The term “Millennial” has become something of a buzzword over the past couple of years, and especially so in the advertising and marketing space as attempts are made to figure out what on earth we want in order to market to us. For the most part, the view has been driven by the older generation and connected very obviously to hipsterism – with our paleo-pear banana bread, gluten-free-wi-fi and double-shot soy snapchats!
However, a recent report released by Linkedin thinks differently. They looked at us 20-30 somethings as a successful, diverse group who are looking to start families, buy homes and are making the decisions in business. If you’re willing to buy into this perspective, here’s what you should know.
LinkedIn says that “millennials will account for 50% of the global workforce by 2020”, and as the years go by we’re moving up the ladder quickly, joining important companies and getting promoted like it’s going out of fashion. As this is happening, more are having an influence, if not direct control over B2B purchases.
As always, the experience of a sale is paramount, but with a new audience comes the need for a new game plan. The type of experience millennials want out of a B2B transaction is way different to the stock image of the smiling grey-haired fox shaking a strangers hand we’re all used to (and tired of).
School’s out forever
Millennials are no longer students, duh. We are a people in a wide array of life stages, and while as humans we’re all just figuring it out, millennials are adding ‘growing families’, ‘buying homes’ and ‘leading businesses’ to the mix. Our little rag tag group of go-getters have significant professional experience and important responsibilities — everything from making hiring decisions to business purchases.
Don’t believe the report? LinkedIn says that “87 million Millennials globally use LinkedIn, and 11 million of them are decision makers”.
To build further on this, they cited Carat Consumer Insights (2015), who took a look at four millennials profiles. Granted they’re accompanied by very stereotypical images and ridiculously stupid headlines, but hey, the rest makes sense.
Essentially, they found that as diverse as millennials are, that there are two common threads that run through them:
- A penchant for digital – Australian millennials spend 2.6 hours per day on mobile devices, 42% are consuming video content daily and 46% are using social media daily.
- An affinity for authenticity – A study by Nielsen suggests that when Millennials interact with brands on social media, they value authenticity most — “they want to feel like they have a personal, direct interaction with the brand–and in return, they’ll advocate and endorse that brand.” Although this sounds more consumer than B2B, according to McKinsey & Company, more B2B buyers are being shaped by their consumer experience and this holds true particularly for Millennials who have grown up in a hyper-connected world.
So what does all this mean? LinkedIn’s advice: Stop selling to Millennials and start sharing.
Buyers want a consultant, an advisor, and someone they can trust to help them be better at their job. By becoming that person, you’ll be more likely to drive conversion now and in the long term.