Millennials in Print Marketing: A Look At How They Work

Millennial – while the term may be synonymous with technology-and-wine-driven young people, it’s more appropriate to view this generation as a force to be reckoned with in every industry, including print.

To better define millennials, they’re the generation of young adults born between 1980 and 2000 – their size exceeds past generations with 83.1 million people representing more than one quarter of the population. This group possesses over $200 billion in direct spending power per year. Moreover, it is estimated that millennial consumerism will surge to an estimated $1.4 trillion annually by 2020.

Jeff Fromm, FutureCast President and millennial marketing expert, defines the Millennial Mindset in six categories: social circle, self, innovative, trusted, purposeful and accessible. In a recent seminar, Fromm explained the extensiveness of motivation for millennial’s stated and derived importance: what millennials say is important versus the money that they spend on a brand to express importance.

This seminar, while intended to help B2B companies, made us think about millennials in a different light. As millennials come into the workforce and baby boomers phase out, many millennials are occupying positions such as print buyers, design directors, and planning and allocation specialists in various retail development roles.

We recognize that working with millennials to produce print products is different from what we’re used to, so we’ve altered Fromm’s millennial mindset to rethink how we interact with this new generation of print professionals.

Social Circle:

While many millennials might not jump at the opportunity to discuss large format printing within their social circle, print professionals crave collaboration. Fromm explained that the ABC of working with millennials is Always Be Collaborating.

When scheduling meetings with clients, our sales executives work to include team members of all levels. Bridget Suarez, Custom Color Account Executive, makes a spot at the table for millennials because “they’re authentic and they care more about what others feel about the brand than what the brand thinks about itself.” Even print professionals new to the industry can contribute quality feedback and suggestions that add fresh new perspectives to old printing principles.

Self:

Brands that build an emotional connection with millennial consumers have better brand performance – the same is true when interacting with millennial consumers that are representing their companies. Utility is important to millennial employees. We value our millennial customers by providing customized experiences through research and development, facility tours and showing our loyalty to their brands.

Innovative:

Millennial consumers want novelty, efficiency and effectiveness in product innovation. One of our motivators at Custom Color is to make store-level install as easy and as seamless as possible. Using silicone edge graphics and fabric frames provides an effective, high quality aesthetic that requires effortless install, which in-turn increases store efficiencies. Whether store managers or store associates, millennials across the retail spectrum appreciate the innovation of SEG Graphics. 

Creative is key with millennials. To millennials, creative means more than being artistic, it means solving problems, exuding expression, being successful and producing new ideas. This group of young consumers expect brands to appeal to them creatively. Through our Research & Development process, we continue to create innovative and unique print solutions – our millennial employees serve as a constant reminder to make sure our inventions are “on fleek.”

Trusted:

Millennials are unconvinced by advertising – they are so skeptical that only about 1% of millennials claim that a compelling ad influences them. When discussing our services with millennial print professionals, we’ve found that they want data.

Because of this, we’re taking the time to compile the numbers that they need. A catchy song and commercial might make them contact us, but we’re betting that our statistics impress them more: 1.5 million kits distributed with over 99.95% accuracy, thousands of vehicles wrapped, and over 15,200 jobs in the past 12 months.

Purposeful:

Millennials want brands to possess purpose. Companies that are good to the world and that are committed to making earth a better place will stand out to millennial consumers.

One aspect that millennial print professionals appreciate is that Custom Color strives to be as environmentally conscious as possible. The ink used by our three HP 3500 latex presses contains no Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), are nickel free and have obtained Greenguard Gold and Ecologo qualifications.           

Accessible:

All millennial professionals seek accessibility – after all, they have the world at their fingertips. We’ve found that by incorporating live chat into our website, we’ve made ourselves more accessible to our clients. In a meeting? Don’t want to pick up the phone? No problem, chat allows us to answer questions, share photos and ideas and work with customers to place orders.

Millennials yearn to be more than “media-connected,” “savvy” or “technology junkies”– they want to be treated like the purchasing superpower that they are. At Custom Color, we will continue to evaluate our strategies to accommodate the millennial print professionals that we work with.


Jason Milbourne is the Vice President at Custom Color Corp. A designer, pre-press connoisseur, and Royals fanatic by day and a fantasy baseball pro and taco and craft beer arbitrator by night, Jason loves all things fun and crazy….just like his hair. Connect with him on LinkedIn, but don’t follow him on Instagram, because he won’t follow back.