Millennials. There’s 13 million of them, and for the past 10 years they have been your most important consumer group. If you are a marketer belonging to an older generation, you’ve probably put yourself in their shoes, examined their values and concerns, and decided that none of it makes any sense.
Indeed, as a collective, they are a perplexing bunch. The only points that experts seem to agree on is that they are a very sociable lot and that they like to mix things up, merrily scrambling values that have served other generations well and frequently putting the cart before the horse.
And now, as if they weren’t difficult enough as consumers, some of them are in a position to make business-related purchase decisions.
To help you make sense of this increasingly important – and sometimes confusing – B2B demographic, we have taken a close look at this generation in the hope that we can identify patterns that would be useful in the development of a B2B marketing strategy. We came away with these insights.
While C-Suite executives continue to be the most important B2B marketing decision makers, Millennials are often the ones researching vendors and products. As digital natives, they are frequently seen as the best employees to evaluate tech and IT solutions, and it is often their recommendations that get the thumbs up from directors. This pattern of involvement makes it particularly important to attract them with top-of-funnel content designed for the awareness stage of their personas’buyer journeys – defined here by HubSpot.
According to a recent IBM study, the biggest difference between millennial B2B buyers and their predecessors is their focus on the experience of working with brands. While Gen X makes purchase decisions based on the quality of products and services, millennials are looking for vendors who offer a great client experience. For many members of Gen Y, this will mean going with a brand that shares their values, and businesses that have already positioned themselves as the champions of a noble cause will appeal to this increasingly important group.
It’s no surprise that Millennials have an appetite for all things digital. As a result, they tend to go looking for information on search engines like Google and the various social media networks. This preference for platforms like Twitter and Facebook is fortuitous as your social media networks play a central role at the top of your sales funnel. Note that even though Gen Y uses LinkedIn for networking, they are not nearly as active on this platform as they are on Facebook. Your B2B marketing strategy should leverage favored networks to create the greatest number of inroads.
Millennials prefer to see how something works, and they have a preference for demo videos, case studies, and product reviews. This has great implications for the content you intend to use in your B2B marketing strategy. While, for now, it might suffice to produce only top-of-funnel and middle-of-funnel content in these formats, there will come a time when Millennials enter upper management. Ebooks that worked so well with Gen X and Baby Boomer decision-makers might not have as much appeal for Millennials in similar positions, given their preference for multimedia.