A new survey by Sacunas reveals 73 percent of millennials are involved in some aspect of purchasing decisions at their B2B companies and at one-third of companies, a millennial (ages 20 to 35) is the sole decision maker. As a result, B2B marketers need to understand what this shift means and begin to cater to this demographic.
What makes millennials different? Digital channels matter most: 56 percent of millennials report search engines, vendor websites and social media are the most important sources of information when researching new products.
The data shows the younger the millennial, the stronger the preference for digital channels. Significantly for professionals ages 20-24, 19 percent identify social media as the most important when researching a new tool. On the whole, 85 percent of millennials use social channels to research products and services for their company. Facebook is the preferred choice for 40 percent, the survey shows.
Businesses should also consider improving mobile efforts, as 82 percent of millennials consider mobile devices important in the research process.
Video is also preferred by 29 percent of millennial buyers, as opposed to more traditional marketing collateral of case studies, white papers and brochures. Having practical product information, such as training and demos (39 percent) and product news (29 percent), do well with millennials.
The survey analysis included about 1,400 employed millennials (ages 20-35).
“Our findings contradict the traditional belief that social media is a secondary influencer on purchasing decisions for B2B brands,” said Director of Research and Strategy Heather Wadlinger. “We’ve confirmed that not only do millennials turn to social media for information about B2B brands, but they overwhelmingly prefer Facebook and YouTube to other social platforms like LinkedIn.”
Mobile is Key Channel for Millennial B2B Buyers
Nearly half of respondents in a March 2015 survey of B2B researchers by Millward Brown Digital and Google said they use their mobile device to do product research at work. About 91 percent of them use smartphones throughout the path to purchase.
The survey also found an increasing involvement of millennials in the business buying decisions. Approximately 46 percent of potential B2B buyers in 2014 were millennials, up from 27 percent two years prior.