You’ve probably heard whispers of how the millennial generation—individuals born between 1980 and 2000—will shape the working world for years to come. And despite the hyperbole, this is actually a very hard fact.
Millennials do indeed matter, and not just because they will represent 50% of the global workforce in the next five years. They also have distinct purchasing habits—and an increasing influence over the future of B2B selling cycles.
To help modernize your B2B marketing strategy, consider the following tips for targeting, engaging, and converting millennial buyers.
1) Consider the User Experience
Described as digital natives, millennials have never known a world without the internet. Technology is so ingrained into their lives that they expect real-time access to information: on their own terms and across a multitude of devices. We all know that mobile usage is intensifying—but as a B2B tool, its power now rivals desktop.
According to a Google and Millward Brown Digital study, 42% of buyers use mobile devices during the B2B purchasing process, a 91% growth over the past two years. Whether it’s comparing prices, reading customer reviews, or contacting sellers, it’s clear that millennial buyers are using multiple devices to research products and services. They’re buying on mobile as well; purchase rates are up 22% from last year.
Whether during the research or purchase phase, Millennials demand a streamlined, omni-channel user experience that is personalized around their specific needs. And optimizing your mobile experience is a major step in the right direction.
2) Get Social
This should come as no surprise: millennials like to get social during their B2B buying process. Personal connections gathered from a company’s social presence inspire trust in millennials—more so than website content, sales copy, or other marketing collateral. And without a strong social presence, you’re virtually invisible to millennials.
Providing educational, digestible content catered around the preferences of millennials is crucial. 70% of B2B buyers view videos during the buying process and over 70% of internet users are on Facebook. Incorporating content that millennials are likely to engage with on social networks they’re most likely to visit is a no-brainer.
Maintaining an active social presence and providing digestible, educational content on social channels that millennials populate is a simple, effective way to connect.
3) Never Undervalue the Human Element
While millennials may get some flack for being constantly connected, surprisingly, they still value face time.
According to an IBM study that compared the buying behaviors of millennials with those of generation X (born between 1965 and 1979) and baby boomers (born between 1954 and 1964), the youngest generation actually preferred transparent, in-person interactions with vendor representatives during the initial research stages.
And while they may prefer direct contact, millennials can see straight through the sales pitch. In fact, they’ve probably already researched your brand and are familiar with your capabilities. They’re not calling for a casual conversation—they’re calling to explore direct solutions. Much like engaging with millennials on social, it’s important to emphasize the power of human connection. Value their time and their influence.
Millennials do want to interact. They just want to make sure they can actually trust your brand.
Trenton Reed is a Denver freelance writer and editor with a background in creative. An accomplished content marketer, copywriter, and journalist, he specializes in feature writing and all things digital. Dig deeper at www.trentonreed.com
November 23, 2015