Marketing to the “ME” generation

There are currently 80 million millennials in America, 25% of the entire population. And boy do companies want a piece of that mindshare. It’s no wonder — reports confirm that millennials have about $200 billion in annual buying power.

As this generation moves into prime professional years, their unique experiences and perspectives will change the way we buy and sell, forcing B2B companies to examine how they market and do business. Here are some things to keep in mind while marketing to this generation:

They do their homework.

Millennial employees represent the best-educated demographic group in history. They have access to infinite information via the internet, received the most schooling, scored highest on the SAT and received the earliest investment in technical skills.

Because of this, millennials are accurately described self-starting self-educators. They aren’t going to wait until a salesperson approaches them about a new product or service. They will find the information themselves and let you know when they’re ready to talk to someone.

Recent studies show that B2B buyers are up to 70 percent down the sales funnel before they want to engage with a sales representative. And once they do interact directly with vendors, millennials have high expectations that said salespeople are knowledgeable and have valuable content to share. They don’t want to sit through a sales pitch.

As a marketer, you need to make sure they find your information and content as easily as possible.

They double down on online search. 

By the time millennials joined the workforce, Google was being used as a verb and the #1 tool for research.

Ninety percent of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases. They’re not going directly to trade publications, engineering journals or OEM websites. And 71 percent of those searches are generic. They’re searching for a product, service or insights first, not a specific brand. On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging a brand’s site. This is a monumental shift for an industry that has historically hung its hat on brand allegiance.

Marketers must invest in search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Get a great AdWords agency partner that knows the ins and outs to get you to the top of the page and top of mind. And publish quality content regularly. Google algorithms are setup to ensure companies with the most quality, relevant content are show up first.

They don't want to read your long copy.

As the first native digital generation, millennials are used to quick headlines and a maximum of 140 characters. So, please, anything — graph, infographic, video — but a long, imageless white paper. Electrical engineers like circuit diagrams, computer programmers feel comfortable looking at flow charts and systems analysts use structured diagrams. Learn the visual language of your target audience and have your artist use these symbols and artwork in marketing pieces.

Videos are a great replacement for that block of text! According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate. Unbounce reports that including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%.

Putting it all together

Despite the millennial generation being a single entity, the individuals that make it are incredibly diverse, so don’t take these three tips as be-all end-all advice. Just remember: rock your online content marketing, be accessible, keep it short and you’ll win over those cold, entitled millennial hearts (we kid).