Millennials and B2B
Millennials make purchasing decisions differently than previous generations. They like to work directly with B2B vendors, communicate digitally, use recommendations from friends and family, use social media to research brands, and care about the values of these companies.
If B2B companies want to successfully sell and market to Millennial buyers, they will need to curate a strong social media presence, use simple and informative marketing techniques, and provide testimonials and reviews of their products.
MILLENNIALS VS PREVIOUS GENERATIONS
Listed below are ways in which Millennials and older generations (like Baby Boomers and Generation X) differ in their purchasing habits.
*Millennials prefer to work directly with vendors, whereas Generation X and Baby Boomers are more likely to go through a third party.
* Millennial buyers tend to use recommendations from family and friends when considering B2B businesses, and Generation X is more likely to use personal experience and their own impressions.
* Eighty-six percent of Millennials prefer to engage with vendors in the middle of their decision-making process after they have conducted their own research, and older generations reach out sooner.
* Millennials want to know what values a B2B company cares about, whereas older generations tend not to focus on company values. Eighty percent of Millennials like to use companies whose social causes align with their own interests in social issues.
* Millennials want to be able to interact directly with brands and research using social media and search engines. Eighty-five percent of Millennials use social media to investigate B2B companies. Older generations tend not to use social media as a meaningful way to research B2B companies.
MARKETING TO MILLENNIALS
B2B companies that want to market successfully to Millennial buyers should have a strong online presence. Millennials tend to research companies and products before they make purchasing decisions, so information that businesses want their Millennial buyers to know should be readily available online. They also use blogs, testimonials, and reviews to make purchasing decisions, so B2B businesses should elicit as many positive reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers as they can. Furthermore, many Millennials want to chat with companies before they meet them face-to-face using text or other forms of digital communications.
Twenty-nine percent of Millennials prefer seeing video content from B2B companies over other forms of content. Product demonstration videos and testimonial videos are two examples of video content likely to engage Millennial buyers. Videos should be optimized for mobile devices because half of Millennials watch videos only on such devices. Marketing videos and other visual content that Millennials prefer should be simple and easy to use. They prefer educational content and simple logos over false promises.
Millennial buyers are also more interested in companies that can demonstrate community involvement and values. They like to see companies rally behind worthwhile causes and encourage their employees to donate time or money, as well. B2B companies that integrate community involvement and company values into their company culture should share their good work on their website and on social platforming sites to reach Millennial buyers.
There are key differences between Millennial buyers and buyers from older generations. Millennials prefer to research companies before they reach out to a salesperson, they prefer to communicate digitally, use social media, like visual content, gather testimonials, and prefer working with companies whose values they admire. B2B companies that wish to appeal to Millennial buyers should make sure that their information is posted online on a user-friendly website, use social media to their advantage, market with simple messages and visual content, showcase customer testimonials and reviews, and become involved in community projects or social causes. Eighty-two percent of B2B buying committees include at least one Millenial, so B2B companies cannot afford to ignore Millennial buying preferences.