Half of B2B buying decisions today involve a group of people, according to SiriusDecisions research. The Demand Gen Report 2018 B2B Buyers Survey had 79% of respondents saying there were up to six people involved in the decision-making process.
From a high level, designing your messaging and content requires an understanding of your audience, who they are, what they want, and most of all, how you can help them. And while every piece of content we create – whether it’s an E-book, checklist or blog – has a primary audience, there are many other people reading your content who may also play a role in the decision-making process. These people make up the “buying committee,” and they all play their own unique roles and have their own distinct needs. What’s more, all of these players rely on content in some way, which creates a very complicated situation for your team.
The Committee Cast
Each organization may vary, but they’re typically assembling buying committees from a familiar list of roles like these:
- Target buyers: This is your primary audience—the people who will make the actual purchase.
- Users: Your secondary audience includes the people actually using your solution.
- Influencers: These executives may not be making the final decision, but they still determine which features and capabilities are priorities and which vendors to consider. When a CMO searches for a new marketing automation platform, for example, she may still need CFO buy-in.
- Gatekeepers: These people involved in finalizing budgets for purchase decisions can give those purchases a green light.
- Outside sources/influencers: Trusted peers and colleagues that may or may not even work for the organization can influence the buyer and guide them toward specific options.
While you don’t need to create content for each of these executives, you should consider some key factors about the committee players to incorporate into your strategy and your assets, such as their:
- Roles and responsibilities
- Content preferences
- Watering holes (where they go to find information)
- Device preferences (desktops/laptops versus tablets and smartphones)
Another point to consider is the average age of your target audience. Buyer preferences and expectations vary significantly based on their age. Now, with 82% of companies reporting that they have at least one millennial employee in their buying committee, marketers must assess and even rethink their content marketing and amplification strategies. For example, these buyers value company authenticity and rely heavily on social media as they research solutions. How would this make you rethink or refine your tactics?
Regardless of age, your audience has preferences, beliefs and biases based on what they know, what they assume and what they’ve experienced. It’s important to understand and keep those insights at the forefront when developing your content.
6 Tips for Creating “Committee Friendly” Content
The B2B buying committee isn’t going away. If anything, it’ll only get larger and more complex over time. But that doesn’t mean you should simply create vague and generalized content, hoping that it’ll resonate with someone. Instead, you must think more critically about the content you do create. Here are some tips to get you on the right track:
- Identify your primary and secondary audiences: How do these buyers work together? Are there any key similarities between their roles, responsibilities, goals or pain points?
- Consider context: Determine how your primary and secondary audiences will consume content. For example, should all assets be created with mobile accessibility in mind?
- Think about how buyers will share content: Consider this a game of “content telephone.” How do different committee members find content? How does it get shared throughout the committee? Who typically reads and responds to content that is shared? This information will help you identify key readers to tailor your content messaging toward.
- Identify ways to speak to core audiences within your content: Find ways to sprinkle in messaging that speaks to key users, influencers and decision-makers. How will their day-to-day lives be impacted by specific trends and market decisions? How will your solutions help them be more successful?
- Incorporate data and insights from trustworthy sources: Up to 97% of B2B buyers place a greater emphasis on the trustworthiness of content sources and 95% prefer to read content from credible industry influencers, according to the 2019 Content Preferences Survey. When you understand the buying committee’s key watering holes and the influencers they gravitate toward, you will be able to establish a hearty list of sources to tout in your content.
- Tailor foundational content to different committee members: There may be ways to tweak specific areas of assets so they speak more directly to different committee members. Depending on your budget and timeline, you could find ways to repurpose your content for three or more different committee buyer roles without much effort.
Buyers trust and respond to content that’s authentic, credible and speaks to their needs and priorities. Learn more about how buying committees are changing the buyer’s journey and how to adapt your messaging strategy for them in this recent blog post by Senior Content Strategist Brenda Caine.