As a young marketing professional who works almost exclusively with manufacturers, I understand how millennials in this industry buy, think and work—and they’re quite different from the buyers of past generations. This is significant because millennials will soon make up a good portion of the U.S. workforce.
According to a report on millennials in the B2B space by Sacunas, Inc., millennials will account for 44 percent of the workforce in the U.S. by 2025.
At the very least, this means that if you’re a manufacturing company and you’re not already actively looking to attract your target buyers online, you better start considering it. According to the same report, 73 percent of millennials working at B2B companies today are involved in product or service purchase decision-making. At SyncShow, we develop strategic marketing plans for manufacturers committed to growth. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the digital world shift drastically in favor of our clients, which underscores why it’s so important to stay on top of marketing trends that will help you continue to sell your products, grow and reach your sales goals year to year.
Digital Marketing for Manufacturers
Each day, more and more of your B2B buyers are using search engines like Google to find your products, making your company’s online presence invaluable. To assess whether your online presence is fully optimized to attract today’s younger buyer, ask yourself three simple questions:
- Is my manufacturing website user friendly and mobile responsive?
- Do I continually update my website taking into account search engine optimization (SEO) best practices on a monthly basis?
- Do I have a content strategy designed for lead generation that includes videos?
Being able to answer each of these questions affirmatively will greatly improve your chances of attracting quality leads online—which could make or break the future of your manufacturing company given the increase of millennial decision-making in the marketplace. Related, it’s crucial you start considering these three tips when selling to the millennial buyer:
1. Make sure your website is mobile responsive.
49 percent of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for product research do so while at work.
You’ve probably noticed the millennials you know in your family, workplace and community are on their phones more so than people of other generations. So it’s no surprise that millennials in manufacturing purchasing roles use their mobile device:
- For product research
- To learn more about your organization
- To engage and interact with your content
- To email or call your company for more information
- To reach out to a sales rep for a quote or to learn more
It’s important to make sure your website is mobile friendly—it greatly improves a site visitor’s mobile user experience:
Image source: https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/mobile-seo/responsive-design
2. Create visual content, including videos and infographics.
According to the 2016 Demand Gen Report, 47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
Let’s face it, the millennial buyer is going to watch a video instead of reading a blog post. They’ll also look at an infographic instead of reading a webpage. Do you have engaging content on your website that encourages viewers to take the next step and pick up the phone to contact a sales rep?
The Sacunas, Inc.'s report on millennials in the B2B space states that video is the key to reaching millennial B2B buyers. Here’s a telling quote that proves this statement:
“Reading long papers takes too much time. I’m a more visual learner. I like to see the product in action. I have five minutes max—though I think videos should be short, more like two to three minutes." – “Ingrid,” 23, New York, NY
If you don’t believe that what you do can be explained in a compelling video, watch this video from RBB:
3. Communicate using your buyer’s preferred medium.
An IBM report states that 69 percent of millennials say they prefer email interactions, whereas only 24 percent prefer in-person meetings.
That said, leads who still need to be nurtured into sales qualified leads should absolutely be placed into an automated marketing email drip campaign, which means each week they’ll be automatically emailed by your sales team with information that prompts them to move further down your sales pipeline (the end goal, of course, is that they eventually become customers).
Do you currently have an automated email drip campaign in place to nurture your leads? Imagine taking your list of hundreds of contacts (who are not yet ready to buy from you) and letting marketing automation nurture them with the click of one button. Marketing automation will move these leads further down your sales pipeline until they’re closer to becoming customers. Plus, it’ll allow you the time to focus on sales qualified leads that are nearly ready to become customers.
Time is ticking. If you’re a manufacturer looking to grow who hasn’t yet implemented strategic digital marketing tactics that target the millennial buyer, it’s a great time to start.