Millennials have taken the driver’s seat in the B2B buying process. OMG! However, motivating millennials isn’t an insolvable problem. It just requires a slightly different approach.
Our very own Nichole Gunn recently sat down with Marketing Dive to discuss how more companies are using B2B incentive programs to create brand differentiation and appeal to millennial B2B buyers.
You can do the same with a few small adjustments to your B2B incentive program. But before we get into that, let’s see how well you understand millennial B2B buyers. After all, millennials make up almost half of all B2B product research and are becoming more and more involved with buying decisions at B2B companies.
True or False: Motivating Millennials
- Millennials care more about features, benefits, and deliverables than prior generations. False– Millennials, more so than previous generations, care about higher-order values, such as trust, connectivity, inspiration, and what your company stands for. Authenticity is the order of the day. Millennials prefer genuine communication to standard-issue ‘marketing material.’
- If a millennial B2B buyer has questions about your product, they are likely to contact your sales rep. False– Millennials value independent research. They are more likely to delay actually speaking with on of your reps until further in the sales process after they have already found their own answers. (Millennial B2B buyers do most of their research online – so make sure your loyalty program has a great online presence!)
- Customer experience is a primary factor in motivating millennials. True– To quote Nichole Gunn: “Millennial B2B buyers’ expectations have been shaped by their B2C experiences. They expect an engaging and seamless user experience across a multitude of mediums, be it online, email, SMS, or through interactive quizzes, trivia, and surveys. Integration and personalization are more important than ever.”
Nichole sums it up nicely in her conversation with Marketing Dive: “Millennial buyers care about who you are as a company. They care about what you stand for. They aren’t looking for a buyer-seller relationship so much as they’re looking for a true partnership. They want you to be a trusted advisor, someone they can connect with and share information with in a fun, collaborative environment.”
Did Someone Say Fun? How to Connect with Millennial B2B Buyers:
Now that we know a little bit more about motivating millennials, how does this apply to your B2B incentive program. After all, 84% of U.S. businesses now use a non-cash reward program as part of their marketing or relationship management strategy. With budgets for those programs increasing across the board, it’s important to make sure your incentive budget is effectively motivating the largest demographic in the workforce today.
Nichole Gunn mentions several pointers in designing an effective incentive program for millennials.
- Offer lifestyle rewards: Millennials are more motivated by lifestyle than status. Nichole Gunn mentions “hiking gear, kayaks, and gift certificates to services like Uber Eats, which enhance or facilitate their lifestyle” as effective incentives for millennials.
- Give millennials opportunities to travel: Millennials are motivated by experience. In fact, they seek out travel experiences far more frequently than past generations. Whether it’s group incentive travel or the ability to redeem reward points towards solo travel opportunities and exciting events, make sure your B2B incentive program gives millennials the option to experience life!
- Use your incentive program to educate millennials on your brand: Motivating millennial buyers is about more than just rewards. Capitalize on the emotional investment rewards create, by educating buyers on your brand every chance you get. Incentive programs create new touchpoints where you can show off what your brand has to offer millennials. But make sure you focus on the right things!
- Be tech-savvy (and fast!): Millennials are digital natives. Their lives are integrated with the internet. Make sure your incentive program does the same by utilizing the latest incentive technology. And make sure your interactive platforms and reward fulfillment feel fast and responsive.
Motivating Millennials is More Important Now Than Ever
The headway companies like Amazon Business and Walmart B2B are making in the B2B space has many B2B companies a little uneasy.
However, while now is the time to be forward-thinking, this isn’t necessarily cause for doom and gloom. Traditional companies just need to find new ways to compete. An effective B2B loyalty program, with great rewards and omnichannel communication, can go a long way in helping to weather this type of transition. And the companies that understand motivating millennials will be the one who have the edge!