ATLANTA – May 11, 2016 – Despite popular belief around the growing Millennial workforce’s reliance on mobile and social channels, survey findings show these digital natives are influenced by similar sources as their generational predecessors. What’s more, they have significant influence in the B2B buying cycle.
In fact, the millennial generation takes the lead in decision-making power for B2B purchases and has research power when shortlisting technology solutions, according to a survey released today by Arketi Group, a high-tech B2B PR and digital marketing firm.
Seeking to understand more about what moves B2B technology buyers through the typical buyer’s journey, Arketi Group surveyed 262 business technology buyers across the three major generations in the workforce today – Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials.
The survey explores the go-to sources of information for each generation across the three stages of the buyer’s journey. From evaluating a problem in the awareness stage, to researching technology options in the consideration stage, and to creating a short list in the decision stage, there were surprising overlaps and clear differences.
How much power do they yield?
The national survey found more than half of Millennials (61 percent) describe their role in technology purchases within their organization as decision-maker—one of the most powerful roles within an organization.
In further examination, 34 percent of Millennials report having budget and/or final sign-off authority on enterprise technology purchases of $10,000 or more. In comparison to its generational predecessors, 23 percent of Baby Boomers and 27 percent of Gen X report the same budget and sign-off authority.
Understand who they trust
When evaluating tech purchases of $10,000 or greater, Millennials’ most frequently used sources of information include: industry analysts (38 percent), vendor face-to-face meetings (36 percent) and vendor websites (33 percent).
In comparison, a greater number of Baby Boomers rely on industry analysts (50 percent), followed by colleagues (49 percent) and vendor face-to-face meetings (48 percent).
The top of Gen X’s list includes colleagues and vendor websites (both at 40 percent), and analysts and trade shows (both at 38 percent) when it comes to the most influential information sources in buying enterprise technology.
“There are two interesting trends that stand out from the data. First, Millennials are less reliant on any single information source than the other two cohorts. Second, it appears face-to-face interactions, not social media channels, are important to Millennials making major technology business decisions,” said Mike Neumeier, APR, principal at Arketi Group.
Offer in person opportunities in the buying cycle
When examining streams of information consumed at different stages of the buying cycle, the reliance on interpersonal interactions is even more pronounced among Millennials.
At the start of a typical B2B buying cycle, when seeking to understand and explore a possible business problem, millennials most often seek information from analysis and colleagues in their organization (each at 29 percent).
As a buyer moves from identifying the problem to researching available technology solutions, the data reveals millennials seek increasingly more interpersonal interactions. In this phase, a plurality of millennials turn to colleagues (26 percent) and vendor face-to-face meetings (25 percent) for information.
During the final phase of a B2B buying process, the creation of a shortlist from which decisions are made, millennials rely on face-to-face vendor meetings (24 percent), colleagues (23 percent), and live or in-person demos (21 percent).
More face time, less Facebook
The report concludes Millennials are much less reliant on social media than conventional wisdom might predict. In fact, social channels fail to break into double-digits as an information source for any stage of the B2B buying cycle.
“While this research draws out some subtle, but important differentiations between the three groups, it really drives home to us that Millennials, although digital natives, desire and require personal interactions when faced with an important business technology purchase decision,” explained Neumeier.
Building on research presented in IBM’s To buy or not to buy? How Millennials are reshaping B2B marketing report, released in 2015, this study goes a step further in tracking how Millennials are reshaping B2B enterprise technology buying.
Interactive report is online
The survey results are compiled into a playful interactive infographic that compares how each generation approaches B2B tech purchases at https://arketi.com/three-generations-survey, where a printed version of the report can also be requested.
About the Research
The Not Your Father’s Buying Decision: How Three Generations of B2B Technology Buyers Decide What to Purchase report is based on an online survey fielded in the fourth quarter of 2015 using a SurveyMonkey Audience sample. The majority of respondents (60 percent) were with organizations with 1,000 or more employees. Approximately 31 percent were in senior management, 47 percent were in the middle management, and 12 percent were executive or c-level. Respondents by age cohorts included 31 percent Baby Boomers, 39 percent Gen X and 30 percent Millennials.
About Arketi Group
Arketi Group is a public relations (PR) and digital marketing firm that helps business-to-business (B2B) technology organizations accelerate growth through intelligent strategy, public relations, messaging, branding and demand generation. Consistently recognized by Chief Marketer as a B2B Top Shop, Arketi helps its clients use marketing to generate revenue. Companies benefiting from this approach to B2B marketing include Cox, Equifax, NCR, Recall, UL and Xerox. For more information, call 404-929-0091 ext. 210 or visit www.arketi.com.