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B2B marketing survey reveals how the C-suite makes buying decisions


As a B2B marketer, my clients turn to me for guidance on how to reach their buyers. With so many different methods for reaching them, and marketing budgets that aren’t limitless, we all want to know: just how are your prospects making their important buying decisions?

Walking direction on asphalt

Sophisticated buyers do their homework before making an important buying decision. They research industry trends and seek out credible sources to help them solve their business problems. They may turn to their professional network for a referral, but they’ll also fully vet that professional through online research.

So just how are they conducting their research? Demand Gen Report released a survey, 2015 Content Preferences Survey, which collected data about how professional buyers engaged with content before making buying decisions.  32% of the survey respondents held C-level or VP-level positions in their company.  Two thirds more buyers rely on content to make buying decisions than did in 2014. With these stats in hand, it’s clear that content creation is an important method for reaching clients. Content is a broad term, though, so let’s get more specific. Let’s talk about the reported preferences for content types. Then we’ll talk about how buyers reported to find their preferred content.

Which Types Of Content Do Buyers Prefer?

During the research process, buyers prefer white papers, E-Books, and webinars

If you want to connect with buyers, then it is absolutely worth investing time in long form content types, like a case study, to communicate how your services can help them solve their problems. White papers, E-Books, and webinars are three great ways to showcase that information.

Buyers prefer content that is prescriptive and introductory

Instead of selling your prospect, take the time to educate them. Provide content that helps them learn what they need to know to make a good decision.

Buyers like to have related content packaged together

Instead of releasing a mish-mash of content that a buyer has to dig through to find what they’re looking for, make their life easier. Take the time to package related content together. You’ll save them from wasting time doing tedious research.  In other words, you’ll be a hero.

How Do Buyers Find the Content They Trust?

Tablet and mobile use is becoming more common

60% of the survey respondents said they occasionally or frequently used a tablet to view content, so keep in mind that your content is going to be viewed on different sized screens. Make sure your own website for hosting content is responsive. (2015 Content Preferences Survey)

Most buyers start the research process with a web search, and then go to social media later in the buying cycle

SEO is still important. Content creation will help you compete in the web search space, making your expertise easier to find – for both new contacts or for the prospect who already knows your name, but is vetting your expertise online. Email, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the platforms respondents of this survey said they shared content the most. (2015 Content Preferences Survey)

Buyers will spend more than an hour with an analyst report or an E-Book

If you want an hour of a buyer’s attention, then writing an analyst report, or an E-Book, is a great way to make that happen. These can be laborious to create, but the sections of content showcase your depth of knowledge and can be broken down and leveraged for a variety of other marketing initiatives.

Most Buyers will look at three to five pieces of content before interacting with a sales person

Refer back to the types of content buyers prefer so you can make those three to five pieces worthwhile!

Many thanks to Demand Gen for surveying professional buyers once again in 2015 and updating us on how buyers communicate online. With this current knowledge in hand, how will you educate your buyers in 2016?

Learn more about reaching your audience of buyers through smart integrated marketing communications strategies.


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