Corporate Eye

85% of B2B Buyers Say Online Content Affects Purchase Decisions

web browserA new study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, the CMO Council’s ROI Center, and NetLine found that 85% of business-to-business (B2B) buyers are either majorly or moderately affected by online content from B2B marketers when making vendor selection and purchase decisions. However, B2B buyers don’t believe that B2B marketers are creating online content that offers enough value or is trustworthy. Content published by industry groups and professional organizations is considered to be both more valuable and more trustworthy.

According to the report, B2B marketers invest $16.6 billion in digital content publishing each year to acquire leads and drive sales, and they invest 25% of their annual marketing budgets on content marketing activities. However, most companies don’t have the necessary strategies or teams in place to create the type of content B2B buyers want, and even fewer have the ability to track the performance of their content marketing efforts.

The “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field” report was based on an online survey of more than 400 B2B buyers around the world working in a variety of industries. Key survey findings included the following:

  • 28% of respondents share content with more than 100 colleagues. Another 31% share content with 25 to 100 people. That means 59% of respondents share content with 25 people or more.
  • 67% of respondents say that research and white papers from professional organizations is the most trustworthy source of content while just 9% rated vendor white papers as the most trustworthy source.
  • In general, 50% believe that papers from industry organizations are highly valued and trustworthy. 48% believe that customer case studies are valued and trustworthy. 44% believe that analyst reports are valued and trustworthy, and 41% believe that independent product reviews are valued and trustworthy.

The CMO Council concludes that too much B2B content is overly promotional or overly technical. It doesn’t help B2B buyers as they’re trying to make buying decisions. A recommendation is for B2B marketers to form partnerships with organizations and content publishers who B2B buyers already trust. Of course, this is the first step in any social media marketing strategy — find your best audience where they already spend time online and connect with them there to begin building relationships with them.

Today, most B2B marketers are very reactionary in their content marketing efforts, and the results of the CMO Council report highlight the need for marketers to develop strategies first and ensure content is part of a larger, fully-integrated marketing plan.

You can download the full report by following the link earlier in this article.

Image: Bill Oddie

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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