Why a younger generation of B2B buyers should be at the centre of your marketing strategy in 2022
Over 70% of millennials (25-40 year olds) are involved in B2B purchasing decisions, with increasing power as they move into senior executive roles. Recent research suggests that even when they’re not the lead decision maker, their input is sought after for any major buying decisions.
The influence of millennials is evolving fast. And so should your marketing strategy.
We’re talking about the ‘information generation’: mobile-first (mostly) digital natives, highly educated, socially conscious, self-aware with disposable income and entrepreneurial energy. Or so the clichés go.
They have a constant need to ‘hustle’ and ‘flex’ – but deep down they’re wrestling with imposter syndrome and an unrelenting need to prove themselves. Amid a global pandemic and wave of social change, the result is a complex individual.
A.k.a. the anxious optimist.
What you need to know…
“Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” seems a little naïve now. Today’s complex, modern B2B decision maker has layers. Here’s what you need to know to make the anxious optimist take notice:
1. Invest in your long-term brand
Only 5% of B2B buyers are in-market at any given time. As millennials take on higher positions of power, you need to ensure that when the time is right for them to buy, that they remember you. A brand that’s ever-present, with a clear identity, and relevant purpose, will ensure a long-lasting impression.
2. Be true to your activism
The modern B2B buyer is more likely to invest in a brand that aligns to their values and beliefs. To stand for something as a brand is not just paying lip service with the occasional tweet. Whether it’s sustainability, BLM, DE&I – you need to make sure it really matters (to your brand and your people), and you’re doing something on the ground to prove it.
3. Be agile and responsive
With increasingly blended personal and professional lives, the ‘impatient consumer’ mindset is infiltrating B2B expectations. Using martech to power seamless customer experiences should be standard practice. Ask yourself how your tech can support your people, to connect the dots better for your customers.
4. Find the Kim K’s of your industry
Industry analysts and experts are the new influencers. Millennial B2B buyers will spend more time on average than their older colleagues doing their homework and reading reviews on a brand before even landing on your website – so you need to make sure the Kim K’s are on your side.
5. And finally, make it edu-taining
Webinar fatigue peaked in 2020. Reframe the conversation by making it a learning experience, flexible on their terms, to an audience eager to upskill.
With forward-thinking B2B brands already shifting their attention to the next generation (Gen Z), if you’re not already considering millennials in your marketing strategy, you need to start now. Knowing more about the anxious optimist’s buying behaviour and influence will only work to your advantage in the future.
So, what new opportunities will 2022 bring for B2B? We’re (cautiously) optimistic.