By Ali Payani, LookinLA CEO, who expands innovative companies into industry authorities through digital transformation and account-based marketing.
By 2025, numerous studies indicate the majority of the U.S. labor force will be made up of Millennials, and a 2016 study reported that Millenials already make 73% of B2B purchases. With a new generation in the driver’s seat, companies need to adapt to stay afloat. Making necessary changes to your marketing and sales strategies with Millennials in mind will undoubtedly help you outperform the competition. Below, let’s explore six ways to revamp your operations.
Business Values And Proposition
According to a recent Deloitte survey, almost 90% of Millennials believe that the success of a business should be measured by more than just performance.
Deloitte’s study showed six out of 10 Millennials judged a business by its employee satisfaction ratings as much as its products and services. When asked about the most important values a business should follow, 26% listed “employee satisfaction/loyalty” and 25% answered “ethics/trust/integrity/honesty.” A previous Deloitte study found that Millennials found businesses were underperforming in terms of both improving the livelihoods of their employees and their approach to social and environmental issues. Similar studies back up these claims. Forrester reported four out of five Millennials prefer a company with a strong vision and voice.
Many Millennials are not impressed by hard sells and sweeping claims. They are most attracted to companies with strong ethical values and an overarching vision. What role does your company play in the larger world? What are your goals beyond profit? In 2021, rework your mission statement and branding strategy to answer those questions.
A Strong Online Presence
Millennials are the first generation to have grown up on the internet.
Social media marketing remains important, especially now that Millennials are aging into the B2B world. According to a study by Lead Forensics, 80% of Millennial B2B buyers list social media as a factor in influencing their purchasing decisions, and another study shows they are 62% more likely to buy from brands that engage with them online. Many marketing professionals assume this means creating a strong online persona (the famously popular Wendy’s Twitter feed comes to mind), but B2B marketing is more about professional integrity and convenience. Promptly responding to questions via social media outlets is key, which is where increasingly advanced chatbots come in handy.
You should also consider revamping your website. A simple, straightforward design works best. Millennials have a tendency to click away if their needs are not immediately met, so put your value propositions front and center paired with a clear navigation menu.
Millennials rarely take a single message as gospel, and researching a company comes easy thanks to the internet.
Millennials are a hyper-online generation, meaning they’ll see your company from multiple angles. It is vital to have your brand messaging aligned across every platform. Identifying personas helps tailor your message.
Millennials value consistency and authenticity and tend to be wary of anything that could come off as pandering. Your brand’s overarching personality should be apparent across different platforms to bolster buyer trust.
Use Honest Language
Having grown up online, they have been bombarded with advertisements more so than any other generation. In the early 2000s, popular children’s websites such as Neopets even caught criticism for using immersive advertising to market to children.
As a result, many Millennials view advertising with extreme scrutiny and are averse to buzzwords. Phrases like “revolutionary” or “raises the bar” fall flat. A Millennial buyer is more likely to be enticed by measurable statistics and a succinct summary of your value propositions.
Rather than calling a skincare product a “breakthrough innovation,” talk about how the product works. Is the formula backed by scientific evidence? Was it developed by dermatologists?
Because of Millennials’ tendency to distrust direct advertising, influencer marketing is becoming more popular. Influencers foster an intimate relationship with their audience, so there is built-in trust. Developing an influencer marketing strategy should be on your list of priorities.
Shorten Your Sales Process
Millennials are used to convenience, so look into ways to expedite the sales process.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are your friends. New technologies can help you automate certain tasks, freeing up your sales team to focus on more complex problems. Smarter chatbots are also an excellent sales tool. They can interact with customers in real-time and direct them to relevant information.
Sales content should also err on the shorter side. Millennials are more likely to watch a video explaining your value propositions than read a lengthy brochure or pages of product information.
Small changes can make a big difference. Using one-click checkout and allowing customers to save their credit card information both make repeat purchases more likely.
Forrester recently reported that 69% of Millennials find marketing material to be extraneous and 57% find the majority of materials they receive useless.
Content that positions your company as a thought leader in the field fosters trust. You are more likely to gain favor by publishing blog posts highlighting general information about your industry than with posts explaining why your company is the best. Focus on content that feels sincere, reliable and relevant. Getting testimonials directly from happy customers can do wonders, as 91% of Millennials trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family members.
Content does not always have to be direct marketing. Millennials are an increasingly socially conscious demographic, so show off any charity endeavors or sustainable practices. IBM saw success in 2018 when they launched a four-minute video documenting their efforts to help protect endangered African rhinos. The video, which was viewed thousands of times, garnered attention from major media outlets.
The Bottom Line
Millennials are changing the way we do business, including marketing, and it is not enough to make a few small tweaks to your existing strategy. Many traditional sales processes are fast becoming obsolete. Going into 2021 and beyond, you need to revamp your strategy from the ground up to meet the needs of a new buyer demographic.