B2B buying research by millennials has spiked from 26% to 46% in the past two years, according to a recent study from Google and Millward Brown Digital. This growth is due to several factors, including the retirement of baby boomers, overall economic growth, and the transition of older millennials into their 30s.
Regardless of the reason for the shift, it’s clear that B2B marketers should pay attention to what millennials are looking for. Each generation holds different ideals, expectations, and communication styles. To aid B2B marketers, here are some tips on reaching what many consider a tech savvy, idealistic generation:
1. Start the relationship online
Millennials are considered the first digital generation, as they were the first cohort to be alive almost entirely after the introduction of the Internet. Growing up in a world with companies like Amazon, they expect an online presence from vendors.
According to a study from Corporate Executive Board, 77% of B2B buying decision makers wait to speak to a salesperson until after they perform their own research online. By the time they speak to a B2B seller, they are 57% through the decision process.
B2B brands need to start the sales process with digital content and a web presence. Top of funnel tactics like web site content, display ads, social media, and email marketing are exponentially more important when trying to reach millennials.
2. Be mobile-friendly
The Google study not only showed that millennials are making more B2B buying decisions, but it also looked into how they approach the process. The amount of people surveyed who utilized mobile devices throughout the research and buying process grew from 18% in 2012 to 34% in 2014. Nearly half of that mobile research was happening while at work.
To maximize the increased mobile traffic, B2B brands need to be certain their web sites are optimized for mobile—which means being sure that videos will play, images will load, and copy is delivered in easily digestible bites.
B2B companies may also want to consider branded apps, as Nielsen Research showed that mobile users spend 89% of their time in apps compared to other mobile functions like browsers. If a branded app isn’t feasible, B2B marketers still need to think about how the brand is perceived on popular mobile apps, like Facebook, YouTube, and other social sites.
3. Be socially conscious
According to a study from Cone Communications—a PR firm specializing in cause marketing—millennials are “hyperaware of, and have high expectations for, corporate social responsibility efforts to make the world a better place—for themselves and broader society.” When presented with options for where to spend money, millennials will often choose the company with values, ideals, and practices that are most in line with their own.
B2B brands can convince millennials of their commitment to do good by being transparent. Companies should clearly outline on their web sites, social media pages, and content what causes are important to them. Campaigns with an element of philanthropy can help to grab the socially conscious generation’s attention.