A recent survey by the CMO Council came back with a resounding yes when they found that 87% of B2B customers were either heavily (27%) or moderately (60%) influenced by online content in their buying decisions and furthermore 35% believe that online content highlights the vendors that best understand their needs.
This being said it begs the question if B2B buyers are influenced so heavily by online content what characteristics of the content influences them the most? The CMO survey asked this question and according to the report, the characteristics most valued in B2B content are:
- Breadth and depth of information (47%);
- Ease of access, understanding and readability (44%);
- Originality of thinking and ideas (39%).
The report also asked what B2B customers liked least in online content and found that brands should avoid the following characteristics:
- Too many requirements for download (50%);
- Blatantly promotional and self-serving (43%);
The CMO survey went on to ask the type of content that influences B2B buyers the most:
- Professional association research reports/whitepapers (67%);
- Industry group research reports/whitepapers (50%);
- Customer case studies (48%);
- Analyst reports and whitepapers (44%); and
- Independent product reviews (40%).
So it can overwhelmingly be seen that B2B buyers are most impressed and will make the best buying decisions when the content provided by a company is not just an online brochure about how good the company is. What inspires a B2B customer to buy is when a company engages with current research from its own professional associations and industries, enables current customers to be seen and heard online and can provide product reviews that are verifiably independent.
This information is gold to B2B vendors and could easily form the basis for a content marketing strategy that will produce real results because it is based on sound data of what B2B customers believe in and want to see online.