The Millennial Generation is as large as the Baby Boomer Generation and nearly three times as large as the generation before it, Generation X. In fact, within the next 15 years half of the population will be 21 or younger.
Millennials are typically classified as those born between 1980 and 2000, and are characterized by several traits – many of which involve their technology habits. Millennials:
- Are digital natives, never knowing a time without computers
- Believe that technology should be free and available 24/7
- Never let their cell phones leave their sight (83% of them sleep with their cell phones)
- Are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation
- Maintain an optimistic outlook despite a lackluster economic future
How does this affect B2B marketing? The oldest Millennials turn 32 this year, and as more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement they are being replaced by those in younger generations. Since Gen X is so much smaller than the Baby Boomer generation, this means that there are going to be decision-making managerial positions opening up for Millennials.
Knowing the best ways to reach and effectively communicate with Millennials will be key, especially as more of them enter the workforce. Millennials have grown up receiving individual attention, so they expect to receive targeted communication. And they want to get it immediately – Millennials are used to instant gratification. If they ask a question they expect to receive an answer, or at least an acknowledgement of their concern immediately. This is why many Millennials prefer to communicate electronically.
Millennials also expect marketers to adapt to their technology usage. Everything sent to them should be smartphone (especially iPhone) compatible. They are adept at finding information, particularly through the Internet, so expect them to comparison shop before making an important purchasing decision.
This generation is also on track to become the most highly educated generation in history. Businesses have an opportunity to cater to this generation’s hunger for learning by providing webinars, training sessions and other educational offerings.
So don’t think that just because they are still relatively new to the business world that Millennials don’t have an impact on B2B marketing. Your next prospect (or hire) just may be one.