B2B Buyers On What Online Content Works… and What Doesn’t

June 3, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

B2B | Creative & Formats | Digital | Mobile Phone

CMOCouncilNetLine-B2B-Buyer-Attitudes-to-Online-Content-June201387% of B2B content consumers say that online content has a major (27%) or moderate (60%) impact on their vendor selection, according to [download page] a new report from the CMO Council and NetLine, and 35% believe that online content highlights the vendors that best understand their needs. With such emphasis being placed on content marketing, it’s imperative that B2B brands understand what types of content best influence these buyers.

The study highlights B2B content seekers’ attitudes from a number of different perspectives. One angle is the characteristics that B2B buyers are looking for in online content, and what proves a turnoff. 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%); and
  • Originality of thinking and ideas (39%).

Brands should avoid the following characteristics, which buyers most dislike in B2B content:

  • Too many requirements for download (50%);
  • Blatantly promotional and self-serving (43%); and
  • Non-substantive and uninformed.

Vendors may be falling into those traps, as few respondents indicated that they trust vendor content. In fact, asked what types of content they most value and trust, B2B content seekers pointed to:

  • 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%).

Only 9% said they trust vendor content.

When it comes to the B2B content sources that are most valuable in shaping purchase decisions, the top sources cited by respondents were again peer-oriented organizations, such as:

  • Professional associations and online communities (47%);
  • Industry organizations and groups (46%);
  • Online trade publications (41%);
  • Seminars and workshops (41%); and
  • Trade shows.

The responses indicate that vendors must do a better job targeting relevant, original content to their buyers that doesn’t come across as too promotional or self-serving. With more than one-quarter of buyers saying they share B2B content with more than 100 people, and another 31% saying they share with 25-100 people, the opportunity is ripe for reaching decision-makers.

Other Findings:

  • Email is the most common method used for sharing online content.
  • Although desktop computers are the most popular devices used for accessing content (68%), a significant 41% of respondents use smartphones to access content, and 30% use tablets.

About the Data: The data is based on a recent survey of more than 400 BtoB content seekers around the world, conducted by the CMO Council’s Content ROI Center. The survey tapped into NetLine Corporation’s global content syndication network.

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