With millennials making up over 70% of B2B buyers, marketers need to shift their strategies to show the companies values that the generation can connect with
Millennials are increasingly becoming decision-makers for corporations as well as SMBs. The ‘digital native’ millennials are changing the nature of B2B purchasing. The millennial generation of buyers is expecting the same kind of immediacy and intimacy as B2C brands.
According to the Millennial B2B Report Merit, as much as 73% of B2B buyers are now millennials. Ignoring this can hurt B2B companies’ sales, while forward-thinking businesses have already gained some competitive advantage by adopting the practices that support their sales and marketing strategy.
Another report also mentions that 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. Experts have observed that digital technology has left the old stereotypes of B2B buyers behind.
Giving an insight into this generation, experts note that Millennials grew with internet access, social media, smartphones, and online shopping. The way they use technology to qualify vendors, research, and make purchases has changed the game for marketers. Millennials use digital channels in the first phase for buying any products or services, social media, making SEO, content strategy, and sustainability very critical. YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn have particularly become essential channels for this generation.
While all the available information puts B2B sellers under scrutiny, but this also can be a two-way street. If used their online channels well to get data, businesses can target their audience better. According to the Merit report, almost 30% of millennial B2B buyers prefer video content over text or voice-based messaging. Like B2C efforts, it’s has become important to make videos that are informative, vibrant, and shareable.
A good example is by IBM that made a video called ‘IBM Helps Protect Endangered African Rhinos with IoT Technology.’ The video was launched on World Rhino Day with hashtag #WorldRhinoDay across social platforms. The four-minute film has over 20,000 views. Experts believe that this campaign hits the right notes with millennials, who choose to support brands that display positive values. Reports also suggest that less than 25% of this generation will purchase from a company that uses questionable labor practices.
According to Hootsuite, 72% of marketers who use videos believe that it has increased conversion rates. Experts say that online videos to millennials are what TV was to Gen X and Baby Boomers.
Millennials have a volume of information available about brands and products at their fingertips. This makes it more difficult for B2B companies to make their message stand out from the noise. Value-adding content strategy has become a key growth area. By using data analytics of detailed profiles of the target audience, marketers need to tailor specific pieces of content for each buyer as well as each phase of the sales cycle. Experts suggest that the content also doesn’t need to exclude older buyers. While ‘baby boomers’ prefer white papers, adding a video alongside content for millennials can help target them too.
Experts suggest using data-driven tools to appeal to the values of millennials and foster the relationship naturally. A tip by an expert includes dropping in a GIF every once in a while wittily as it’s important to be visual and go beyond video, direct messages and webinars.
For millennial B2B buyers, the potential commercial value can be vast as they are starting in the decision-making process in their career and carry a high lifetime value. This again highlights the importance of brand loyalty, which is evolving in the digital-first economy. In B2B, that means customer service, technical support, and long-term service support have become more critical than ever. Millennial B2B buyers think beyond the actual purchase and want to feel confident that the business will be there for them even after the sale.
The brand plays an integral role by communicating the values that bring reassurance to the buyer about the effectiveness and availability of long-term support.