Millennial Minute: Meet the New Tech Buying Committee

March 13, 2017


It takes a village to decide on an IT solution.

The modern tech marketing process is less about reaching a single decision maker and more about customizing messaging for stakeholders in a variety of roles. In large companies, there may be five or more decision makers on this ad-hoc buying committee. Each member of the committee likely has different needs to be addressed and varying degrees of influence.

As with other B2B decision-making roles, millennials are increasingly represented on the tech buying committee. Marketers who can speak to my generation’s values and content preferences are far more likely to succeed.

Fortunately, the best practices for marketing to millennials are also best practices for modern marketing. We demand personalized, relevant content on channels that are relevant to us—that’s something gen Xers and baby boomers can appreciate, too.

We just published a new report, The Future Tech Buying Committee: Millennials and GenX Decision-Makers Achieving MORE, Together to help marketers map the stakeholders and influencers involved in tech purchase decisions. We collected survey responses from nearly 6,000 millennials and Gen Xers who have influenced, contributed to, owned budget for, made decisions about, or implemented at least one tech purchase for their company over the past year.

The report uses hard data to cut through myths, suppositions, and stereotypes about the new tech buying committee. Here are a few key takeaways.

Millennials Are Active Members of the Buying Committee

The stereotype of millennials as self-involved and ineffectual didn’t play out in our research. We found that millennials are participating at almost the same level as their gen X counterparts.

Thirty-four percent of young millennials (19-25) and 41% of older millennials (26-35) have decision-making responsibilities. Sixty-one percent of young millennials and 68% of older millennials provided input on a tech purchase decision.

We also found that millennial thinking about technology tends to be mirrored across generations. Eighty percent of gen Xers agreed with millennials on key aspects of technology evaluation:

  • Willingness to try new technology brands
  • Asking colleagues for advice on technology products or services
  • Sharing opinions and recommending technology to friends and coworkers
  • Providing thoughts or recommendations on business technology

Generation X still has more leverage in tech buying—85% of gen X respondents said they decide tech purchases or measure budget for them. But millennials are on the rise, with 68% of older millennials and 54% of younger millennials making the calls.

Millennials Aren’t the Only Tech-Savvy Ones

We found that while millennials can be every bit as tech-savvy as their reputation would suggest, they’re not the only early adopters on the buying committee. Over 70% of young millennials, older millennials, and gen Xers said they consider themselves early adopters of new technology.

That preference for the latest tech doesn’t always translate into reality in the workplace, however. Only 56% of all respondents said their company stays up to date with technology, and 63% of millennials said they were not happy with the tools their tech department gives them.

The Future of Tech Marketing Is Personalized and Social

Millennials grew up in a connected world, one that is increasingly customized to individual preferences.  Netflix recommends titles we’re interested in. Facebook promotes the posts we most want to see. Advertising is relevant to what we’ve been researching.

These ideals carry over to business technology purchases. Millennials overwhelmingly value personalized communications (78% of young millennials) and having connections in common (59% of young millennials).

As you can see, millennials are leading the way with these preferences, but gen X isn’t far behind. Marketing as a whole needs to become more personalized, more relevant, and provide more value.

The Millennial Mindset Is Contagious

The future of marketing to millennials is really just the future of marketing. Millennials will increasingly be represented in leadership roles and on buying committees. At the same time, our survey shows their gen X counterparts aren’t as different as the stereotypes would have you believe. Gen Xers are just as likely to be early adopters of new technology, and just as demanding of personalized, social-savvy marketing.

These insights are just a sample of what you’ll find in The Future Tech Buying Committee: Millennials and GenX Decision-Makers Achieving MORE, TogetherDownload your copy today—because tomorrow, the future will already be here.