Watch Out Marketers, It’s the Millennials Turn to Take Center Stage

by Francine Carb, President

It’s time to realize that changing demographics in the workplace are causing a change in leadership. Millennials, who have been acknowledged as being the most educated, tech-savvy, connected, thrifty, and socially conscious generation ever, are becoming the prime candidates for promotions at every company whether entrepreneurial or corporate. So as a B2B Marketer, you likely need to change your approach to reach these individuals.

The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) has released a report summarizing this new change, titled “To buy or not to buy: How Millennials are reshaping B2B Marketing”. This study looks at a subset of 700+ survey respondents from the Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer generations and how their decision-making processes differ. To successfully reach Millennials, it is important for marketers to alter their approach.

  • Analytics drive decisions
    According to the study, more than half of Millennials depend on analytics to help them make better business decisions. Today, people are used to the accessibility of data with just a click of their phone or tablet. Readily available data will speed up the buying process, and give your product or service the authenticity needed to be credible.
  • Introduce Yourself to Millennials
    During the research process, what really matters for Millennials is determining if a vendor is a good fit for their organization. Since most basic research can be easily found online, the addition of authentic and personalized in-person interactions allow Millennials to better envision what it would be like to work with another organization.
  • Hook, Line, and Sinker?
    The Sales Cycle has begun, so now what, more in-person meetings? Nope. IBM states that even though Millennials prefer personal introductions with vendors at first, once the sales cycle starts, it’s a completely different story. Millennials desire interactions that are quick, easy, and virtual as they decide on an answer. For example, emailing and interacting through social media would be the best way to keep in contact rather than calling to set up in-person meetings. The less work they have to do, the better!
  • Family and Friends Are Key!
    Once it’s time to make a decision, Millennials are seen to rely heavily on the influence of family, friends, and peers. They believe that if others within their circle see the product or service as beneficial, they will feel the same way–even for B2B businesses. Neither Gen X or Baby Boomers use this strategy for decision-making; their own experiences and impressions are the most important.

As a B2B Marketer, understanding the attitudes and decision-making process for this new generation of leaders is key for success. Many marketers have been using the same strategies for years, and yet they’re wondering why they are falling short when working with Millennials. Understanding and implementing these tactics in your business may be challenging at first, but once mastered, they will provide marketers with a competitive advantage that will last for years to come.

Marketing for IT Companies

by Francine Carb, President

Hello, all software, network, integration, migration, and training firms. It pretty much doesn’t matter where your expertise lies; Marketing is your lifeline, if you’re in IT. View our marketing for IT tips:

Let’s start with your relative position in your specific, defined niche—we marketing folks like to call it mapping. Gartner Group calls it the “magic quadrant”, although there’s hardly ever any hocus pocus involved. Even if you are an emerging growth company, you’ll need to figure out where you fit in the ecosystem, so take the time to seriously consider your competitors, as well as those you would like to emulate and create a 2-D visual. We like to put “industry reputation” or “market share” on one axis and “ability to deliver as promised” on the other as one suggestion of an eye-opening view, but you should select and compare those parameters most relevant to your niche.

Are you a thought leader? If so, how might you communicate your expertise with customers and prospects? There is a good chance that you have certain individuals in your company who can solve any problem, sooth any customer issue, or unravel any puzzle. They may not be in the spotlight, but they represent gold, in term of marketing potential. When carefully nurtured, these experts can be the sources of the most sought after blogs, white papers, webinar content, press coverage, and more. If they are timid about writing content, especially for marketing purposes, take the approach of interviewing them and letting them be the “VOC” or Voice of Customer. That should make them feel more comfortable and give you the insight you need to create some powerful marketing content.

How about showcasing your clients? Many companies have challenges getting a case study program off the ground. It’s usually because the client doesn’t want their name mentioned or their technical issues exposed publicly. No one can argue with that; however, if presented in a positive light, most will go along with the idea, especially if they are not blatantly promoting your company or its products. For these clients, you should have an excellent example, in hand, to show them. Also, don’t be afraid to write testimonials on behalf of your clients. As long as they are professionally and respectfully written, most will approve them on the spot.

Let’s move onto imagery: photos, illustrations, info-graphics, videos, and the like. All are extremely helpful to a prospect trying to visualize your technology offering. Videos are best because you have the opportunity to tell an entire story; however, many times, info-graphics can be extremely powerful and long lasting. In today’s increasingly visual world, you may need to stop and consider the visual messages you are sending your prospects, and refocus on the impact that fresher, or more streamlined, images can offer. They can also enhance your content by making it more relevant and interesting to those viewing it.

Finally, I’d like to talk about bragging—specifically touting your companies achievements and successes. It’s not only OK to do so; it’s imperative to building your company’s reputation capital. If you are “award winning”, “leading”, or otherwise “tops in your field”, please say so, consistently and with confidence.

Having trouble getting your marketing and PR programs off the ground? Look no further than the marketing experts at Markitects. We’ve been launching new products and services, building brands, getting our clients noticed, generating leads, and other cool things for technology, engineering and science companies for over 21 years…and loving it. View our services!

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