Millennials and their buying preferences greatly differ from those of other generations. What was once just a concern in the B2C market, clients now have to tailor how they brand their product by creating an exceptional experience for millennials. With so many products on the market available for the B2B companies to purchase, the focus has shifted from the features of the product to the actual experience of buying the product.
But just how many millennials are involved in the purchasing decisions of their companies?
A study executed by Forrester shows that 73% of millennials are involved in the buying process with one-third being the sole decision maker. Additionally, the millennial buying power will reach $200 billion by 2020, and by 2025 75% of the U.S. workforce will be made up of millennials. With millennials gaining leadership and power in their careers, their influence in the B2B purchasing decisions is projected to continuously increase. Outnumbering the millions of boomers and Gen X, it is imperative that companies meet the demands of the millennial business buyers.
With millennials making the majority of purchasing decisions in the B2B market, it is important to know what differentiates them from other generations:
1. Digital Channel for B2B Millennial Buyers:
Millennials are more connected to technology than any other generation, using smartphones, laptops, and tablets to obtain product information in real time. A study conducted by Merit found that 56% of millennials initiate research of products and services through the internet. The most popular methods included search engines, vendor websites, and social media. The youngest millennials, ages 20-24, ranked social media the highest. 85% of all millennials say they use social media to investigate other’s experience with products or services (with Facebook being the most preferred channel). Through search engines and social media, the study concludes that video content is the most effective way for millennials to learn about products and services. With the popularity of YouTube and embedded videos in Facebook, videos offer engaging and interesting content to educate the buyer.
2. Prioritizing Experience:
According to Millennial Marketing, millennials are looking for authenticity, human connection and overall experience when purchasing from vendors. Service design is no longer just for the B2C market, and is a critical differentiator in the B2B world as well. With higher stakes and need for trusting relationships in the B2B world, it is important for vendors to connect with millennials who value brand interactions. Brands who provide engaging experiences, relevant insights, authenticity, and human connection to the millennial buyer ultimately become more successful.
3. Socially Responsible Companies:
When it comes to millennial purchasing decisions, an area that is becoming increasingly important is finding socially responsible companies. 80% of millennials agree that environmental, social, and philanthropic efforts by a company are determining factors when considering who to purchase from. 84% of millennials ages 20-24 say these causes were very important compared to the 77% of millennials aged 30-35. When a millennial has hundreds or even thousands of similar products to choose from, the focus shifts less on the product itself to the impact it has on clients and the world. Millennials are willing to pay more for products from vendors with a social conscious, companies practicing social responsibility, or companies supporting the same social values. For millennials, giving money towards a bigger cause can be just as important as purchasing a product.