By Perry Rearick, Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
What do B2B buyers want? The obvious answer, they want to buy something. Not so fast! It depends on where they are in their buyer’s journey. And for most of that journey, they don’t want to buy anything.
According to Demand Gen’s 2022 Content Preferences Report, B2B buyers have fully embraced content as an invaluable part of the buying journey and this trend is here to stay.1 As we emerge from the limitations that the COVID pandemic placed on us, we should pay special attention to research that illuminates B2B buyer behavior. What has changing, what has not, and what lasting effects from COVID are here to stay?
Demand Gen does that in their latest research and their report deserves our careful reading and understanding. It confirms what many of us believe about buyers and their acceptance, even fondness, for digital content, but there are some surprises also. Here are some key take-aways.
Create More Content
In every measurable category, buyers are consuming more content.
- Overall B2B content consumption increased by 9% since the previous year.
- C-level content consumption increased 16.8%.
- 55% of buyers surveyed said they rely more on content to help them make buying decisions than they did a year ago.
- 62% said they engage with 3-7 pieces of content before connecting with a salesperson.
If you are considering cutting back on content creation, think again. Buyers like digital content, they’re consuming more of it, and they rely on it more to support purchasing decisions.
Create Better Content
Buyers’ appetites for content aren’t just about quantity, and those surveyed offer some interesting insights on the kind of content they prefer and what makes it valuable.
Over half of the survey respondents stated that it is important for content claims to be supported by data and research. Nearly half stated that research should be the very purpose for the content.
It is no secret that complex B2B buying decisions are made by committees and that shows no signs of changing. Content worth sharing was important for nearly half of the buyers surveyed. What makes content worth sharing? Respondents identified three things, a memorable story, easy-to-understand statistics, and hard to find insights.
Other recommendations for quality content include holding back on the sales messages, shortening the content length, making it easy to access by not gating it, and including insights from industry thought leaders.
Create Content for All Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
A common oversight of busy content marketing teams is not customizing content formats for specific stages of the buyer’s journey. The Demand Gen research offers some excellent insights regarding what kinds of content buyers prefer by stage of journey.
- Early-Stage: infographics, blogs, and podcasts.
- Mid-Stage: assessments, webinars, and case studies.
- Late-Stage: reviews, 3rd party analysis, ROI calculators.
Press releases did not make the cut with buyers, so perhaps you can skip that canned Q&A with your new VP of Sales that you plan to spray out to all the media outlets.
Address Customer Issues
Another extremely valuable take-away from Demand Gen’s research is how buyers prefer that content be organized. While marketing departments should pay attention to content format, buyers find no value in it.
Rather, half of the buyers surveyed prefer that content be organized by their own issues and pain points, topics, and industry or vertical. So, if you’re spending a lot of time creating a new video section for your website, perhaps create a new buyer solution center that is organized around all the common problems you solve for them.
Not all content is created equal, and neither are content marketing reports, but you’ll want to spend some time in Demand Gen’s B2B Buyers Preference Report. Few marketing research projects offer real buyer insights, this one does!
- Content Preferences Survey: B2B Buyers Crave Concise, Research-Based Content to Inform Purchasing Decision 2022 Content Preferences Survey: B2B Buyers Crave Concise, Research-Based Content To Inform Purchasing Process (demandgenreport.com)