What Millennial Decision Makers Want To See
You’ve just found out that the senior decision maker of one of your current clients will be stepping down in favor of retirement - they’ve earned it, after all of their years of hard work. To fill that position, their company will be promoting someone internally to fill that role.
This scenario is happening all over the country. And, as they are the largest generation in the labor force, it’s entirely possible that the person who fills that position will be a Millennial. As an MSP, how do you adapt your marketing strategy to handle this?
The Millennial Generation
Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, are the generational cohort proceeding Generation X. The precise dates that define who is and who isn’t a Millennial vary, but tend to include those who were born in the early 1980s to those who were born in the mid-to-late 1990s. As of this year, this would put Millennial cohorts somewhere between approximately 20 to almost 40 years old.
Currently, Millennials are the generation that is most largely represented amongst those who are at least somewhat involved in B2B purchasing decisions. According to research conducted in 2017:
- 73% of Millennial employees are involved in purchase decisions for the company they work for
- 34% of Millennial employees are the sole decision maker for their employer
Millennials vary from the previous generations, and have been characterized as being attention-craving, open-minded, individualistic, tech-savvy, team-oriented, and receptive to new ideas. Because of this, you need to make sure that your marketing to them is educational, transparent, and focused on relationship-building rather than hard-selling. In addition, a study conducted by IBM on how Millennials are reshaping B2B marketing discovered the following:
- 69% prefer to engage vendors during the sales cycle via email over other communication methods.
- Millennial decision makers put their trust in the opinions of others - 93% read reviews before making a purchase, 89% believe friends’ comments over company claims, and 93% bought a product after hearing about it from a friend or relative.
- In small organizations with less than 1,000 employees, Millennial decision makers prefer to work with businesses that are willing to work collaboratively with their organization, understand their organization’s unique challenges, and can respond quickly.
- The top sources that influence Millennial purchase decisions are their organization’s data analysis, recommendations from family or friends outside their organization, and their personal experience/impression of the product or service.
- 69% of Millennial decision makers will post a positive comment on social media or the vendor’s website if they’re happy with their services, and less than 15% are willing to post a complaint or negative comment.
Marketing to Millennials
Compared to Baby Boomers and Generation X, you may need to work a little harder to get Millennials on your side. When marketing to Millennials, consider prioritizing the following strategies and methods:
- Create a top-notch, fully-optimized website: Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, secure, and easy to find. Like previous generations, Millennial decision makers begin the decision making process with a simple Google search, but a larger percentage of them will be using mobile devices to do some of their research compared to other generations. And, if they see that your website is labeled by Google as “not secure” or “dangerous”, they will head for the hills.
- Don’t just sell - educate: Make sure that your marketing to these prospects is more educational rather than sales-focused - too much sales language will scare Millennial prospects away. For example, instead of sending a brochure that highlights your backup and data recovery service, send a postcard that highlights facts and statistics from a blog article that you wrote on the importance of having a business continuity plan. Make sure your website and social media channels are packed with this type of content as well.
- Make your direct mail matter: You might assume that millennial decision makers want all marketing directed toward them to be digital marketing. But actually, millennials are less likely to discard mail, more likely to read mail, and more likely to show mail to others compared to non-millennials. If you want to engage millennials with your direct mail marketing, make sure that you provide a simple line to your digital presence via QR codes and shortened URLs, make your message easy to read, and include visuals to pique their attention.
- Start a conversation: Social media may not have been a priority for you in the past, but its importance to B2B marketers is growing as the younger generations enter the workforce. Try to encourage conversation on your channels through what you post. Make sure you are promoting at least some of your posts so that prospects can find you even when they’re not yet looking. Also, offer various other ways for these younger decision makers to reach out when you’re ready by including a form they can fill out, an email that they can reach out to, and a live chat feature so they can contact you in real time.
- Use video: Including videos that support your marketing efforts is very important to Millennials. According to a survey conducted in 2015, 80% of Millennials watch videos when looking for further information about a product before purchasing it. Make sure you upload your videos to social media and include them on your website where it’s applicable.
- Try before you buy: Millennials are more hands-on than other generations. Make sure that you offer and are promoting the ways that these decision makers can “try before they buy.” Consider utilizing live events as well. Live events, like free demos and trials, provide a more hands-on experience for Millennial decision makers. Some good live event options for targeting Millennials include webinars, local business events, trade shows, and lunch and learns.
- Showcase satisfaction: Focus on developing a strategy that showcases how satisfied your current clientele are with the services you offer. Collect testimonials, include multiple case studies on your website, and push for your current clients to give referrals. You can also showcase your company culture via your employees. It’s a powerful social proof if used correctly: if you care about your employees, you obviously care about your clients as well.
What About Generation Z?
Generation Z, known by many names including the iGeneration, Homeland Generation, Centennials, and Post-Millennials, is the generation after Generation Y, made up of those born between the mid-90s to the mid-2000s. Compared to Millennials, they are even more tech-savvy, risk aversive, socially conscious, and digitally connected via social media.
The oldest cohorts in Generation Z will be entering the professional workforce very soon, or have just begun to. But, because they will be in the early stages of their career, they likely won’t be in decision maker roles for quite some time. So, be mindful when Generation Z starts to advance in their careers - you may need to adjust your marketing strategy again.
Evolving Your Strategy
It can be hard to change the way that you market after marketing for the same way for so long. Fortunately, we’re here to help. With our Marketing Plan service, we can help plan out your marketing initiatives for the entire year, and further tailor your marketing pieces to your liking. Contact us today to learn more.