With B2B buyers reading a reported 13 pieces of content before making a buying decision, it’s clear that content plays a vital role in the buyer’s journey. So, where are buyers finding the content they need? For most buyers of marketing technology, vendor websites have proven to be an important source of content throughout each stage of their journey, per research from FocusVision.
Of the average 13 pieces of content buyers reported consuming, an average of 8 came directly from the vendor, with the remaining 5 being from third-party sources. In a nod to the continuing importance of the website, when asked where they source their vendor content, 7 in 10 marketing professionals surveyed said they got it directly through vendor websites. Indeed, while internet search (67%) was also a popular choice, buyers rely on getting content through vendor websites more than they do through social media (53%), publications they read regularly (47%) and email sent to them (41%).
Additionally, two-thirds (65%) of B2B buyers cite vendor websites as one of their most highly influential content types. This is compared to the 48% who say the same about third-party websites and the 39% who find third-party articles by independent publishers influential.
Vendor Websites Useful Across the Journey
Previous research from Marketo has found that vendor websites are one of the most used engagement channels for buyers who are comparing products and services, as well as those who are ready to purchase products or services.
This new research extends this finding, showing that vendor websites top the list of most consumed content during the awareness, education, consideration and decision-making stages of the buying cycle. Third-party sources, on the other hand, were only considered useful during the first two stages of the cycle.
This finding, however, should be considered in light of other research indicating that vendor websites are the least trustworthy resources available to buyers.
What Content Matters?
Earlier research has revealed that the B2B buying cycle is a relatively long one, with three-quarters (74.6%) of new customer sales taking at least 4 months. This latest study found that among those surveyed the buying cycle is shorter, with two-fifths (40%) of respondents saying the process takes 2-3 weeks and one-third (33%) reporting it takes 4-6 weeks on average to make a sale.
Not only that, but marketers are also expected to personalize their content to more than one decision-maker, with almost two-thirds (63%) of teams being comprised of at least 3 decision-makers.
Separately, 52% of buyers say they are definitely more likely to buy from a vendor after reading its content. So what is the most useful type of content for a purchase decision?
For the majority of respondents, product specifications and functionality (67%) are considered useful. Product comparisons are also considered important for 65% of respondents. This complements previous research that found 6 in 10 (61%) B2B buyers saying they are relying more on peer recommendations and review sites in their decision making.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 243 marketing professionals from companies with revenues of $50 million or more. All respondents influence departmental budgets and have purchased a marketing technology solution within the past year.