At a time when B2B leaders say that content spurs buying processes, almost all (97%) respondents to a new survey say they are now placing a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of the source of information when they are consuming content, according to the latest research [access page] by Demand Gen Report and ON24.
As such, using trusted influencers in a content campaign can prove fruitful, particularly as a similar percentage (95%) of B2B marketers say they prefer credible content from industry influencers. But what formats work best when running influencer campaigns?
The two most commonly cited examples are case studies and webinars, with 47% and 39% of buyers respectively finding these B2B influencer content types to be valuable.
The results indicate that webinars in particular are an engaging content type: it appears that B2B marketers spend significantly more time on webinars compared to any other format. For example, about half (49%) of respondents say they spend 10 minutes or less when reviewing case studies, and infographics (87%) and video content (64%) typically capture even less time for engagement. But by contrast, just 11% of B2B marketers say they spend such a short amount of time with webinars, with half (49%) instead spending 30 minutes or longer reviewing content delivered in this way.
While time isn’t necessarily the most critical metric in terms of driving purchasing decisions, three-quarters (73%) of B2B marketers complain they have less time to devote to reading and research, so choosing formats that capture attention for longer may be more influential in the long-term when it comes to influencing buying decisions.
How Should Vendors Improve Content?
B2B marketers should avoid the temptation to drive a hard sale through content, according to the report’s findings. That’s because virtually all respondents (96%) said that B2B vendors could improve the quality of content by curbing their sales messages.
This is backed up by previous research from Merkle, which highlighted that B2B buyers complain of vendors and sales reps who are more interested in selling their products and services than listening to their needs.
Orienting content around needs and pain points is also what B2B marketers want when it comes to content on vendors’ websites. Two-thirds (68%) of those completing Demand Gen Report’s survey said that they want content organized by issue or pain point – a considerably higher percentage than those who want to see information structured by industry/vertical (59%), by business role (47%) or by content format (29%).
Taking such an approach could help, given that more than one-third (36%) say they typically consume at least 5 pieces of content before speaking to a salesperson and more than three-quarters (77%) consume at least 3 pieces of content.
Vendors should also not shy away from any limitations they may have in their products – a separate survey by TrustRadius found 45% of B2B buyers saying that the buying process was easier and faster if vendors were more transparent about their product’s capabilities and limitations.
A final piece of good news for those creating content for B2B buyers is that 90% state they are willing to consider vendor-related content as trustworthy – and almost all (98%) say using more data and research can help support the content they produce.
The full report can be viewed online here.