Consumer marketing best practices discussions sometimes dwarf the importance of business-to-business. Business-to-business has been looked upon as being very different from consumer marketing practices. The items purchased tend to be more expensive and are fulfilling corporate requirements and specifications.
Lately, marketers are seeing similar behavior that mimics consumer behavioral buying patterns with business-to-business buyers. All those cross-generational discussions that business-to-business marketers once ignored may now be playing a very pivotal role. As the workforce becomes younger and Gen Y employees (millennial) come of age, their personal shopping behavior patterns are surfacing within their chosen profession. This means business-to-business marketers will need to start placing emphasis on digital tactics.
Gen Y consumes many hours of digital content. Like their behavior as consumers, they prefer the convenience of researching and buying directly online on the job too. Unlike their Gen X or baby boomer counterparts, they think it’s more efficient to go online.
Therefore, those marketing to businesses should look at their websites and define what enhancement could be made in order to make researching and buying equipment or services easy. Younger people tend to spend multiple hours researching and will purchase online if they reach a satisfactory result.
Other online enhancements to consider: webinars to demonstrate products, instant message capabilities to answer questions right online, and, if the product or equipment requires installation, technical support capabilities for maintenance after purchase.
After all, those same Gen Y consumers who are buying are also on the technical staff of these companies too. Remember: Be transparent in your business practices. Gen Y demands this from companies they do business with. These suggestions (and more) can assist in setting yourself ahead of your competitors. During this time of tight market conditions, preparation and flawless execution can go a long way in gaining the attention of Gen Y business-to-business buyers.
Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant with 20+ years of experience, freelance writer, and author of “Elements of Buying: A How To Reference Guide on Advertising for Business Owners,” available at Amazon.com. Adele was listed on Black Enterprise’s 2011 Top Execs in Marketing & Advertising and Black Enterprise’s 2013 Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing. Contact: [email protected]