A plurality of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson when making a purchase decision, although 3 in 10 consume more than 5 pieces of content, according to Demand Gen Report’s B2B Content Preferences Survey Report [download page]. With content consumption playing a key role in predicting purchase behavior, it’s instructive to see what buyers want from content.
Research & Data Key for Content Sharing
The report indicates that B2B buyers play close attention to content that includes research and data, and that this is a factor in their decision of whether or not to share content. When they were asked the key drivers for sharing content, respondents pointed first to its inclusion of relevant/shareable links that can immediately shared (48%), but then next to the content being packed with shareable stats and quick-hitting insights (42%).
In fact, the presence of data seems to be a driver of sharing for more respondents than the ability of that data to influence others: about 4 in 10 said that a motivation to share content was that it tells a strong story that resonates with the buying committee (41%), while fewer said that shareworthy content is that which will influence peers/other internal stakeholders on the buying team (34%).
Furthermore, B2B buyers participating in the study indicated that they were more likely to share research/survey reports (45%) with their colleagues than other popular types of content including e-books (43%), webinars (42%) and case studies (40%).
The results bring to mind recent research from Muck Rack, in which journalists said that two factors that make a story shareable are it containing an image or infographic, and it having exclusive and/or surprising data.
Data Makes Content Memorable
The survey also asked buyers what makes content memorable and triggers them to take a sales call. Once again, research and data figured prominently, with the top response being that the content uses data and research to support claims (51%). Some 4 in 10 also said that what makes a piece of content memorable is that it is packed with shareable stats and quick-hitting insights (41%) and that it is research-based (41%). The only other key element cited for content that triggers a buyer to take a sales call is that it tells a strong story that resonates with the buying committee (49%).
Not surprisingly then, a sizable share of buyers (36%) would recommend that B2B vendors use more data and research in order to improve their content quality. Other recommendations included curbing the sales messages (39%), creating shorter content (37%), and not overloading content with copy (36%). In other words, as Demand Gen Report notes, “B2B buyers crave concise, research-based content.”
[Since you’ve made it this far, a shameless plug for MarketingCharts: our services include creation of short research-based decks as well as longer-format pieces based off primary or secondary research. Contact us here.]
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 174 B2B executives from a range of titles, industries and company sizes.