Digital natives, echo boomers, Gen Y—call them whatever you like, but no one can deny that millennials are changing the way the world works.
Marketing is one of the industries where the millennial has become a buzzword. Most marketing efforts and ads you see and hear nowadays seem to be targeting millennials. But why? Who are the millennials?
There are no exact dates when a generation starts and ends, but Pew Research Center has defined millennials as being born between 1981 and 1996. According to Merit, around 73% of B2B buyers are from this generation, making them the majority of the market.
Here's a rundown of four fast facts about millennials that matter most to B2B marketers:
Almost half of all B2B decision makers are millennials.
Millennials make up a huge percentage of the world population, but their influence in the field of B2B marketing is even bigger. Google surveyed about 15,000 researchers in 2014 and found that 46% -- almost half of the entire sample -- are comprised of millennials ages 18-34 years old.
This is reason number one for the special treatment the marketing and advertising industries are giving to the millennials. What used to be a fairly equal proportion of age groups has now shifted. This means more opportunities and tighter competition among businesses eyeing for the attention of these millennials.
Millennials are digital natives.
While computers during the early 1980’s were not as advanced as the technology we have now, this generation doesn’t know a world without technology. Sure, they're not as tech-savvy as Generation Z (commonly touted as iGen) but their exposure to technology in its early stages has made them generally more educated and data-oriented.
This is pretty clear in the data: 85% of millennials research products and services from their mobile devices, with 75% getting information from a vendor’s website. More than 80% of millennial buyers also rely on technology to keep them informed about their product choices.
Because of this, just making stuff sparkly and shiny like what they used to do in advertising won't do. You have to actually base your claims on data, and mold it into something your target customers can understand and relate with.
This also means establishing a solid presence on social media to make it easier for your target audience to connect with you. Which bring us to...
Millennials want easy deals.
While millennials may be more educated, they're also known for gravitating towards the easy choice. It's just human nature at work, but compared to their previous generations, millennials are known to prioritize the ease of doing business with a vendor as their first priority. This is demonstrated by their preference to interact with the sales rep only to clarify product specifications and negotiate prices, with the purchase riding on how quickly they provide feedback and how trustworthy their information is.
What does this mean? If your brand has the expertise, but your competition has the convenience, then it’s highly likely that millennials are going for the competition. The lesson: Keep It Short and Simple.
One example of making it easy for your target customers is by setting up social media channels where you can reach them. It could be on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform. Or maybe you can better reach them through your blog. In any case, it helps to always keep in mind that the more you can make things simple, the better.
Millennials aren't shy to promote the brands they love on social media.
The world is getting even smaller as social media and mobile apps become more integrated to our daily routines. With social media, everyone has a voice and all it takes is a single comment shared on the right channels to amplify an opinion about your product – whether it’s good or bad.
Demand Gen’s survey of millennial buyers found that 61% relied on user reviews to inform their buying decision, while 34% browsed case studies. Combined with the fact that 85% of this demographic uses social media to research products and services, it’s clear that word of mouth is a powerful double-edged sword, and it’s a weapon that’s mostly wielded by millennials on social media.
This shows that modern advertising has evolved with the technology, and that everyone can be a marketer or endorser of your brand – if it’s good enough.
Now that you’ve learned about how millennials are reshaping B2B marketing, what can you do about it? How can you keep up with the times and continue increasing conversions?
Make things easy.
Millennials have been around for some time, and brands that work while keeping things simple will be the ones they go for. Do your research to get to know your audience, what makes them tick, and base your B2B marketing strategy on that.
Develop a strong influencer base.
Word of mouth will remain a solid marketing strategy for promoting your content, so make sure to invest and build relationships that last for a long time.
Always keep in touch.
Once you acquire your customers, now it’s time to retain them. There are plenty of marketing tools available online now, but in the end it’s up to you how you’re going to use them to get the results you want.