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Three-quarters of B2B buyers strongly agree that they have placed a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of content sources over the past year, though only about one-third are more willing to consider vendor-related content as trustworthy, according to a new Demand Gen Report survey [download page].

These results bring to mind recent research from TrustRadius, in which buyers placed vendor collateral at the bottom of the heap when it came to content trustworthiness.

In this environment, marketers must be attuned to the recommendations made by buyers for improved content. Chief among those is the use of more data and research to support content, which more than three-quarters (76%) of the survey’s respondents strongly agreed would improve the quality of the content created and provided by B2B vendors. Marketers seem to have caught on to this: a study released earlier this year indicated that research and original data are perceived to be the most effective content types by marketers and a similar survey last year likewise found research reports considered the most effective content format.

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Another way in which B2B marketers can improve their content is by curbing the sales messages, as strongly agreed by almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents. In fact, data contained in MarketingCharts’ B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report demonstrated that B2B marketing campaigns tend to focus more on the company’s story than the customer’s story.

Buyers also want content to be easier to access (71% strongly agreeing), for example with fewer forms to fill or by single-click mechanisms. This certainly could help boost form completion rates, which at last count stood at 17% for lead gen content, with an average of 11 fields.

Marketers can also improve their content by working with influencers: 61% of buyers responding to the Demand Gen Report survey strongly agreed that adding more insight from industry thought leaders and analysts would do the trick. Separately, 87% of respondents said they give more credence to content that is shared by an industry influencer when considering how much time and weight to devote to a piece of content. That’s an important consideration given the difficulty of standing out in a sea of content.

Finally, virtually all buyers are relying about the same (50%) or even more (47%) on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they were a year ago, and relatively few (34%) strongly agreed that they have less time to devote to reading and research. While close to half are overwhelmed by the amount of content available, this hasn’t translated too much to a need for different formats: 41% strongly agreed that they prefer more interactive/visual content that they can access on demand, and 35% strongly agreed that they prefer audio/video content that they can access on demand.

About the Data: The “2017 Content Preferences Survey” polled 189 buyers of B2B products and services about their use of content in making purchasing decisions. Some 59% of respondents were from companies with annual revenue of more than $10 million. More than half (52%) of the respondents hold C-level, VP-level or Director-level positions at their companies.

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