In my last blog post, I highlighted TOMS Shoes, who happened to be doing an impressive job of marketing to Millennials. However, the point I made at the end of the post was that it’s easy to engage Millennials when you have a sexy product in the B2C space. Sure, there’s competition everywhere, and it takes vision and creativity, blah, blah, blah. I’m not trying to discount the amazing job they’ve done. What I’m saying is, what happens when you’re in the B2B space? How do these Millennial marketing techniques apply? Do they apply at all, or do the rules change in B2B?
First things first, companies in the B2B space often can’t benefit as greatly from social media. Let’s take this company, Yazoo Paper Tubes & Cores, a leading privately-owned manufacturer of high quality paper tubes and cores. I discovered them through a direct mail postcard that was sent to me by someone who was within their target customer demographic.
I remember thinking – “Wow, these guys have to market, too. How do they do it??”
All I could imagine was:
User-generated content: “Join our community! Take a picture of yourself with your favorite rolled-paper product and tag it #PaperTubeNation”
Facebook: “Get up-to-the-minute paper tube news – Like us on Facebook!”
Twitter: #tbt Check out our first paper tube production line from 1902!
Retweet, anyone . . . anyone?
Pinterest: Pinterest paper tube crafts for kids!
Obviously, the samples above are meant to be humorous rather than mocking in nature, and to prove the point that businesses often have an uphill battle ahead of them when they’re trying to engage with Millennials in the social space.
To Yazoo’s credit, they have the obligatory Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/yazoomills) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/YazooMills) accounts with a few hundred likes and followers, and they post professional-quality content in these channels and on their blog, which they contribute to on a regular basis. They have a very nice LinkedIn presence, too. (https://www.linkedin.com/company/yazoo-mills-inc)
So, in B2B, if social media is obligatory, but not really a place to generate a lot of momentum, where should businesses focus their efforts? Mobile friendliness, my people. Millennials have a mobile-first mentality. So, if you do not have a mobile-friendly web site, this is your absolute first order of business. Seriously. Stop what you’re doing and turn all of your attention to creating a great mobile experience NOW. Make it fast, easy, uncluttered and interactive, if possible.
I’ll admit I had low expectations for Yazoo. How cool could their Web site be, anyway? I was almost certain that they’d be behind in the mobile-friendliness category as well. It’s paper tubes, after all.
Well, guess what? I was pleasantly surprised with what I found! Yazoo has a clean, bright and updated Web site that looks welcoming and current and organized (yazoomills.com). They embed a video on the home page as well – an important detail. Millennials love video. As you can see, they also prominently display easy order buttons as focal points on the home page. In an IBM study, 1 Millennials in the B2B space indicated that their most preferred attribute in a company is ease of doing business with them.
Look them up on your phone and they are mobile-friendly, too. It’s nothing fancy, but it works. My one suggestion to them would be to add videos to their mobile site.
They have a brag-worthy recycling program as well, but they’re very quiet about it. I would suggest making a bigger environmental statement on the home page and mobile versions. Millennials are extremely eco-conscious.
Interesting stuff, right? Well, there’s a lot more to learn—I’m just getting warmed up. So, I guess you’ll have to join me on June 4th at the printForum Conference. I’ll see you there!
Register today to reserve your seat! Visit www.printForum15.com