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Business Buyers Relying More On 3rd Party Content

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New content marketing research by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council reveals insight-hungry business buyers are increasingly reliant on trusted third-party information to make more educated decisions.

The research, conducted in partnership with NetLine, surveyed the online content sourcing and sharing behaviors of 352 business buyers worldwide. It found that content downloaded from trusted sources on the Internet was essential to pre-sales discovery, qualification and selection of vendors.

Furthermore, the study shows that the most influential types of content across both the awareness and evaluation phases of the buying journey are third-party validated research reports and studies. (Hence the article here!)

It also showed that the sourcing, sharing and consumption of content occurred mostly among three types of informally structured buying groups within enterprise organizations. These three sharing circles are actually led by organizations where content radiates from the execution or mid-level of the organization outward, informing both senior and junior/functional roles to gain alignment over vendor selection.

The 3 primary “content sharing circles” include:

  • From the middle out (35%): Content sourcing and purchase decisions are driven by tactically focused executives, but senior management is informed about how and why key decisions were made.
  • From the bottom up (30%): Junior or mid-level managers source primary content and share upstream to members of senior management, who then make the final purchase decision.
  • From the top down (29%): Senior management consumes content, sending information downstream for product identification and final purchase and execution.

Additional Key Findings From the Research

  1. Objectivity Trumps Push Messaging Every Time: Buyers are seeking thought leadership from third parties but still expect facts and data-driven insights from vendors to help make critical vendor selection decisions.
  2. The top 5 most sought-after types of content include: Comprehensive industry/category surveys and studies (52%), Technical details about products and solutions (44%), Analyst reviews or recommendations (43%), Expert-originated content with supporting facts and research (35%), and Content published by third-party sources (35%).
  3. Buyers Want to Get Smarter, and Not Just Smarter About You. Buyers use content to Identify best practices and best-of-breed solutions (51%), to determine where competitive differentiation can be achieved (50%) and to set the strategic agenda understand needs and prioritize (42%)
  4. Content Impacts a Lifetime…Customer Lifetime Value, That Is: Content plays a pivotal role in add-on buying decisions or supplemental purchases following the initial contract. A majority (86 percent) frequently or sometimes use digital content to identify complementary or add-on products while just 12 percent rarely undertake further content sourcing. This third-party content is also frequently or sometimes used by 92 percent of buyers to maintain a vendor relationship or advocate the use of the vendor’s products or services.

To download the complimentary report, please visit www.contentROIcenter.org.

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