Does Your Marketing Influence B2B Decision-Makers? - eMarketer

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Does Your Marketing Influence B2B Decision-Makers?

Word-of-mouth is a winner—marketing, not so much

August 31, 2015

Business-to-business decision-makers are clear on who they trust, and who influences them, when thinking about what to buy for their firms. Word-of-mouth is a key driver, with businesspeople looking to friends in the industry and other third-party experts ahead of traditional or digital marketing resources.

Nearly every B2B professional surveyed in March 2015 by the International Data Corporation (IDC) trusted peers and colleages, and trust in independent content wasn’t far behind.

Respondents also noted a good amount of trust in vendor content on websites (81%), and even salespeople (73%) and vendor-sponsored content (67%).

But when it came time to directly influence a decision, word-of-mouth won out—and marketing lost.

Nearly two in five respondents said their professional network was the No. 1 most influential source at purchasing time. Industry experts came in second place, followed by internal influencers. Vendor-supplied content was a distant fourth, with just 14% of responses.

Of course, that doesn’t mean B2B marketers’ efforts are all in vain. Lead nurture campaigns, for example, have proved effective, along with personalization and targeting efforts.

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