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Marketers increasingly rely on digital content to target business-to-business (B2B) decision-makers and persuade them to purchase products or services. And now, research finds that this tactic is fairly effective.
According to an April 2013 CMO Council and NetLine survey of B2B decision-makers worldwide, 60% of respondents said online content had a moderate effect on what vendors they chose to work with. Another 27% said it had a major impact, and only 13% seemed relatively indifferent to online content.
B2B executives have expectations for the content they consume, however, and seem disinterested in anything offering surface-level insights. The greatest percentage of respondents (58%) said that content played a role in purchasing decisions when it helped them find new solutions to problems. A significantly lesser 38% said content that introduced fresh thought leadership around business challenges affected what they bought for their company. The findings suggest that for these individuals with minimal time and a long list of responsibilities, the utility of content is key.
And similarly, the greatest percentage of B2B decision-makers surveyed (47%) said breadth and depth of information were the most important characteristics of content. That was followed by ease of use and readability, at 44%.
So when thinking about how to format digital content, it’s important to bear in mind what devices B2B decision-makers use to access materials. Unsurprisingly, the office desktop computer was the most popular device, used by 68% of respondents, followed by the notebook computer, at 58%. Higher-level execs are also more likely to own smartphones and tablets than the average consumer, and this trickles down to how B2B decision-makers consume content: 41% of respondents used the smartphone and 30% used the tablet.
For marketers looking to target B2B decision-makers, respondents cited professional organizations and online communities as the most popular sources of information that would influence business and purchasing decisions. Industry groups and online trade publications ranked second and third, while seminars and news sites rounded out the top five.
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