John Bottom from Base One was thoughtful enough to send me the latest Buyersphere Report - hot off the presses. You can read his initial thoughts and download your copy here. Below is my first take upon reading the report that asked EMEA buyers involved in a purchase during the last 12 months about their buying experience.
Type of Purchase Directs Informational Needs
In the report, one third of respondents said that their purchase was something brand new to their organization in comparison to 50% who said that the purchase was something the same or similar to something they already have.
Has your content strategy considered the difference in the type and amount of content needed for a brand new buyer vs. a replacement buyer who is already familiar with the basics? Both types require content, but the emphasis will be different. A new buyer needs to be convinced the product is going to pay off and a replacement buyer must be convinced that they'll get more value than they have today and that the risk of changing is manageable.
Channel Consideration is Key
Who your targeted buyers are will determine which channels will be most useful to you--and to them. The survey found that social media use overall was in play with 21% of respondents. But, when considered by role, 41% of IT Managers used it, while only 12% of senior directors (business buyers) did so. But it's interesting that when considering the type of purchase (new or replacement), 30% of those buying new used social media to source information.
Usefulness of Channels
Word of mouth still edges out web searches for most useful channel. This should be a big wakeup call to B2B marketers that they're either not producing content that provides hard hitting information that buyers consider to be unbiased and truthful - or that it's languishing away on their websites unfound by their target audiences. What's interesting to note is that usefulness is also determined by the buyer's interactiveness with the channel. For example, in this study, buyers who engaged in conversational exchanges on LinkedIn found it to be more useful than those who only browsed.
Career Length May Influence Type of Content Used
One thing I found intriguing was the discovery that those younger in their careers (other than IT managers) were more likely to download white papers than those with a longer career track. This may be due to having more to learn and less confidence that they're making the right decisions to grow their careers, as well as meet company objectives. Also in this areas is more validation that buyers purchasing something new to them also used much more content than those buying a replacement and were familiar with similar solutions.
The Influence Value of Supplier Websites
Supplier websites and emails were both considered highly influential, followed by web searches. What I wished the survey has asked was whether or not the influence was negative or positive. Either way, buyers are attributing more influence to corporate websites than they did last year - 73% rate them influential this year, up 5% from last year. This corresponds to research I've seen that shows marketers rate website optimization at the top of their budget lists. And it's about time.
I'll leave the rest of the report for you to sort through, but what I want to point out is that each of these nuggets should be factored into your content strategies - expecially as they apply to personas representative of your buyers.
What other points will you take away from this report?