Tonya Vinas, Director of Content Strategy
B2B buyers continue to refine their purchase-decision journeys by involving more people and complexity, but they also say on-target content is rising above the noise and influencing their choices.
The 2017 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report from Demand Gen Report portrays a typical buyer’s journey as a crowded path full of opinions, diversions, and — at times — uncertainty:
- 59% of respondents said they have formal buying groups or buying committees in place to review purchases.
- 52% said the number of buying group members has increased significantly.
- 86% said purchase decisions often are accelerated or paused based on changing business needs/priorities.
The good news for B2B marketers is that providing the right content still has the potential to sway decisions: 75% of buyers said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their decision.
In-Demand Content: Personalized and Prescriptive
Six out of 10 surveyed buyers said they start their buying journey with a broad web search, but as they interact with brands digitally, they expect a personally relevant experience.
- 75% said it is very important that a website present relevant content that speaks directly to their company;
- 66% said it is very important that a website speak directly to the needs of their industry and the provider shows expertise in their area;
- And 93% of respondents said they value vendors that “demonstrate experience with/ knowledge of our industry.”
Additional research indicates that social and other digitally targeted advertisements are among what buyers consider relevant content: 63% said during their research phase, they noticed ads from the vendor that they ultimately chose.
Another attribute that gets content noticed is helpful information for documenting ROI and making a strong business case for purchase. Nearly nine in 10 respondents (89%) said winning vendors provided such content.
3 Major Takeaways
My colleagues at Demand Gen Report have done a great job on providing context around this year’s report. From the perspective of someone who works every day with marketing leaders and managers, I see three major takeaways from the survey:
- Buyer insight is still the impetus for successful content: Buyers expect you to know them and their industries intimately before they invest time in getting to know you. If you don’t, the door never opens.
- Successful content makes it easier for buyers to make decisions: The survey results repeatedly underscore this. It can be a productive change to start a planning conversation with the question, “How can this [podcast, nurture campaign, blog, etc.] make it easier for our prospect to [answer questions, make a comparison, document ROI, etc.]? . . . instead of with a review of a product deck or number of downloads of an eBook.
- Plan integrated content experiences: Consumers are used to integrated content experiences. They expect the same thing from Netflix whether they watch their shows from a couch or a bus seat. B2B indicated they feel the same way about content. A digital ad can be as influential as a long-form content asset. Expect every piece of content to be the one that boosts the bar.
Take a look at the survey report and find something that surprises you. Then dig in deeper and find a new way to reach your buyers, whether it’s a new format, new partner or simply, a new way to ask what buyers really want.
Curious about creating content that addresses your audience’s needs and pain points? Contact our Director of Marketing, Steve Voith; he is available for questions and brainstorming.