My LinkedIn feed is constantly deluged with updates about my connections landing new roles, learning new skills and making an impact at their respective companies. It seems every day I hear about one of my peers taking on more responsibility and becoming more influential. Yes, I recognize this is probably true of most LinkedIn feeds, not just mine. But there is an underlying, noteworthy theme that runs throughout my LinkedIn profile and social feed:
Most of my connections are millennials… rising millennials.
There’s a pretty decent chance that “millennial” is on your list of least favorite buzzwords, I know, but stay with me. We’ve all heard that this generation is, well, different. As a whole, they’ve been accused of lacking work ethic, having short attention spans and being entitled (😑). On the flip side, we’ve also heard they’re highly valued in the workplace because they’re fresh, creative and flexible (😎). Whether the stereotypes are true or not, it’s time we start seeing millennials for what they truly are… your customers.
OK, you got me. I’m a millennial, but before you infer a bias, just know that I’m also here for the same reason you are – I’m a marketer who understands the value of knowing my audience. And despite being a millennial, I needed some help understanding just how much power I have as a customer – so I turned to the data. The experts from Sacunas shared some critical audience insights in their report on The Next Generation of B2B Buyers.
So, how important are Millennials?
According to the report, 73% of millennials today are involved in their company’s product/service purchase decisions. As they get older, this percentage will only continue to increase – so all those ladder-climbing connections from my LinkedIn feed aren’t overachievers or anomalies, they’re just following the trend line. They’re quickly becoming the new decision-makers for their companies, and for us marketers, it’s important to understand how they make their decisions, so we can strategize how to reach and relate to them.
- Google First, Ask Questions Later – 56% of millennials said that digital channels (search engines, websites, social media) are an important part of their buying process. When I was searching for customer insights, before I ever thought to talk to someone about it, I did a Google search and the content that was built well for SEO won my attention. Clearly, I’m a statistic.
- Mobile Matters – 82% feel that mobile devices are an important part of their product/service research. I should mention that the aforementioned Googling was done from my smart phone.
- Social and Savvy – 85% are on social media, with Facebook being the leading choice for researching new products and companies. When my grandmother added me on Facebook, I had to re-evaluate if it was still cool enough for me. Turns out it is, and not only do I research companies and products on social media, I expect them to be both present and active if I’m going to take them seriously.
- Seeing is Believing – this is a generation of visual learners who are attracted to video and photo above any other type content. I grew up watching Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and you better believe when I recently saw a business-related blog post that led with a gif from the show, it caught my eye and I clicked and read that content.
How do you actually reach these guys?
Sacunas reported that the #1 overall research insight was this: Digital is the most important sales and marketing channel for B2B Millennial buyers.
Their words, not mine.
“Millennial” is considered a buzzword for a reason – you’ve heard insights about them before. But there’s never been a better time to take these insights seriously. Through Marketing Velocity, Cisco provides resources that help you digitally transform your business and tell your story in a way that actually resonates with this generation of decision makers.
Cisco is going on this journey with our partners. When it comes to effectively reaching prospective millennial buyers, like myself, it’s go digital or go home. Or in the famous words of my childhood hero (and recent box office success), the red Power Ranger:
“It’s morphin’ time!”
Did your favorite (or least favorite) make my Buzz-Word Cloud? Did I leave it out? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!