B2B Marketing Tips for Connecting with Millennial Buyers
While B2C marketers are currently experiencing more significant changes in the marketplace, B2B marketers must also be aware of the dynamic shifts occurring in buyer attitudes and preferences. We’re talking, of course, about millennial buyers and their growing buying power – both in B2C and B2B situations.
The State of B2B Buyers
If you haven’t yet begun to pay attention to the direction of your industry, now’s a good time to pause and investigate. Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, millennials are becoming an increasingly powerful force to be reckoned with, and the future success of your business may very well depend on your ability to connect, engage, and convert these buyers.
According to a recent study by Google and the research firm Millward Brown Digital, 46 percent of potential buyers researching B2B products and services are millennials. That figure is up from 27 percent in 2012. That makes millennials the single biggest generational group researching B2B products for purchase.
This shift is the result of a number of different factors, including the fact that a large number of Baby Boomers are moving toward retirement. Economic growth also means that more millennials are being hired for important corporate positions.
3 Tips for Engaging Millennial Buyers
Regardless of the cause, it’s time for B2B marketers to respect this ballooning portion of the market. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
· Personal connection. Millennials want to feel deeper connections to the businesses and peers they work with. According to Green Residential, a Houston property management company that spends a lot of time marketing to millennials, “They want to feel connected to the marketer, whether through social media or through the personality that’s used in advertisements. All in all, if you want to market effectively to this group, you’ll need a social connection and a creative plan.” Cold corporate brochures no longer do the trick. Instead, you need to hone in on personalized efforts that meet buyers where they are.
· Millennials rarely purchase alone. While your primary point of contact may be a millennial, it’s very likely they aren’t working alone. Millennials have grown up in an internet marketplace where it’s commonplace to read reviews, post questions on message boards, and instant message friends for advice before buying. In some ways, this mentality has transitioned to the workplace. Millennials value the opinions of their peers (often baby boomers) and may consult others before making a final decision. Keep this in mind when walking buyers through the purchase process.
· Millennials don’t like to be burned. Millennials are cordial, cooperative, and willing to listen, but you certainly don’t want to burn them. According to an IBM study of more than 700 B2B buyers, millennials aren’t as likely as boomers to publicly voice their frustrations with a brand online. They’re completely aware of the debilitating impact of viral attacks and will instead discredit your brand via word of mouth. This can be more dangerous, though, as word of mouth in a small industry can be more impactful. On the opposite end of the spectrum, millenials are much more likely than their senior counterparts to share positive buying experiences online. Keep this in mind when dealing with these buyers.
Pursue Millennials in B2B Marketing
While there are still a healthy number of boomer and gen x buyers in the marketplace, it will soon be completely dominated by millennials. If you want to successfully maintain and increase sales, it’s pertinent that you understand who these buyers are, what makes them tick, and how you can target them for best results. Keep these three tips in mind and you’ll do just fine.