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Jeff Fromm, executive VP at integrated advertising agency Barkley, coauthored the book on Marketing to Millennials. He’ll speak at a BMA Kansas City-sponsored event on January 23 to offer his insights on what he calls the most mysterious generation. He spoke to BMA Buzz about the impact millennial buyers are having on B2B marketing.
BMA Buzz: What do B2B marketers need to understand about reaching millennial buyers?
Jeff Fromm: One of the main things: They appreciate radical transparency. They are able to crowdsource content from a lot of different sources. A B2B company has to provide relative content and opportunities for co-creation of content in order to be hyper-relevant.
BMA Buzz: Where do you see B2B marketers doing well, and where are we are falling short?
Fromm: It’s hard to be radically transparent and most B2B marketers don’t have a chief content officer or a chief integration officer. Yet they’re trying to develop integrated marketing and content. Organizationally they’re not always aligned around that need.
BMA Buzz: What are the first steps in the right direction?
Fromm: You have to look at the benefits that you offer—functional and then the emotional and participant benefits. Then you make sure that you’re clearly focused on what caused the B2B consumer to want to engage with your brand.
It’s going to vary by category. Every brand, if they are high performing, they have a clear view of their value proposition. Then if they understand where their consumer gets information, then they need to make sure that they are flying in that space.
For example, my job is to sell B2B professional services for an ad agency. I could do that by picking up the phone and asking to make a presentation about what we do. Or I could write a book about millennials and have a conference about millennials.
The second strategy is going to cause you to be more interested. I’ve done all of this work for you. Every company and every situation is different, but at the core, how do you be more relevant in a way that people want to engage with your brand.
BMA Buzz: Are millennial buyers really that different than other generations?
Fromm: In the B2B world, I don’t know that it’s wildly different. Other than that millennials tend to use Google to get a lot of information, so you need to be very searchable, and millennials tend to use video content for learning, so you need to have content there.
BMA Buzz: How important are social channels in B2B?
Fromm: It depends on what you do. It’s reasonably important. I keep an active footprint to keep me in front of reporters and analysts. It doesn’t substitute for selling but it’s a good way to connect.
Millennials are using social channels to share and learn. They are using Google to gather information. Is that different than older generations? Only on the margin. They are the first to adopt new social and digital technologies. They are not the only.
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