As Millennials — now the largest generation in U.S. history — move up the corporate ladder, they're increasingly making meaningful decisions that impact business spend. But to sell to this generation effectively, marketers need to understand their unique preferences and purchase drivers.
Our research on generational buying habits recently uncovered insights that challenge historical assumptions and tactics used by many B2B marketers. We’ve identified four key ways Millennials differ from previous generations when it comes to what influences their business technology purchases.
1. Millennials desire meaningful brand relationships and experiences
For younger tech buyers, cold calls and mass emails simply won’t cut it. Millennials want to build meaningful connections with brands. According to the research, 60% of Millennials prefer to purchase from tech brands that cultivate relationships with potential customers instead of merely looking to secure quick, transactional deals.
Additionally, 34% of Millennials said they need to have a personal experience with a tech brand before making a purchase, compared to 25% of Gen X and 17% of Baby Boomers. So instead of sending Millennials product pitch after product pitch, marketers should get to know their prospects’ pain points so they can provide genuinely useful advice and technical insights throughout the purchase journey.
2. Millennials want a vendor’s mission to align with their values
When evaluating tech vendors, 26% of Millennials said it’s important or critical for a company’s mission to align with their values, compared to only 19% of Gen X and 13% of Baby Boomers. Because Millennials care more about what companies stand for — perhaps because they're younger and more idealistic — vendors with noble or altruistic goals that Millennials can identify with might have an opportunity to connect with younger buyers and win new customers.
3. Millennials will buy from less-established tech brands
Only 23% of Millennials said it’s important or critical for tech vendors to be established for at least 10 years, compared to 31% of Gen X and 32% of Baby Boomers. In other words, it’s not a given that Millennials will automatically buy from big-name tech companies just because they’ve been around for decades. This means opportunities exist for younger brands, and more established vendors need to continuously innovate to stay relevant to millennial tech buyers.
4. Millennials’ business purchases are more influenced by their personal tech preferences
When purchasing smartphones, tablets, and laptops, Millennials’ personal preferences can affect what technology they end up buying for their organization. In fact, 65% of millennial decision makers —compared to 55% of Gen X and 57% of Baby Boomers —said the technology they purchase for personal use influences their business technology purchases. This indicates that Millennials, who are notoriously heavy technology users, want to stick with what they already know, like, and use at home.
Marketers should make an effort to understand Millennials
Ultimately, as Millennials continue to gain more influence over organizations’ tech budgets, B2B marketers need recognize this generation’s unique preferences. And marketers who adjust their tactics to cater to Millennials can improve their chances at driving purchases and reaping financial rewards.