Although millennials already make up a third of B2B buyers, many of them say B2B marketers miss the mark with marketing content, Forrester Research says in a new study.

“Vendors give me too much material.” “Much of the material is useless.”

More than half of millennials in a recent study agreed with those two statements, according to a recent worldwide study by Forrester Research Inc. of more than 700 B2B buyers.

Customer-relevant content is essential in the digital age.
LauraRamos-Forrester

Laura Ramos, vice president and principal analyst for B2B marketing, Forrester Research

The “Q3 2019 Global Marketing Content Credibility Study” notes that millennials account for 33% of B2B buyers, a percentage expected to increase to 44% by 2025. Forrester lays out these and other figures in a summary it released last week, “Forrester Infographic: Millennial Buyers Seek Credible, Concise, And Curated Content,” by Laura Ramos, vice president and principal analyst for B2B marketing, along with other Forrester analysts.

But with millennials playing a bigger role in B2B purchasing, B2B sellers and marketers are missing the boat—and wasting billions of marketing dollars—by failing to produce and extend to millennials the kind of marketing content they want to see, Forrester says.

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‘What’s most important to my job’

Forrester notes, for example, that millennial buyers prefer “short-form” content, videos, social media and community-contributed content. And 80% or more of millennials say they want a “curated content experience” that addresses “my business, industry, or market conditions” and “what’s most important to my job.”

Most of all, Forrester notes, 80% or more of millennials want content that provides information on a seller’s products from their peers, colleagues and the seller’s customers.

In one series of estimates, Forrester figures that a typical B2B company with $10 billion in revenue spends about $70 million annually on content marketing. But with 57% of millennial buyers finding marketing content useless, the company in that scenario would waste much of that content marketing budget.

Losing out on millennial-driven revenue

Another way of looking at the problem is that, while millennials today account for 33%, or $3.3 billion of the company’s $10 billion in revenue, losing a marketing connection with 57% of millennials would put the company at risk of losing 57% millennial-driven revenue, or $1.9 billion.

Forrester asserts that B2B marketers still have a steep learning curve when it comes to providing effective marketing content.

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In another study on B2B marketing Forrester released last fall, “Customer-Center Messaging Helps Boost B2B Revenues by Motivating Buyer Action,” also led by Ramos, Forrester evaluated 60 company websites across 12 industries and found that only four provided the content capable of engaging and converting buyers.

“Mirroring the results of a similar study from 2016, the 2019 results show that B2B marketers’ messages are unlikely to persuade buyers anytime soon,” it said.

Personalized and relevant content wins buyers

Forrester contends that B2B sellers need to provide content that is personalized and relevant to customers, rather than content that focuses mostly on promoting particular products.

“Customer-relevant content is essential in the digital age,” Ramos writes in the study released last fall. “Today’s business buyers are perfectly happy to gather information on their own. Before buying from a sales rep or dealer, 67% prefer to research online alone and not talk to a seller at all. They want relevant content, not sales conversations, when comparing choices and making decisions.

“Among marketers surveyed, those who excel at delivering website content focused on different audiences are 1.5 times more likely to exceed sales and marketing goals than those who focus simply on products.”

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