Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials are a group of people who have never used a fax machine, think dial-up internet is from the dark ages, have rarely opened an encyclopaedia – and may never have driven anywhere without the aid of a sat-nav.
Think of them as the ‘spoilt digitals’ of our age, or more positively, as important digital natives. I’ve found the surge in power of the millennials particularly fascinating over the last two years. They represent a significant shift in buyer and influencer behaviour within the B2B world, and as marketers we have a responsibility to make sure our communication strategy is talking to them – and talking to them in the right way.
Why are digital natives so important?
Let’s look at some truths.
Think with Google has highlighted a shift in demographics through its research into purchase decisions in the B2B world. Back in 2012 there was a pretty even split in the age groups of people researching a B2B purchase, with the 35-44 age group (29% of those researched) having top influence.
But fast forward to 2014 and, you guessed it, millennials now hold the majority. Amazingly, 46% of people – an increase of 70% – are now 18-34 year olds. That means nearly half of B2B researchers are digital natives.
The C-Suite may still have 64% of final approval when it comes to decisions, but this means over a quarter of non-seniors do too.
The way people research a B2B purchase is also important: 71% start with generic searches (they’re looking for products not a brand); 42% use mobile devices to research; and 70% watch videos throughout their path to purchase. Finally, millennials will just as quickly turn to social media to see what their peers are saying, and help them qualify their decisions.
Digitally the world is evolving, so I put it down to trust. Millennials may not be running the show yet, but they’re certainly influencing and helping those who are.
After all, what would you do as a C-suite senior? While you are (hopefully) no slouch when it comes to researching, finding and understanding the right B2B solutions, you’re a busy person. So turning for help to digital natives, who have an innate understanding of the digital landscape, makes perfect sense.
It also makes perfect sense that our job as marketers is to help millennials easily find the right answers.
Tailor your content too
Will it work on mobile? Is the tone right? Are you making content that is remarkable – meaning that people (millennials) use social media to remark on it? And do you know where millennials hang out, digitally speaking?
There’s your choice of media too. Videos, for example, are not just for awareness or attention-grabbing at the top of the funnel – they can be equally instructional, informative, and digestible.
This blog was written to dispel the myth that younger people aren’t making decisions when it comes to the B2B world. Does this mean you shouldn’t be targeting the C-suite anymore? Absolutely not! The reality is they are still core decision makers and absolutely important. There’s just a huge opportunity to evolve your communications on both fronts (if you haven’t already).