It’s nothing new that B2B Buyers do their own research. And they consume 3-7 types of content before making purchases. But each year, as buyer's behavior changes, so do their expectations. It could be due to the technology they’re using, personalized experiences, or less time to devote to research and reading. Regardless, buyers expect better experiences from the content they read, watch, or listen to.
Your content can play a major role for buyers in making purchasing decisions.
“79% of B2B buyers said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision.”
Regardless of whether it's a new product or revenue-producing channels, these trends emphasize the importance of quality content in growing your business. Buyers will take time out for relevant content and that can directly impact their buying decisions.
The question is, has your content evolved into what your buyers expect to see? Is it on their radar when they’re researching purchases? And has your content flagged you as a winning vendor?
Past B2B Buyer Expectations
The Case Study Makeover Guide captured the attention of numerous marketers. According to the studies shared, over the past few years, B2B buyers had 4 expectations:
1. Be Customer First. Decision makers want to know that you understand their pain, their situation, and what they want to achieve. They want you to deliver benefits they find valuable for their needs.
2. Provide insights into all the data. Guide buyers to pick out the data that matters to them and help them figure out what it means for their business.
3. Offer more benchmarking data. Give decision makers the ability to study real-world examples of how their peers identified gaps, solved similar challenges, and successfully made improvements to grow their business.
4. Provide content with less sales messages. Help buyers understand their challenges and the possibilities for success first, instead of focusing on promoting your products, your services, and your company.
So, where are we in 2020 and beyond…
Things Haven't Changed Much
The truth is, according to the latest trends, moving forward things haven’t changed much. One thing that will remain on top is to be Customer First. Another study by Demand Gen, The 2019 Content Preferences Survey Report, shows 5 key ingredients buyers want when consuming content to help them make better decisions.
B2B Buyers prefer content with these 5 key ingredients:
Content with less sales messages—a product demo in a webinar won’t cut it.
Content backed by more supporting data, filled with reliable sources, and that is trustworthy.
Case studies with similar pain points—regarded as the most valuable type of influencer content. Influencer content inspires people to listen to the advice and take action on it.
Other formats for influencer content such as webinars, video, white papers, blog posts, and infographics.
Content that is clear, concise, and easy to read. Buyers have even less time to research and read reports. They simply don't want to read clusters of text. They need visual breaks and the ability to skim-read. So, this is the one key ingredient that has been added to the list.
B2B Buyers Speak Up
In the same Demand Gen Content Preferences Survey, B2B buyers speak up about their preferences. They recommended four ways vendors canimprove the quality of their marketing content. Much of the content they are finding is still missing these key ingredients.
4 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Content:
66% Use more supporting data and research
65%Curb sales messages
60%Add more insights from industry experts
59-51%Make it clear, concise, and easy to consume Add in interactive, visual, and/or audio content, fewer form fills, and don't overload it with copy only.
Early and Mid Stages of Buyer's Research
One last important from the Content Preferences Surveyis that buyers review more content in the early to mid stages of their research. They have 5 top content types they prefer during these stages.
The Top 5 Content Types:
55% White papers 50% Webinars 49% Case studies 44% Video 44% Infographics
Do you have enough content that specifically focuses on the early to mid stages of the buyer's journey?
Are your white papers addressing the challenges your prospects are up against or are they focused on the features and benefits of your products and services?
Are you focusing on your customer's pain points in your case studies?
Are you doing demo's in your webinars or are you educating your audience on their potential challenges and the possibilities of solutions?
Look over all the ways buyers prefer to get content in this article. If you make some of these changes and give people what they're looking for, you should see better engagement with and responses to your content. And in the end, if your solution is a good fit, buyers will make the decision to buy from you.
Quality content has proven to be very persuasive in helping people make decisions. In fact, 79% of B2B buyers said that the wining vendor's content had a significant impact on their buying decision.
Each year, as buyer's behavior change, so do their expectations about how they want to consume the content they find to help them make better buying decisions. One thing that will remain on top is to be Customer First.
Not much has changed in terms of what appeals to B2B buyers. Except that people are now more outspoken about what they want and they have even less time on their hands.
Engaging Stories Persuade will help technology marketers reach, engage, and persuade the right people with content. To make your content stand out above the rest, Customer Center it, Visualize it, and Repurpose it.