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As Millennials—the generation born in the US between 1980 and 2000—gain greater buying power and increasingly influence commerce, marketers and brand managers are looking for new ways to engage them.

Developing a Millennials-focused marketing strategy is a must: They are, after all, the largest generation by number, comprising 79 million people, and they already have enormous purchasing power—$170 billion per year.

Like the generations that came before them, Millennials have unique generational characteristics; successfully marketing to Millennials therefore involves a shift in tactics and strategy. It requires an understanding of what works with this generation—and what doesn't.

Here are six ways you can develop a more effective approach with Millennials.

1. Redirect your online advertising budget

Many marketers assume that because Millennials are frequently online, online ads are the best way to reach them. But a 2013 survey by SocialChorus (my company) found that just 6% of Millennials trust traditional online ads. In fact, Millennials are incredibly adept at ignoring online ads, with many reporting that the ads have become completely invisible to them.

To reach Millennials, redirect the portion of your marketing budget invested in traditional online ads to something that works.

2. Understand—and harness—Millennials' social media sharing tendencies

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image of Dave Hawley

Dave Hawley is VP of marketing at advocate marketing solution SocialChorus.

LinkedIn: Dave Hawley

Twitter: @DaveHawley33