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The importance of targeting millennial decision-makers in B2B marketing

Posted by Libby Morgan on 03-Feb-2016 16:00:00

As many marketers have known for a while now, the business-to-business marketplace is changing. Thanks to advances in technology and the introduction of new digital channels, there’s been a significant shift in the way marketers communicate and promote themselves to their target audiences. However, it’s not just the way B2B buying decisions are made that’s changed. The people who are responsible for these decisions have also changed.

Millennials_1

The digital native generation

Millennials (people born between 1980 and 1993) are the most educated, tech-savvy, and largest generation since the baby boomers. They have only ever known a world with the internet, and they are constantly connected via their laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In fact, the term ‘digital native’ was coined to describe this generation.

A few years ago, targeting millennials wasn’t even on the radar for many B2B marketers, as they were deemed too young to be making B2B marketing decisions. Now however, it’s a different story. Over the past two years there’s been a dramatic shift in the B2B decision-maker/influencer demographic. In 2012, the percentages were more or less even across all age groups. Last year, however, 18-34 year olds accounted for almost half of all B2B decision-makers, a whopping 70% increase on 2012[i]. Given that millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce (53.5 million strong) and outnumbering both generation-x’ers and baby boomers, this should really come as no surprise[ii].

If you’re a B2B marketer who wants to stay ahead of the game, it’s clear that marketing to millennials should be part of your future plans. So, what do you need to do?

Shifting B2B marketing strategies

With the dawn of a more tech-focused workforce, some of the more traditional strategies of B2B marketing have become outdated. According to a recent survey, linear sales pitches end up frustrating millennial buyers and risk lengthening the sales process[iii]. So, it’s important for businesses to make their brands more human, more approachable, and more engaging. It’s also been proven that unlike prior generations, millennials rely heavily on blogs, with 1 in 3 selecting them as a top media source before making a purchase[iv]. For this reason, simply sending an email is unlikely to make much of an impact, but taking a multi-channel approach that includes social media, telemarketing, direct mail and content will generate more engagement.

With so many millennials now making important purchasing decisions within companies, tailoring your B2B marketing to this younger, tech-savvy audience means stepping up the amount of content, video, social media and direct mail marketing you are producing. With a multi-channel approach to B2B marketing, you’ll be able to more easily reach millennials where they are, and provide them with the content they’re seeking, in order to move them closer towards a purchase.

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Topics: B2B marketing, B2B multi-channel marketing, b2b millennials