Until recently, industrial marketers have followed the tried and true to achieve sales success. When you find something that works, rarely do you change it. However, many of the old industrial marketing methods won’t work with millennials, who now represent a massive cross section of the marketplace with considerable buying power.
Here are a few millennial facts you might not know.
But companies are struggling to connect with millennials because they are not receptive to the same marketing and advertising messages that worked so well with baby boomers.
Where baby boomers chased fancy cars and lavish homes, jewelry and other material possessions, millennials are more skeptical—they can smell blatant advertising a mile away, and have a natural aversion to it.
That’s not to say that marketers can’t reach and connect with millennials. As millennials start running industrial companies that were once run by their baby boomer parents, industrial marketers just have to alter their approach to strike at the hearts (and wallets) of millennial buyers.
Your message will resonate with this educated, career-driven and actively engaged group of consumers if you take these steps.
Millennials are all about authenticity. They don’t like to be sold to. They’ll record their favorite shows and skip over the commercials, and they avoid banner advertisements.
Industrial marketers would do well to feature real-life examples and case studies of their offerings in action. Millennials don’t want a scripted commercial—they want a reality show featuring your brand, and your job is to deliver.
Takeaway: YouTube continues to grow into one of the most influential platforms for businesses. Industrial marketers can take advantage of YouTube’s simple platform to upload videos that depict happy customers as they engage with your company throughout every stage of the buying process. With just a few video case studies uploaded to your brand’s YouTube channel, you’ll effectively show millennials that you’re not just acting—you’re the real deal.
Aside from real-life examples, millennials need to know that a company is trustworthy before they invest. Nothing conveys trust to a millennial more than social proof, primarily by their peers.
This is where social media works wonders, as this tech-savvy generation loves to see people of their own age group vouching for products and services before they commit.
A millennial isn’t as impressed by a Better Business Bureau logo as a positive Yelp or Google review. And 62 percent of millennials say that actively engaging them on social media increases the likelihood of earning their repeat business.
Takeaway: Get a millennial or a group of millennials to manage your social media campaigns. While it is true that most millennials use Facebook, they also use Instagram, Twitter and YouTube; and those engaging in business also use LinkedIn. In fact, Adweek recently reported that millennials account for nearly 40 percent of LinkedIn’s user base. Encourage your social media team to reach out to millennials and engage. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your social channels, and partner with influencers to show millennials everywhere that your brand can be trusted.
Millennials don’t care about logos; they want to do business with smiling faces and personalities. When it comes to dispersing marketing materials—such as blogs, whitepapers, and even web pages—millennials are more likely to consume the information if it comes from someone they can relate to.
Takeaways: Your marketing materials should be in the voice of a figurehead or multiple individuals. Your blog posts should be injected with personality and, if possible, humor. Your videos should depict individuals in real environments doing things they enjoy. Nothing should be scripted. Think organic when crafting marketing collateral to make millennials more comfortable with your brand message.
Millennials are known as content creators and users. The generation that coined the term selfie loves to post videos and pictures of themselves no matter where they happen to be (even in the restroom). Millennials like to follow their passions, and instead of material possessions, they’re all about experiences. You have a recipe for industrial marketing success when you combine this with the 82 percent of shoppers who cited user-generated content (UGC) as highly valuable when making buying decisions.
Takeaway: Industrial brands can use this trend to their advantage by encouraging social users to submit user-generated content (UGC), such as videos that showcase how best to use your products, or images showing real people using your products and loving every minute of it. Each UGC post invites more engagement with your audience. When millennials engage, make sure you engage right back. This not only provides plenty of activity for your social channels (and tons of social proof), but it’s a great way to show millennials that you value their input.
Millennials tend to invest in products and services that inspire them. The generation known as “Y” is more interested in experiences than material pursuits. In fact, most millennials dream of visiting all 50 states and traveling abroad.
Takeaway: Industrial brands can use this to their advantage by providing the next best thing: Breathtaking images on their websites and other marketing collateral that depict faraway lands, all while highlighting the brand’s offerings in the foreground.
Doing the same thing over and over while hoping for a different result is the definition of insanity. This is essentially what industrial marketers are doing in their attempts to reach the millennial market.
As an industrial marketer, you owe it to yourself to change your approach while producing content that reaches millennial buyers at an emotional level. Be honest, transparent and prove to millennials that your brand is trustworthy using the latest technology. That’s how you get into the minds of millennials, the most misunderstood of all generations.
Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, a B2B marketing agency. Ryan helps medium and large brands improve sales and market share by developing integrated marketing experiences distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement and conversion.