spend their downtime attending yoga classes, or telling people how becoming vegan is the new substitute for world peace.

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These Millennials spend most of their time working three jobs, trying to pay off their student debt. Even though they’re not motivated by money, politics or power, their social life means plenty to them. You can usually find them at a deep-house festival or soaking up the sun beachside.

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How to target Millennials?

1. Be Real

Millennials are one of the most tech-savvy age groups. As a result, Millennials are less likely to be influenced by traditional tactics. Brands have to rethink how to reach this audience by shifting tone and tactics to project a more inclusive, warm, conversational and honest approach i.e. no generic robotic responses or hard sells.

2. Have a Strong Purpose

Millenials are what they would call ‘woke’, or ‘woke AF’, which basically means that the youth are aware of the importance in knowing the social, political and economic climate. Campaigns like #FeesMustFall or #MeToo are proving that this generation knows when and how to take action, not just on social media.

 3. Target Households

Many Millennials still choose live at home due to a poor economy and crippling student debt. You’ll most likely find them working more than one job, or on weekends to make a little extra.

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4. Collaborate with Blogs

As a tech-savvy generation, they will often refer to friends, influencers or blogs for reliability before making a purchase. Try incorporate an influencer approach within your strategy to make sure that your best customers have the option to review your product.

5. Adopt a push-strategy on Social media

Adapt your strategy so that you’re not just posting, but rather engaging with consumers who don’t yet follow you. Try intercepting conversations that are relevant to your insightful content, and encourage those users to read your content. Remember to be authentic, and avoid the hard sell.

6. Be Inclusive

Millennials enjoy being a part of your brand, so why not include them? User Generated Content is an easy way to include consumers and make them feel a part of something bigger.

7. Follow the Technological Environment

It’s important to stay ahead of what’s popular. Platforms are constantly changing and adapting their algorithms to suit consumer needs. Millennials are at the forefront of these changes, and so should your brand if they wish to make a significant impact.

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8. Media Must Be Concise and Diversified

Short attention spans and the unique consumer characteristics of Millennials have forced marketers to think differently about content creation and storytelling. Online video has become one of the most effective forms of media. The solution isn’t to suddenly change all content to video. Instead, brands need to create multiple formats for the same content. This will help reach a far bigger audience, with more formats to choose from.

Summary (in case you’re a Millennial)…

Targeting Millennials can be tough, especially with so many diverse social sectors. However, as discussed, they are slowly becoming one of the most valuable market segments and therefore can’t be ignored. 

Whether you’re an established brand, or just starting out, it would be wise to consider revising your content strategy to start adopting these tactics.

Try stem away from traditional means of advertising, and start humanising your brand by being more inclusive and in-the-know.

Most importantly, stay active on social media if you wish to covert Millennials into loyal paying customers. Appeal to their emotional needs, and you will see a massive change in your ROI.

Social Peak