B2B buyers don't trust vendor content efforts

New CMO Council and NetLine report of business buyers finds peer-based organisations and their industry papers are the most trusted content sources, even as marketers raise their content marketing spend worldwide

Business buyers continue to give vendors poor marks for value and trustworthiness when it comes to their online content, a new CMO Council survey claims.

According to the Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field produced by the CMO-focused industry association and content syndication group NetLine, 67 per cent of business buyers rate peer-powered organisations as among their most trust content sources, compared to nine per cent who named vendor whitepapers. In addition, 50 per cent cited papers from industry organisations as trusted and valued types of information, followed by customer case studies (48 per cent), analyst reports (44 per cent) and independent product reviews (41 per cent).

Eight-eight per cent of respondents also saw online content as playing a major to moderate role in vendor selection, while 28 per cent share content with more than 100 colleagues and 31 per cent with 25 to 100 people.

The report was based on an online survey of more than 400 business buyers worldwide and aimed at getting a better understanding on business-to-business (B2B) content sourcing behaviour. The CMO Council said the survey was triggered by the estimated US$16.6bn spent by B2B marketers on digital content publishing aimed at acquiring business leads, influencing customers and educating and engaging prospects.

While marketers are spending as much as a quarter of their marketing budgets on content creation, they still lack the sufficient competencies and cohesive strategies to deliver effectively for their organisation, the CMO Council claimed.

A recent report by Altimeter Group also reached the conclusion that organisations are failing in their content marketing quest by lacking the strategic or tactical capabilities to be successful.

The council advised organisations to develop well-conceived, customer-centric themes and subject areas, strong content origination capabilities and partnership, more effective delivery networks and measurable content performance tracking systems. As an example of a more successful approach, the report outlined a content-driven customer nurturing program at DocuSign, which helped reduce customer churn by 65 per cent and drove a 25 per cent improvement in corporate sales.

“Improving content relevance and performance is a strategic imperative for B2B marketing organisations,” the council’s executive director, Donovan Neal-May commented.

“B2B buyers are looking for content that is original, consultative and highly pertinent to where they are in their decision-making process. Too many vendors are failing these buyers with overly promotional and overly technical content that doesn’t adequately address market challenges and customer needs.”

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