Companies can reach millennial B2B buyers by partnering with popular social media users who speak with passion and expertise to young professionals.

Numbering 80 million, millennials have become the largest demographic segment in the United States and are expected to command more than $1 trillion in disposable income by the year 2020. As this generation comprises an increasing percentage of the B2B buying landscape, businesses must pay attention to their professional purchasing habits — which, it turns out, bleed over from their personal purchasing patterns.

Millennials are notoriously hard to reach through traditional marketing strategies. But successfully appealing to that demographic is becoming more and more important. Jay I. Sinha and Thomas T. Fung, marketing specialists at Temple University, explain how B2B companies can use “nano-marketing” techniques to generate buzz and build credibility with millennials.

Micro-influencers

Large companies have traditionally used celebrities and recognizable logos to promote their brands. But millennials have turned away from advertising and endorsements that aren’t perceived as authentic or based on expert knowledge.

Millennials have led a surge in the popularity of social media platforms, and companies have found increasing success in using sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and YouTube to market to this demographic.

“Micro-influencers,” or social media users whose followers number between 1,000 and 100,000, have proven four times more likely to generate viewer engagement over the products they review than celebrity endorsements. Click To Tweet

“Micro-influencers,” or social media users whose followers number between 1,000 and 100,000, have proven four times more likely to generate viewer engagement over the products they review than celebrity endorsements. Partnering with micro-influencers is a highly affordable way for companies to make their brands visible and relatable.

Micro-influencers have helped turn start-ups into major brand-names and have helped established companies extend their influence into youthful markets, leading Inc. magazine to declare 2018 the “Year of the Micro-Influencer.”

Strategies for B2B companies

Sinha and Fung argue that this strategy is not just for B2C companies selling products known to appeal to millennial consumers. What’s known as nano-marketing, or partnership with micro-influencers, can be just as effective for B2B.

Sinha and Fung offer four managerial guidelines for B2B companies seeking to partner with micro-influencers.

1.      Micro-influencers have specialized and self-selecting audiences.

Picking the right micro-influencer to partner with can help you target the sub-groups you want to reach. For instance, GE uses nano-marketing to help recruit female tech professionals.

2.      Recognize the strengths of micro-influencers.

They make products and companies seem relatable to viewers by sharing their personal experiences. Companies can leverage this in their branding.

3.      Nano-marketing works best as “a subtle nudge.”

Whereas traditional advertising has to be heavy-handed to be memorable, micro-influencers speak with credibility about brands that they personally have used.

4.      Entertainment.

Micro-influencers find innovative ways of producing content that will appeal to their followers and incorporate their brand endorsement in creative formats.

Millennial B2B buyers should be an increasing focus of your targeted marketing activities — if they’re not already. How are you reaching this audience?

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