As you know the Millennial cohort (born between 1981-1996) is a focal point for almost all B2C marketers. They have developed new buying behaviors and influence other generations to follow suite, forced change on go-to-market strategies, and essentially determine the fate of most brands. However, they shouldn’t just be a priority for B2C. They should be front and center for B2B organizations as well.
How well do you know Millennials?
In 2020, Millennials became the dominant force in the workplace, making up more than 50% of the U.S. workforce. In a recent Demand Gen survey, 56% of Millennial respondents held director-level positions or above, and another forty-two percent held managerial positions. Twenty-one percent of the respondents were vice presidents or held C-suite positions – and this number will only increase.
According to the PEW Research Center, Millennials are the most educated generation ever. They are also the most socially connected generation ever; they have grown up with cell phones, social media, and have an on-demand mentality. According to a joint study between Cone Inc and AMP, these two factors have Millennials feeling more empowered than previous generations, specifically more confident in their ability to effect change.
However, with empowerment comes a sense of responsibility. Seeing their parents “sold to” during the ‘80s and ‘90s, Millennials are skeptical when it comes to marketing messages. According to Forbes magazine, they mistrust all one-way communication. And with growing up post-recession they place value on experiences vs things, celebrating the small, meaningful moments.
So what does this mean for you who needs to needs to sell to your modern customer? It means that you need to focus on the aspects that this generation embraces. Here are a few suggestions:
- Be Authentic. Get to know your emerging audience. Create personas that embrace their behaviors, their pain-points, their desires, and their ambitions. Then create content that matters to them.
- Be Consistent. Millennials want to care about your brand, but they want you to be a brand worth caring about. Ensure that you have a brand strategy built from a solid foundation based on your ‘why’ and that all content supports this message.
- Be Empowering. Millennials are far more likely to do independent research than seek the advice of a sales rep. That may be why B2B researchers in large organizations skew Millennials. They grew up learning all they needed to know through Google or on platforms like YouTube. So make learning about your product as simple as possible and consider providing free trials where possible.
- Be Ready. 69% of Millennials prefer that you reach out electronically while they are in the research phase. Almost as many will have shortlisted your brand before contacting you. Think about your contact strategy and how you use e-mail and messaging platforms to stay in touch and provide clear reasons for Millennials to contact you.
- Be Responsive. 82% of Millennials say mobile is a crucial research tool. Mobile matters for two reasons; optimize everything from your e-mails to your website for the mobile customer experience; your audience expects answers at their fingertips, so consider the use of artificial intelligence and bots to provide immediate engagement.
By 2030, Millennials will make up 75% of B2B buyers, and the things that matter to them today will be even more vital to the success of your brand tomorrow. Increasing your focus on this audience now will deliver long-term sales benefits. Working with a partner that understands both Millennials and your needs as a B2B brand will get you there even faster.