Millennials as B2B Buyers: How to Respond
In part one of our look at millennial B2B purchase behavior we reviewed new research from IBM and Sacunas that illustrates how Gen Y behaves when evaluating products for their company. While this research covers purchases of all types of B2B products and services we can apply the insights to technology products and services. Millennials tech savvy puts them on the front line researching and evaluating products for C-level buyers.
Based on their habits, here are some takeaways for tech marketers to engage these curious influencers:
Think Digital First
This means that your online presence needs to be a seamless digital experience that is easy to use and navigate. Millennials do their own online research so your SEO game has to be first rate as everything starts with a Google search. Also, this search is likely to happen on a mobile device so your site has to be responsive and take on a mobile first philosophy. Mobile first means designing with the smartphone screen in mind and adding elements up to get to the desktop version, not cramming a desktop optimized site design into a small screen. Speaking of design, make sure you have modernized your site with mobile style menu, large clear images and a scrolling style of navigation. Finally, the site needs to load quickly, especially on mobile devices and make it easy to get in touch with a real person if needed.
Content is Important, Visual Content is Crucial
It’s not surprising that millennial buyers consume lots of content while doing online evaluations of products and services to recommend. They prefer visual content, especially video that entertains while it educates, and can be watched on any device at any time. This is a generation that is beginning to move away from traditional TV pay packages and they expect to be able to watch videos and webcasts on demand. The desire for visual content also extends to infographics and infographic style animations that can be shared across social networks. Another important aspect to content is authenticity, especially when it comes to case studies and testimonials. They can spot canned or fake “real customer” ads a mile away so do not try it, and stick with the real deal.
Make it Personal
Personalized content and marketing experiences can help build an emotional attachment between your brand and the millennial buyer. This is important because this generation puts a lot of stock in brand meaning in addition to your product’s capabilities. Gen Y approaches B2B buying much is the same way they do buying consumer products in their personal life. What they buy is a reflection upon who they are, so they want to engage with brands who have strong reputations and share their values. They look for companies who take corporate social responsibility seriously and care about the issues they care about. One last point and an important one – this audience takes recommendations and referrals seriously. They rely on peer reviews and will give recommendations to brands they care about. Part of your marketing plan needs to become a brand millennials care about and nurture positive reviews and influencers to help tell your story.
In summary, a new influential buyer has emerged on the scene and their power will only grow over time. Now is the time make sure your strategy and outreach is aligned with their sensibilities and behaviors.