The Marketing Tactic to Win Over Millennial Consumers

People are often surprised to hear that millennials are using coupons at a faster clip rate than older generations. If your brand wants to tap into the massive buying power of the millennial generation, you need to think about how to use discounts to lure them your way.

Keep reading for creative ways to market your brand to millennials using coupons.

Why care about millennial consumers?

According to Dealspotr’s 2017 Millennial Shopper Survey, millennials:

  • Will represent 30 percent of total U.S. retail sales by 2020
  • Count price and value as most important factors in their decision to shop with a particular brand. For fashion brands, millennials even count this as more important than style (70 percent vs. 43 percent)
  • Rate promo code availability as one of the most compelling reasons they start shopping with new brands


One of the best strategies for acquiring new millennial-aged customers is with discount codes. And if you want to keep them around, your brand has to consistently provide value for the lowest price possible.

Related: How to Optimize E-Commerce for Millennials

7 ways marketers can target millennials with coupons

1. Let them clip or click, wherever they are

Millennials seek out promo codes from a wide range of venues. According to a 2016 report from Valassis, they’re just as likely to find a coupon through a brand’s website, as from a search engine or a coupon aggregator. But for all their time spent online, millennials still prefer to purchase in-store. Yet, 43 percent check for discounts on their phone while they’re there.

While millennials are just as happy to use paper coupons as digital ones, their adoption of online discounts is growing because they’re so smartphone-savvy. Nearly half of millennials increased their online discount use year over year. They’re outpacing every other generation with their adoption of paperless discounts:


What does this mean for your brand? Wherever your millennial customers are, you need to be there with a coupon. Make discounts highly visible on your homepage and throughout your site via a banner. List coupons on aggregator sites like, directories like Yelp, and social media. And don’t forget cash-back apps like Ebates or Ibotta (75 to 80 percent of their users are under age 35).

2. Promote coupons through influencers

Millennials use coupons not only at the point of purchase, but also to plan what items they’ll buy and where they’ll shop in the first place.

Millennials value and seek out recommendations from influencers above those from family and friends. If they find out about your brand from their favorite Instagram star, and that star has a coupon to share, they’ll be more likely to try on your brand.

Millennials are equal-opportunity savers, meaning they’ll search for coupons on websites, in the mail and on social media. Social media influencers help millennials find your brand when they haven’t heard of you yet.

There are tons of influencer marketplaces to use when searching for an influencer to promote your code, and most are used to doing this type of work already.

3. Add QR codes in store

Millennials like purchasing in-store. Don’t let that change! From last-minute decisions at checkout to simply seeing more products in person, in-store purchases drive checkout totals up and returns down.

A quarter of millennials actually prefer QR codes to mail coupons. Place QR codes throughout your store so millennials are rewarded for coming in with exclusive, steeper discounts. This reinforces the idea that the best deals can be found at your store, while also encouraging those extra sales that come with foot traffic.

These hyper-localized coupons boast extremely high redemption rates, as high as 60 percent for some brands, according to Juniper Research. They predict that beacon technology will deliver 1.6 billion coupons annually by 2020.

4. Offer in-app coupons

A great use for that localized technology is through your brand app. Ping users when they’re nearby with your latest discounts, or send push notifications through your app to get them to come in in the first place.

If you want to take it up a notch, you might even consider partnering with other brands to share discounts for them, too. These could be affiliates, or complementary brands you partner with on webinars and at events.

For example, last year Target incorporated third-party coupons into its Cartwheel app, so users could combine those with their Target discounts. This cements customer loyalty and increases purchases because it saves them the hassle of printing off or scanning separate couponing sites before their shopping trips. At the same time, it establishes Target as a trusted brand that gives customers access to the best deals, even if they’re not their own. For a generation that appreciates genuine value, this is a winning strategy.

5. Email your coupons

According to CouponFollow’s 2017 Millennial Money Report, 76 percent of millennials will wait for discounts before making a large purchase, and over half will wait for even a small purchase. That means you need to give them a push if you want them to buy now.

This is where your cart abandonment emails come in. However, you can do more besides offer a desperate coupon once they’ve already left your site. You should also be frequently emailing millennials with valuable offers. Mix it up with different discounts, exclusive items, and more to avoid discount fatigue – but don’t be afraid to email millennials.

Seventy three percent of millennials actually prefer brands communicate with them this way, and the main reason why is because they like receiving discounts.

For best success with your email communications, remember that millennials crave and expect personalization from brands. Tailor your upcoming discount offers based on previous items they’ve bought before. Include images of the items they left in their cart in your cart abandonment email. Announce new product lines that they’re likely to be interested in.

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6. Share promo codes via snail mail

Perhaps just as surprising as their penchant to shop in-store, the vast majority of millennials (73 percent) still find discounts from newspapers and direct mail. Send your customers print coupons with promo codes they can use online or in-store.

But don’t just send any old paper coupon. It turns out, affluents and millennials share many of the same purchasing and couponing characteristics. For instance, 79 percent and 78 percent, respectively use coupon codes from print materials online. That’s why digitally-started brands like Casper have started reaching out to customers with fancy mail promo codes.


7. Always be on sale

In the same 2017 Millennial Money Report, 69 percent of millennials agree that discount availability affects their loyalty to a brand, so always offer something if you want to keep them paying attention.

You can switch things up by offering different types of discounts, social media flash sales, 2-for-1 offers, free samples and free shipping promotions.

Remember that millennials are willing to put in the work to score a deal. They’ll download your app. They’ll subscribe to your email list. They’ll even share information about themselves, to ensure their offer is personalized. Use this to your advantage.


If your brand wants to target millennials, then offer promo codes far and wide. Use paper coupons, social media influencers, QR codes, mobile apps, email, direct mailers and more.

As millennials age, their purchasing power will only expand, as they begin shopping for others besides themselves, including their spouses, their children, and elderly parents they’re caring for. Get in with this generation now through strategic coupon marketing.

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