We Analyzed the B2B Buyer Preferences Study, And Here’s What Stood Out

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 

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