Millennials (Gen Y) are already more than 50% of B2B buyers and this number is only going to grow in the years ahead. How should B2B marketers adapt their strategies?

Millennials. They’re everywhere. A millennial might be sitting next to you right now. You might be one yourself. I am one.

Also known as Gen Y, Millennials have gradually become the dominant force in business. Google research discovered that millennials now make up almost half of B2B buyers.

That proportion will only increase as older stakeholders retire and the fresh blood moves in to replace them. Eventually, it will be the turn of the millennials to give way to the next generation. However, until Generation Z takes over, businesses need to adapt their marketing to appeal to millennials or risk fading into irrelevance.

Unlike Gen X’ers and baby boomers, the millennial generation grew up in the digital age. Their perception of the world, their behaviours and habits have been shaped by the ubiquity of the internet and social media.

Yet many established marketing tactics were developed by previous generations to appeal to previous generations. Today, those strategies have to adapt.

The saturation problem

The average person sees over 11,000 ads online a month (and probably ignores 10,999). To cut through all that noise, you need to meet potential buyers in the spaces and channels where they want to interact: email, social media, search engines, and more.

And when you do, you need to offer content that coaxes them down the sales funnel – not with strident sales pitches but by educating, entertaining and enriching. Instead of telling them how your business is uniquely positioned to help them, let them work it out for themselves. 

Marketing and branding today is about helping your business to distinguish itself in an ocean of companies trying to do the same. It’s also about providing a smooth, enjoyable client experience. How you do things is just as important as what you do. Everything from what you post on social media to the way your team talks on the phone is now within the purview of branding and messaging.

Convenience is key

Everybody is busy, and the internet provides endless options for distraction. Your marketing and your customer experience need to be as convenient as possible, which means having a presence on the right digital platforms.

So where and how can you engage with millennials? Social media and blogs are both good places to start.

Ninety three percent of millennial B2B buyers read reviews online before buying.  Reviews and testimonials from happy customers will help you, as will case studies that demonstrate how you helped clients. Make sure they’re easy to find on your website and socials.

Millennial buyers are also time poor. Once they’ve found you, your website has to be quick and easy to navigate. If it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, they’re gone. If you don’t clearly communicate how you can help them within the first 30 seconds, they’ll leave and never come back.

That’s why you need to engage instantly, always aiming to assist rather than sell. Attract prospective customers with solid content that is truly helpful. Make it easy, fast and convenient for anyone to see the value you’re offering.

Tell don’t sell

Millennials are informed decision makers and do extensive online research to better understand their problem and potential solutions. Providing helpful content that helps answer their questions, rewards their curiosity and guides them through this stage shows your millennial customers that not only do you understand the problem but you also have the expertise and the means to solve it.

For a group so stereotypically buried in their phones, millennials place a surprisingly high value on speaking to a vendor representative face-to-face. That means your content marketing needs to convince millennial buyers it’s worth taking the extra step to get in touch directly. At this point, your reps need to approach buyers as consultants and problem solvers – not salespeople.

As millennials continue to move up the corporate ladder, how you communicate with this influential group of B2B buyers will become a make-or-break challenge for many businesses. Adapt now..