RANTS & RAVES
The Millennials Are Coming
Jonathan D. Spiliotopoulos, Partner
28 June 2017
As I noted in this blog two months ago, Millennials already make up a majority of the American workforce. But what you may not have heard is that, according to a 2014 study, Millennials were already conducting nearly half of B2B research. And a more recent study from Forrester pegged that number at 73%.
What does this mean for B2B marketing?
The common wisdom is to target executives today and worry about Millennials tomorrow. But the same 2014 study shows that non-executives were exerting heavy influence over purchasing decisions 25% of the time and had final authority over purchases an additional 24% of the time.
That’s a rather large target that too many of us haven’t been shooting for, especially when you consider the direction in which Millennials are steering the market:
Accenture reports that a company website is still a popular research destination, but only 1 in 3 are happy with the information found there. 77% turn to Google — which of course leads searchers to third party sites (34%), reviews and forums (42%), and other sources that aren’t you.
Interestingly, IBM takes us in an unexpectedly personal direction with its own study, which indicates Millennials are so hungry for information that even Google is unable to satisfy them. Thus, they actually invite vendor interaction.
But there’s a caveat:
“This is not about listening to a sales pitch. It’s about having authentic, personalized interactions to explore possibilities and get questions answered.”
This kind of interaction is so important that, according to IBM’s research, Millennials rated it #1 on their list of research information sources, with tradeshows coming in a close second.
(In contrast, Boomers rated vendor interaction #5 on their list, while Gen Xers rated vendor interaction almost dead last, with only family members’ opinions being less valuable.)
As if we didn’t already know it, the world is changing rapidly. And with half of all purchasing decisions being made or heavily influenced outside the C-Suite, it’s clear that our target audience is changing.
As marketers, we need to cater to that change and make our communications more informative and personally interactive than ever before — because information overload for a Boomer is an appetizer for a Millennial.
About the Author
Jonathan D. Spiliotopoulos is a Partner with O’Brien Communications Group (www.obriencg.com), a business-to-business brand-management and marketing communication firm with responsibilities ranging from brand creation and creative concepting, to graphic design, web development, and more. He’s also an experienced teacher/trainer, presenter, a newbie dad, and is active in a number of communities and forums — online and in the real world — dedicated to helping others achieve their goals.