How to Reach Your Millennial Industrial Buyer

millennial_industrial_buyer_2.jpgIf you have read any of my blog, you know I promote inbound marketing for industrial. I often begin my argument with something like, “Your industrial buyer’s behavior has changed”.

Or…”Your industrial buyer starts the traditional buyer’s journey with search…you greet them with great content.”

Or…”One of the best ways to improve your industrial brand is by producing quality, helpful content that greets your online prospects.”

All valid arguments.

However, it just hit me today at I watched the CBS Morning News.

Probably the best and most valid reason to engage inbound marketing for industrial is the fact that your baby-boomer buyer is now replaced by the largest working demographic…the millennials.

80 million of them, according to the US Census.


US Labor Force by Generation 1995 – 2015

And…the millennials communicate differently than their older buyers.

If you are looking to stay in business for the long term, it is a fair assumption that you must learn to communicate in a different way to the millennial industrial buyer. Doubt this statement at your peril.

So, how must a traditional industrial marketer adjust to attract the millennial buyer?

First, millennials are keen on your “mission”.  They want to know what your long view is. What is your vision?  What is the “WHY” behind your brand theme?

If you are going to communicate to your new industrial buyer, I recommend taking a long, hard look at your industrial brand. Surely, there are some core values you can weave into your brand message that will help your message resonate with the millennial.

You have heard it before, but to the millennial, cold calling is really dead. Almost any marketing tactic called “solicitation” is a no-no to a millennial. The millennial has been empowered by technology to research your product before a sales person enters the buying process. Using old-school “push” tactics will be a waste of time and resources.

No BS In case you have not noticed we have all become very good at blocking out marketing… caller ID, DVRs, Ad-blockers, etc.  And, to the millennial, blocking out marketing messages has become an art form.  Their BS radar is a highly tuned apparatus. The want to do the research on their own and have all the tools at their disposal to do just that.

My friend, Greg Miller at ,said it best.  While reviewing a potential client he commented on their website and said, “ABC Company’s website screams….Here are our products, do you want to buy some…When it should say…We are the experts in your industry.  How can we help you today?

That is a message that will resonate with a millennial. What does your website say to a new visitor?

Be mobile.  I am sure you have been in an airport, doctors’ waiting room, sporting event, etc. and noticed that the millennial is more engage on her mobile device than the event at hand. If your website and content marketing for industrial is not mobile friendly…forget any kind of communication with your millennial industrial buyer.

Direct mail has long been a staple for the industrial marketer. Is it still working? Have you tracked your response rates over the last couple of years? If you have, you have noticed response rates have dropped. Marketing data tells us, millennials do not value the message, the touch or the feel of physical advertising like an expensive direct mail piece.  Millennials prefer ease of use.  They would rather find the info on their own…in digital format…not physical format.

Seems strange, but I would put email marketing in the bucket with other traditional marketing tactics. For the millennial crowd, purchasing a list or even sending the same email blast to your own contact database is hoe-hum. These folks grew up on caller ID and TiVO, so they know how to give you the cold, digital, shoulder.

However, we do know that millennials still use email profusely. With today’s marketing automation, you can easily offer the right content at the right time to the millennial crowd. By segmenting your mailing lists by job title, content they have downloaded, their behavior on your blog, etc., you can create highly segmented mailing lists that offers information in context to their specific interest. That is the way to reach the millennial crowd.

PPC campaigns: As most know, web users are a skeptical bunch, particularly millennials. So when you spend ad dollars on a PPC campaign make sure your ad copy has no BS. Make sure it is specific and offers value…that is, a valuable piece of content in return for their, disruptive (i.e. (in their view), click. Put a landing page behind your PPC ad that further explains the value of our offer with a form to capture their name & email address.  Don’t ask for anything more than that.  A millennial will think you are too pushy.

Using marketing automation, your next email can ask specific, qualifying, questions such as, “What is your average annual purchase?” or “When do you plan on making a purchase?”

Then, to a millennial, you are very cool. As a digital native a millennial knows there is some pretty cool technology behind that form.

Video: It is known…we all love video. For millennials, weaned on all things digital, it is required. From a visibility standpoint, video opens up new channels for SEO as well.

Conclusion: It should be apparent we are in for massive disruption as industrial marketers. The millennials are at the forefront of disruption. If your industrial marketing strategy is stuck in the 80’s & 90’s you do so at your own peril.

Just ask your millennial son, daughter, nephew or niece.