Millennials: A Brief Overview
Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today. To successfully market to this generation of B2B buyers, we have to get to know them.
Like any generation, they have their own specific attributes that distinguish them from earlier cohorts. For example, younger millennials were the first to grow up with access to the internet. Additionally, scarce job opportunities during the Great Recession negatively impacted millennials’ career trajectories overall. On average, they are more educated, slower to get married, and slower to form their own households compared to previous generations.
In the past, the word “millennial” has been used to refer to any young person. But as the oldest millennials turn 40 this year, Generation Z has replaced them as the youngest cohort in the workforce. Millennials have more experience now—they are increasingly responsible for high-level decision-making in the workplace. With this in mind, it’s time to adjust your marketing tactics to suit millennials’ preferences if you haven’t already.
Millennial Buyers’ Preferences By The Numbers
Most millennial buyers don’t want to talk on the phone. Your sales call will probably be ignored, but don’t take it personally—voice calls are simply not millennials’ preferred method of communication. Remember, they grew up with the internet and they’re used to communicating through messaging apps.
One survey reports that 73.4% of young US consumers would keep their messaging app over their phone app on their smartphone if they had to choose. Another survey reports that 69% of millennial buyers prefer sales outreach via messaging apps/social media, and 52% prefer outreach over text. The lowest-ranked outreach option? Sales calls.
For millennial buyers, the connectivity of the digital era is the foundation of virtually everything they do. According to one survey, 61% of their purchasing decisions are informed by user reviews. The same survey also reported the top resources for buyers, which included review sites, web search, and demos/trials, in that order.
These surveys provide numerical proof for the reality we intuitively understand—millennial buyers want convenience and personalization from their buying experiences, just like B2C. The convergence between B2C and B2B practices is referred to as B2P (business to person) marketing. The B2P paradigm acknowledges that buyers are individuals who bring their experiences and preferences to work with them. To successfully reach millennial buyers, marketers must address this new reality.
How to Connect With Millennials
To market products to millennials, you have to connect with them on their terms. The old B2B marketing tactics—like sales calls and mass emails—are ineffective at reaching this tech-savvy cohort.
The statistics we provided above give you a good idea of how to start building a marketing strategy to reach millennials. Use social media to connect authentically with your buyers. If you haven’t already, start prioritizing digital messaging over phone calls. Include relevant user reviews in your communications with potential buyers.
Crucially, make sure anything you send your customers—whether it’s an email, a message, or anything else—is tailored to their individual needs. 63% of millennial buyers report that a strong knowledge of their industry was a key factor differentiating the winning vendor from the competition.
From beginning to end, a streamlined buying experience is essential to winning millennial buyers. This is only becoming more relevant as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working from home, buyers can directly compare the ease of their B2C buying experience with the long, often convoluted process of B2B purchasing. To maximize your appeal to buyers—especially millennial buyers—you must streamline this journey however you can.
These tips are just one part of a successful marketing strategy in today’s world.