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The most successful B2B content marketers prioritize delivering content to the right audience, but do they know who is accessing their content most? Although about two-thirds (64%) of the total audience for B2B content are those individuals with a job level of manager or above, Individual Contributors are the ones downloading the most content, per a new report [download page] from NetLine.

NetLine’s report is based on an analysis of data collected from B2B buyers who agreed to share their information to receive content from NetLine’s clients and partners.

Covering more than 4 million downloads globally, the report found that Individual Contributors account for 18% share of the B2B content consumption audience, followed closely by Managers (16% share). C-level executives are the third-highest consumers of content (14%) while other senior positions such as Directors (10% share) and VPs (3% share) consume considerably less.

The data suggests that while marketers tend to focus on the C-suite when they are developing content, they should be targeting the wider roles within a buyer’s decision-making unit. This is especially true when marketers take into account that often C-suite executives are not necessarily seeking out information on their own. A survey by PathFactory and Heinz Marketing of upper management marketing professionals, which included job titles such as VP, Senior Director or C-Suite, found that 6 in 10 marketing professional delegate researching to members of their team. Additionally, a majority of B2B buyers report having less time to read and research, so it could be assumed that a more junior position would be tasked with the initial research.

Time to Consume Has Dropped

Historical data (2015) shows that calling a lead within one minute resulted in a more-than-doubling of the lead conversion rate compared to contacting them 48 hours later. This practice may not be as advisable in the present day (at least using content downloads as the lead generation method), as the average time to consume requested data for all job levels is somewhere around 24 hours – and contacting a prospective lead before they have even had time to consume their requested content may prove to be counterproductive.

NetLine found that, although the general job position of VP consumes the least amount of content (3%), Executive VPs appear to consume it quicker (within 22 hours) than of all the job levels studied. Individual Contributors tend to consume within 24 hours while C-Levels do so within 29 hours. Owners take the longest to consume requested content at a full 38 hours.

The good news for marketers is that all but three job levels saw a decrease in time to consume requested data over last year. Consultants saw the biggest decrease at 26%, followed by Senior VPs (25%). The three job levels that reported an increase in time to consume content after the request were Senior Managers (24%), Senior VPs (2%) and Managers (1%).

It is worth noting that separate research has found that once a salesperson has contacted a possible buyer, almost half (47%) of those decision-makers surveyed said they were more likely to engage with the salesperson if they provided information relevant to their current job.

Content Still Matters

While targeting a broader range of job levels and decision-makers is important, the actual content provided can strongly influence buying decisions. When it comes to something like gated content, about 3 in 5 marketers saying they use this technique to earn qualified leads. However, this goal is less likely to be achieved if the content is not credible, with more decision-makers putting an emphasis on the trustworthiness of the content source.

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: Based on analysis of data collected from B2B buyers who agreed to share their information to receive content from NetLine’s clients or partners. The analysis covers all users who requested content using self-identified first-party data and more than 4 million downloads globally.

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