According to Demand Gen Report’s new 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report, half (51%) of the B2B marketers they surveyed find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of content available. At the same time, 49% of buyers said they rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did last year.
In other words, content remains an important tool in the B2B marketer’s toolbox, so it’s more important than ever to understand how to use it in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Right Time, Right Place
It’s no secret that the smartphone has revolutionized the way we consume information. This little pocket computer has shortened our attention spans and made us expect the convenience of consuming content where and when we want it. What’s life all about if we can’t watch YouTube clips on the subway, or listen to Jay-Z on our morning runs?
The DGR survey reveals that what is true of consumer culture is also true of B2B, with roughly 84% of those surveyed saying they frequently or occasionally access business-related content on their smartphone.
This could be why approximately 20% of those surveyed spend less than five minutes with certain pieces of content, including:
- Interactive Content
- ROI Calculators
- Blog Posts
B2B Content: What Works and When?
The DGR report breaks down the kind of content that B2B buyers are using and at what stage they are using it. Early in the funnel, buyers preferences include:
- Infographics (76%)
- 3rd Party B2B Media and News Sites (65%)
- Podcasts (64%)
It’s important to note that this content is quick-form, “snackable,” easily consumable on any device.
As buyers proceed to the middle of the funnel, content grows richer, buyers often are looking for insight outside of vendor-produced content:
- Third-party/analyst reports (48%)
- Webinars (47%)
- Case Studies (42%)
- Blogs by thought leaders/industry analysts (40%)
Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, buyers are more analytical, comparative:
- ROI Calculators (48%)
- Case Studies (42%)
- Assessments (40%)
Who’re You Going to Believe?
The challenge for any B2B marketer is creating content that their prospects can trust. Only 7% of those surveyed said they “frequently” give credence to content that is branded directly from a vendor, compared to the 64% who said they “frequently” trust content that is “authored by a third-party publication or analyst.” However, B2B marketers shouldn’t despair. The survey showed that 54% of B2B marketers “occasionally” trust vendor-produced content.
Clearly B2B marketers producing content are walking a thin line. But the numbers here give us hope, we should lean heavily into thought leadership. The content we create, at least at the earliest stages of the funnel should not talk about our products, but about the ideas behind those products.
What is To Be Done?
The DGR survey further revealed that 40% of B2B marketers typically consume 3-5 pieces of content when making a purchase decision, while only 17% consume more than 7 pieces. Marketers need to create the content that can fill this demand.
On the question of making the research process more effective, 52% of the respondents said that packaging relevant content together would help expedite the research process. The same respondents suggested that they would most like to see content organized by industry (64%), followed by business role (52%) and specific vertical (46%).
The challenge for B2B marketers then is getting the right content in front of the right prospect. It’s important to understand who they are and where they are in the funnel to serve them what they consider the most relevant and engaging content possible.
To find out more about how Madison Logic’s account-based marketing platform ActivateABM can deliver content and messaging at every stage of the buyer’s journey, click here.