Marketing to the “ME” generation
There are currently 80 million millennials ( born 1981-1997) in America, 25% of the entire population. And boy do companies want a piece of that influential mindshare. It’s no wonder — reports confirm that millennials have about $200 billion in annual buying power.
As this generation moves into its prime professional years, buyer behavior is governed by a digitally savvy point of view. B2B companies that target millennial engineers (a.k.a "MEs") need to examine how they market and do business.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while marketing to the " ME" generation:
They do their homework.
Millennial engineer employees represent some of the best-educated workforce in history. They have access to virtually infinite information via the internet, received the most schooling, scored highest on the SAT and received the earliest investment in technical skills.
Because of these factors, millennials are accurately described as self-starting, self-educators. They aren’t going to wait until a salesperson approaches them about a new product or service. They research the internet, find the relevant information themselves and let you know when they’re ready to talk to someone.
Recent studies show that B2B buyers move about 70 percent down the sales funnel before they want to engage with a sales representative. And once they interact directly with vendors, millennials have high expectations that salespeople are knowledgeable and have valuable content to share and don’t want to sit through a cookie-cutter sales pitch.
As a marketer, you need to make sure they find your information and content as easily and quickly as possible.
They double down on online search.
By the time millennials joined the workforce, "Google" became a verb and the #1 tool for research. Ninety percent of B2B users search online specifically prior to making business purchases. They’re not going directly to trade publications, engineering journals or OEM websites. And 71 percent of those Google searches are generic. They’re searching for a product, service or insights first, not a specific brand. On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging a brand's site. This is a monumental shift for an industry that has historically hung its hat on brand allegiance.
Marketers targeting "ME" buyers need to invest in optimized search engine marketing, responsive websites and download on demand assets. To better reach and engage with the ME target audience, well-crafted AdWords campaigns can get your brand to the top of the page and top of mind.
Search engine success relies on a constant supply of fresh quality content. Google algorithms are setup to ensure companies with the most quality, relevant and recent content show up first.
They don't want to read your long copy.
As the first native digital generation, millennials are used to quick-read headlines and a maximum of 140 characters. So, please, be brief. Break up long copy with devices that work to keep attention — graphs, infographic, video — anything but a long, imageless text heavy white paper. Electrical engineers of all ages like circuit diagrams, computer programmers feel comfortable looking at flow charts and systems analysts use structured diagrams. Learn the visual preferences of your target audience and incorporate use of these symbols and artwork in marketing pieces.
Videos are a great replacement for that block of text! According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate. Unbounce reports that including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%.
Putting it all together
While the millennial generation is a single entity, the MEs are incredibly diverse in their preferences, so don’t take these three tips as be-all end-all advice. Just remember: rock your online content marketing, be technically accurate, accessible, keep it short and you’ll win over those hard to reach millennial hearts (we kid).