“Adult Millennials,” defined as people born between 1979 and 1995, are becoming increasingly responsible for B2B purchase decisions. You might be surprised at their media journey because the media channels you might plan to deploy aren’t necessarily relevant to Adult Millennials. One sure way to engage these B2B decision makers is through (what else?) social media.

A new survey by Sacunas reveals 73 percent of millennials are involved in some aspect of purchasing decisions at their B2B companies; and at one-third of companies, a millennial is the sole decision maker. The survey analysis included about 1,400 employed millennials (ages 20-35).

“Our findings contradict the traditional belief that social media is a secondary influencer on purchasing decisions for B2B brands,” said Director of Research and Strategy Heather Wadlinger. “We’ve confirmed that not only do millennials turn to social media for information about B2B brands, but they overwhelmingly prefer Facebook and YouTube to other social platforms like LinkedIn.”

As a result, B2B marketers need to understand what this shift means and begin to cater to this demographic.

Millennials B2B

What makes millennials different? Digital channels matter most: 56 percent of millennials report search engines, vendor websites and social media are the most important sources of information when researching new products.

Millennials B2B

The data show the younger the millennial, the stronger the preference for digital channels. Significantly for professionals ages 20-24, 19 percent identify social media as the most important when researching a new tool.  

On the whole, 85 percent of millennials use social channels to research products and services for their company. Facebook, on average, is the preferred choice for 40 percent, the survey shows.

Millennials B2B

Businesses should also consider improving mobile efforts, as 82 percent of millennials consider mobile devices important in the research process.

Video is also preferred by 29 percent of millennial buyers, as opposed to more traditional marketing collateral of case studies, white papers, and brochures.

Millennials B2B

Having practical product information, such as training and demos (39 percent) and product news (29 percent), do well with millennials.

Millennials B2B

Millennials also take into account companies’ moral compasses when researching whether a vendor might be a good match for their needs. Eighty percent of millennials in the survey sample indicate that social, environmental, or philanthropic efforts of companies are important to their purchase decisions.

Millennials B2B

In conclusion:

  • Most millennials turn to digital channels such as search, vendor websites, and social media to research new products and services. In particular, millennials use vendor websites to learn about new products and service offerings.
  • Millennials largely want to learn via video format. Across age groups, millennials perform B2B research on Facebook, which now frequently embeds video content allowing them to observe what it is like to interact with products or services providing multi-faceted sensory content. Facebook’s Instant Articles ad unit are a compelling combination of native advertising, social, and online video, lending credence that even digital channels are melding. Engaging stories, even those with a B2B slant, when artistically conveyed, are sharable.
  • Millennials care if vendors have a social conscience. Most millennials believe that vendors’ social, environmental, or philanthropic efforts and engagement are somewhat or very important when researching new products or services for their businesses.