Over the past few years, B2B business has seen a dramatic shift in the decision makers involved in purchasing. Now more than ever before Millennials are at the forefront of the company decisions especially when it comes to purchasing. According to a survey conducted by Google 2015 was the first year that nearly half of all B2B purchase influencers were Millennials. This shift impacts not only the B2B branding message but where that message is displayed as well since most Millennials spend a majority of their day online.
One of the biggest differences between Millennials and decision makers in the past is how they evaluate and research potential purchases. The same traditional advertising that worked on baby boomers is not going to work on Millennials and chances are they’re much further down in the purchase funnel before they even contact you. Thanks to the Internet and social media, decision makers do their own research on what they need, want, and whom they want to work with.
With more than 87 percent of online Millennials using Facebook and other social media sites, it’s imperative that your business has a strong social media and online presence however it’s not as simple as setting up pages and scheduling out posts. Millennials are looking for brands that are approachable, easy to navigate and as odd as this sounds more human. Even in this hyper-connected world people still want to be connected with real people, especially in B2B transactions. The most successful B2B companies have utilized their social media pages to reach out directly to their customers and build a sense of community with their brand and customers. It’s extremely important to assure your audience that you or your team of people will be there for them and that you can solve some of their pain points.
So, how does a brand convey all of this to their audience? Here are 4 things you should be talking about in your B2B branding:
Have a Purpose
Many argue that this is more geared to B2C businesses but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Showing your company culture and your core values, or the reason why you do what you do is just as important in B2B marketing. Millennials more than any other audience are looking to work with companies that leave a positive impact on the world or those that have a great story about how they started. Your brand values such as your mission statement and communication style will help create a personality and purpose behind your brand.
Potential customers are looking to solve a problem and they need to be confident that you will be able to solve it for them. Showing that you’re an authoritative source is one of the most important parts of your B2B branding.
B2B buyers want someone that’s going to still make them feel that they have a 1 to 1 relationship even if they never communicate with you directly. Show them that you’re a company with real people who are willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.
Showing that you can be depended on will take your brand messaging far. B2B buyers need to know that they can depend on you to get the job done so they can focus on other parts of their business. They don’t want to feel that they need to micromanage your work.
This generation is looking to be proud of who they purchase from. Today’s world is so much more transparent and connected and Millennials are not only used to that they expect you to be as well. It’s important that they are proud of who they buy from. By using ‘story branding’ companies can set a tone and feel for who they are and why they do what they do. With buyers getting inundated with so many screens and messages, stories help keep your B2B branding clear to your audience. The story with the strongest messaging that delivers an authentic feeling will stand out from the crowd. At the end of the day, B2B buyers are still, in fact, people and people love a good story.