Not so fast.
Just when you think you know your B2B buying audience; it’s changed. In the two years from 2012 to 2014, millennials became the biggest researchers of business-to-business purchases.
In 2012 millennials made up 27% of B2B purchasers. By 2014, millennials made up almost half of B2B buying decision makers at 46%. (Source: Adage article, Google Says Millennial Influence on the Rise in B2B Buying)
Why should you care?
1. Millennials have different values than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.
That means you need a different marketing approach. Millennials value happiness, passion, diversity, sharing, and discovery. This is a big change from older generations who value justice, integrity, family, practicality, and duty. B2B marketing needs to be transparent, and the human side of a company’s story needs to come out. Millennials’ need for discovery means that you should openly share information and provide interesting, helpful and engaging content.
2. Millennials use technology differently than other generations.
Technology, specifically your website’s presence on mobile devices and your use of video, can make a difference.
Now almost 40% of B2B purchasers use mobile devices to buy products and services and more than half of millennials use them to research their purchase (Acquity Group State of B2B Procurement study).
According to Google, 70% of those researching b-to-b products and services use video in making their decision. That’s an increase from 46% in 2012. In 2014 more than 895,000 hours of B2B brand YouTube videos were watched (Adage article, Google Says Millennial Influence on the Rise in B2B Buying).
Pay attention to response time on your website and ease of navigation. Make sure you are using the most current technology and website design so that you don’t appear outdated. Make sure your website is responsive so that millennials can easily view it on their mobile devices.
3. Millennials have higher expectations for the customer experience.
Studies and behavior show that millennials expect easy-to-use decision-making tools, fast response, and stellar product or service experience. This means you should have a great website that is easy to navigate on all devices and a highly responsive sales and service process. And, despite millennials’ focus on technology, they also want face time and collaboration, so you need to engage with them. For more information, read this Forbes article, 7 Ways To Serve — And Keep — Millennial Customers.
4. Many marketers think millennials need to grow up and become like us.
The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) published an article titled 3 Pervasive Myths about Millennials. One of the things they explain in the article is that too many marketers are dismissive of millennials and are just waiting for them to “grow up and “be just like us.” The authors point out that this is not going to happen – millennials are different. So, we need to stop looking down our noses at millennials, despising them for being “lazy” and “entitled,” show some respect and start to meet them where they are: the generation with the biggest B2B purchasing power now and in the near future. For more information on the millennial mind, see the CEB infographic below.
Step up your game with technology, expand your presence on social media, post videos on YouTube and photos on Instagram that speak to this generation. Be transparent and authentic in your marketing – millennials see through hype. Show your value and make sure your service is exemplary.
If you need a plan to more effectively reach your buyers, including millennials, contact New Incite today. Since 1998 we’ve been providing marketing plans and marketing execution to get results for our clients.
Millennials Photo on Flickr by ITU Pictures, Some Rights Reserved.