millennials and B2B marketing

Millennials and B2B marketing: they want something specific

By Sophia Skinbjerg |

“Millennial”. It’s a word that has gained exponential traction in the last 12-24 months, becoming almost part of our daily language when we talk about content marketing and marketing strategies. And time and time again studies and surveys tell us that traditional marketing approaches don’t work with millennials.

Why does that create a looming sense of panic amongst more experienced marketers? Well as millennials move into decision making positions at work, B2B companies that can successfully market themselves to millennials will be the ones to reap the benefits from a cohort worth 200 billion dollars in annual buying power.


Where’s the data coming from?

Back in July 2015, branding agency Sacunas conducted a survey of 1,469 employees in the United States who were born between 1979 and 1995 (age 20-35 at the time of the survey). Respondents were asked questions about B2B buying decisions within (or for) their company.


How many millennials are involved in decision-making?

Some 73% of respondents say they are involved in a product/service B2B purchase decision-making process at their company.

Further splitting the millennial cohort, the survey found that decision-making responsibilities increase with age. Roughly two-thirds (67%) of Millennials age 20-24 report being involved in a purchase process, compared with 72% of Millennials age 25-29 and 77% of those age 30-35.


Source: marketingprofs via Sacunas

Source: marketingprofs via Sacunas


Where do millennials find and research B2B solutions?

You guessed it: online. The most preferred method is search followed by a vendor’s website.

Source: marketingprofs via Sacunas

Interestingly, peers and colleagues rank third well ahead of social media – a media channel that has been a defining aspect of the millennial generation. Not so surprisingly, trade shows ranks last as a preferred research channel.

I went to my first trade show recently and although it was valuable for the company on multiple levels, I can admit as a millennial that I don’t rank trade shows as more valuable than search and vendor websites when researching B2B solutions.


100% of preferred content format is digital

Which isn’t really surprising when millennials spend around 25 hours online each week.

When asked what content format they prefer, some 29% of respondents say video is what they prefer most when looking for B2B vendor information. Now that’s not too surprising given we’ve heard the predictions of video growth from social media and web giants alike.

Source: marketingprofs via Sacunas

Source: marketingprofs via Sacunas

Case studies, white papers and brochures all scored similar rankings coming in second, third and fourth place respectively. And while they trailed behind video by around 10%, I think it’s still noteworthy because these number reflect that while video certainly plays an important role in decision-making, complementary written formats are also important influencers. i.e don’t go dropping tour pens and pencils for a state of the art video camera just yet.

Related: Grow your brand with download forms


Give millennials free trials or demos if you want their business

At 39% and 29% respectively, Millennials are mostly looking for training pieces/demos and product news from B2B vendors. Again, this kind of comes as no surprise but I don’t know that it’s particularly iconic of just the millennial cohort – I think everyone likes free stuff.

Source: marketingprofs via Sacunas

Source: marketingprofs via Sacunas


Adopt these findings into your mailing strategy

Ok so given what we’ve just learned, consider this is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and ask if your mailings are really putting forward the preferred content formats that millennials prefer.

Are you offering links to video content? Are you promoting case studies and white papers to potential millennial customers? Are you giving them offering free trials? If you answered no to any of these questions, it could be time to revisit your content and email strategy.


Need help designing an email template for millennials?

Give us a shout and we can help.

Take your marketing to the next level