You see them all the time walking around shopping malls, grocery stores, and cafés, eyes glued to their smartphones and Starbucks coffees in hand. Millennials. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials make up one-quarter of the nation’s population.
The term “millennial” refers to anyone who was born between 1981 and 1996. As the largest living generation in the United States, it’s important to develop a B2B marketing strategy aimed specifically at this age group. That’s because millennials are directly making and significantly influencing your customers’ B2B buying decisions. Millennials tend to think and purchase very differently than other generations. What works well for Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers will not be nearly as effective with younger generations.
Successfully marketing to millennials means understanding their values and what factors play a role in their purchasing decisions. If millennials are a target audience for your business, here are some ways you can adjust your marketing to better reach this market demographic.
1. Millennials value “authenticity” above all else
Developing relationships with millennials is about more than having the lowest price or great customer service. It’s about authenticity. Millennials want to feel like brands are building a relationship with them, not just trying to make a sale. They can see right through traditional advertising campaigns and sales pitches. In fact, 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising.
Millennials want to know the real story behind your company. They want to see what happens behind the scenes when the camera isn’t rolling. Show them you care about more than just dollar signs. Thirty-seven percent of millennials say they are willing to purchase a product or service from a company that supports a cause they believe in, even if they have to pay more. If your product is more expensive than the competitor’s, you still have a chance at winning over millennials if you support a great cause.
Do you sponsor charitable events or source your products sustainably? Does your company have an annual volunteer day? To foster loyalty to your brand, it’s important to let your audience know how you’re having a positive impact on your local or global community. Share how you take care of your employees or how you donate some of your profits to a good cause.
2. Get social
Millennials are very active on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. To reach this demographic, you need to engage with them on their turf. This means you need to interact with your followers and maintain an active social media presence. Don’t just promote your products. Be sure to add some informative, industry-related posts to your social pages as well. This will help establish your expertise and drive traffic to your website. And sharing news articles from other sites will show that you have a finger on the pulse of your industry.
Social media can also serve as a great customer service tool. When customers share concerns or ask questions on your social media pages, it’s important that your company responds quickly. Millennials expect transparency and quick responses. If someone leaves a negative comment or review, don’t ignore it. Respond as quickly as possible and try to take the conversation offline.
Here are some other ideas for reaching this generation through social media:
- Create customer testimonials
- Share posts your brand is tagged in (after getting the original poster’s permission)
- Ask loyal customers to leave a review on Facebook
- Use polls to boost audience engagement
- Give them a behind the scenes look at your company
- Highlight your employees
3. Mobile-friendly is no longer optional
Mobile website design is another critical aspect of marketing to millennials. Ninety-three percent of millennials own smartphones, compared with 68% of Baby Boomers. And they are constantly using their phones to research products and services and make purchases. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, visitors will bounce from your site immediately.
Make sure your landing pages, emails and website are optimized for mobile devices. The layout should adjust to fit any size screen, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Every aspect of your website should be considered from a mobile view. Buttons and links should be larger, and have enough space around them, to make it easy for visitors to press them without accidentally hitting neighboring buttons.
4. Video content is king
Since millennials are notorious for their technology usage, it should come as no surprise that they love to watch video content. They watch an average of 5 hours and 39 minutes of online video per week. This gives your brand the opportunity to make real connections with millennials. By consistently publishing video content that provides value for these consumers, you can build relationships with these buyers and convert them into lifelong brand advocates.
For many B2B marketers, maintaining a steady stream of video content can be a challenge. Here are some ideas to help you develop engaging content that speaks to millennials:
- Product demos
- How-to videos
- Repurpose blog content
- Customer testimonials
- Expert interviews
If producing a steady stream of video content seems like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Video production can take up a lot of time and resources. Because there is so much involved, many companies choose to outsource their video production. If you’re going to outsource your video production, make sure you take the time to screen the candidates thoroughly. Search for a vetted company with all the latest equipment and a top talent team.
Millennials are already having a major influence on the way companies operate. If millennials are a part of your target audience, now is the time to reconfigure your marketing to better engage this demographic.
In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.
Courtney Gursky is a Digital Content Specialist at Schubert b2b. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.A. in English. When she's not working, you can find her reading Harry Potter for the millionth time or taking way too many photos of her 4 cats and 3 dogs.