Millennials are now major players in B2B buying, according to research recently published by The B2B Institute and GWI. Work in BETA: The Rising B2B Decision Makers ("Work in BETA") was based on surveys of over 17,000 business professionals between the ages of 21 and 64. The report focuses on the attitudes and behaviors of business professionals between the ages of 21 and 40. The surveys were conducted in 2020 and included respondents from ten countries.
In the Work in BETA surveys, significant proportions of the millennial respondents said they have influence at every stage of the buying process, including identifying the business need (57%), researching potential vendors (41%), evaluating vendors (40%), and approving the final purchase (47%).
The Work in BETA research provides a plethora of insights about the attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyles of today's millennial business professionals, many of which have important implications for B2B marketers.
In my last post, I discussed why the pervasive use and reliance on smartphones by millennial B2B decision makers is elevating the importance of "micro-moments" of marketing. This post will discuss how B2B marketers can take advantage of the strong desire to learn that millennial B2B buyers exhibit.
The Yearning to Learn
Millennial business professionals have strong feelings about the importance and value of professional development. The Work in BETA research found that they have a penchant for online learning. About 80% of the surveyed millennials said they participate in online learning events to improve their work skills, increase industry knowledge, or obtain professional qualifications.
Millennial B2B decision makers also use online events to learn about products and services, with almost 50% of the Work in BETA millennial respondents reporting that they regularly attend webinars. However, only about a third of those respondents said the webinars they attend are useful when researching products or services.
Implications for Marketers
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of most in-person marketing events in 2020, and in-person events aren't likely to return until the second half of this year. As a result, many companies have turned to webinars and other online events to fill the gap.
The findings of the Work in BETA research make two things clear:
- Webinars and other online events can be attractive vehicles for engaging with millennial B2B buyers.
- Many webinars aren't "hitting the mark" with those millennial buyers.
- How the lesson topic will be introduced.
- What materials (slides, videos, polls, etc.) will be used.
- How much time will be spent on each portion of the lesson.