Gen Y, or the Millennial generation, is defined as those born during the late 80s, 90s, and early 00s, so the old fogies of that generation are in their 30s. That puts many Millennials right in the prime of their careers, and right in the thick of decision-making in companies of all sizes.
As Millennials become more senior and make up more of the executive ranks, marketers have to start adjusting their message to cater to how this group wants to be marketed to. Just as direct mail seems to be as ancient as buying music on cassette, Millennials should be targeted using methods and channels towards which they gravitate, like social and mobile and video.
If you’re a Millennial yourself, then read no further. (Or, maybe just read tip #5 and ask for a raise!) But, if you’re on the wrong side of 40 years old, read on for just a few tips to help you start to wrap your head around how to engage with the new generation of B2B decision makers.
1. Be conversational
Millennials want something relevant to talk about, and they want to consume as well as contribute. They want a two-way conversation that’s interesting to them. It doesn’t have to be real-time, but think about how your last conversation happened on Facebook. It started with a friend’s post, lasted for days, and received comments from many different people.
2. Enable mobile
For most people these days, but Millennials specifically, assume that they’ll consume your marketing content on their phones. If you’re a good marketer, you’re already building websites and landing pages and emails that are mobile optimized. But remember to cover all of your bases? Will your videos play (and provide a great experience) on smartphones? Will targets even see your message if they read your email on their phone?
3. Focus on the complete experience.
While service and quality and capabilities are important to everyone, Millennials were raised with technology, so can easily and quickly find your online reviews and ratings and comments faster than older folks. In fact, much more than their elders, Millennials expect near-instant response. We’re used to email, they’re used to texting. (Remember when you started your career and that Baby Boomer on your team wouldn’t use email…or would print out every email onto paper? Now you’re the oldie clinging to outdated tech!)
4. Make your website easier to use.
The “2013 State of B2B Procurement Study” found that 70% of buyers (of all ages) would purchase more if websites were easier to use. That means mobile optimized. That means making it easy to find answers, ask questions, determine pricing, and compare features. That also means making it easy for them to purchase directly from your website. Don’t make them send an email to schedule a call if they don’t need to!
5. Hire your focus group
In other words, hire some Gen Ys and let them help you understand the market and target the market, because they are the market. If you were targeting retail, you’d hire some folks with retail experience, right? Even an intern or two can help you build a better message to use with Millennials.
For additional tips and ideas, check out some of these posts:
- From Marketo’s blog, “Marketing Showdown: How to Reach Gen Y” http://blog.marketo.com/2013/09/marketing-showdown-how-to-reach-gen-y.html
- From Huffington Post, “5 Tips for Marketing to Millennials From a Millennial” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-donegan/marketing-to-millennials_b_4025881.html
- From MarketingProfs, “B2B Suppliers Unprepared for Generation Y Buyer Preferences” http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/10984/b2b-suppliers-unprepared-for-gen-y-buyer-preferences
- From Online Marketing Institute, “B2B Marketers: The Millennials Are Taking Over, Are You Ready” http://www.onlinemarketinginstitute.org/blog/2014/03/b2b-marketers-the-millennials-are-taking-over-are-you-ready