While marketers in the business-to-consumer (B2C) market have tailored their strategies to millennial buyers, the business-to-business (B2B) market remains hesitant to adapt. The age group of the generation ranges from 23-38 years old, meaning the whole group has entered the workforce and the millennials on the older end of the spectrum are beginning to step into boardrooms.
These millennials have an increasing influence on B2B purchasing decisions. In fact, 13% of millennials are the final decision maker on B2B buying decisions, while an additional 28% influence those decisions, according to a survey conducted by SnapApp and Heinz Marketing. This is why it is imperative for B2B marketers to adjust their strategies to the new generation of decision makers. Here are 5 ways to do that.
- Establish a strong social media presence.
54% of B2B marketers have generated leads through social media, according to a survey on B2B generation tactics. Marketers in that same survey reported that 80% of converted leads come from LinkedIn.
Social media is a powerful tool for B2B marketers because of the weight millennials put on reviews and recommendations from their peers. According to an IBM survey, 89% of millennial buyers trust a friend’s comment more than a company’s claims.
There are several benefits to a strong social media presence. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are great places to post content about a product or service you’re trying to sell. Potential buyers can use social media to read or watch content, make customer service inquires and read reviews of the product or service. The benefits of social media are too significant to ignore as 93% of millennials said they will read reviews before purchasing a product and 69% of satisfied customers will post a positive review, according to the same IBM survey.
- Optimize your website on multiple platforms.
Since millennials grew up with technology, they spend their professional lives on several devices and use each one to remain productive. Therefore, it is imperative that you optimize your website for desktop, tablet and especially mobile platforms. Research on millennial buying habits shows that more than 80% of millennials use their mobile devices when researching a product or service.
The look and feel of your business’s website often leaves an impression on the customer visiting the website. Make sure the website is visually appealing and easy to navigate with various forms of engaging content to promote your business, such as videos, case studies and customer reviews.
- Prioritize video marketing.
When promoting a product or service to millennials, the best choice to convey your message is through video. According to a survey done by Animoto, 29% of millennial B2B buyers prefer video content—the highest among forms of content—when researching a B2B vendor and its product. Furthermore, 80% of millennials watch videos to learn about a product before making a purchase and 60% of millennials prefer watching a company video to reading its newsletter.
Given that video marketing is so important, it is crucial that these videos serve as creative ways to promote your product. Customer testimonials and product demonstrations are two examples of videos that will show how your products work and provide customers with endorsements they can trust.
- Maintain quality customer service.
Another important aspect in marketing to millennials is the customer service experience. Your business’s customer service should not only be kind and helpful—it also needs to be fast. According to a report from desk.com, 22% of millennials expect a response within 10 minutes of making a customer service request on social media. Furthermore, 22% also said they would stop using a brand after just one poor customer service experience.
Customer service doesn’t have to be limited to phone calls. One way to improve your business’s customer service experience is to provide several channels of communication. Offering assistance via social media is one option. Other ways to provide customer service are providing live video calls or IM chats with customer service representatives.
- Provide content that allows buyers to come to their own decision.
According to SnapApp and Heinz marketing, just 9% of millennials wish to be contacted by sales early in the buying process. This contradicts the trend set by former generations who prefer to connect with sales at the start of the buying process.
Remember, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. Millennials are put off when they are contacted by a company immediately after they download its white page. Cold calling potential customers who downloaded white pages has been common practice but when marketing to millennials its best to let them come to you. The best thing you can do is to market your product and service, let the customer do their research and then come to you when they are ready to buy.
When marketing to millennials, establishing a strong social media presence and using it to build a community is key. Also make sure your business’s website supports a mobile-friendly interface and reflects well on your business. Video marketing is the most popular form of advertising among millennials, but make sure the videos promote the product more than the business. Kind and fast customer service is also a priority to millennials. Another important thing to remember is not to contact potential customers too early in their buying process or you might steer them away.
The new generation of decision makers has their own unique preferences and B2B marketing strategies should be adjusted accordingly.