How does content marketing influence the purchasing process?

It’s always useful to understand the thought processes of the people who make the purchasing decisions. A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute and a curator of industry news asked 1,200 subscribers for their views.

First, while it’s no surprise that the vast majority of purchasers (81%) carry out their own research before bringing potential suppliers on board, only 31% of these say they prefer information from an unbiased source. Some 24% even prefer information from the vendor they are considering, while another 40% don’t care where the information comes from as long as it is credible.

This means there is ample scope to provide potential buyers with answers and other information without being dismissed as being biased, assuming you maintain credibility at all times.

Next, the survey revealed that 74% of purchasers found original research to be influential, second only to one-to-one peer recommendations. On the one hand, conducting original research is more time consuming than other forms of content, such as website news feeds and podcasts, but it has the advantage of giving your readers something truly unique.

A somewhat surprising find is that very few decision makers share information through social media. Email was given as the most popular (85%) medium to share information, followed by conversations and conference calls (64%) and collaborative media (36%).

The first consequence of this is that social shares may not be an accurate measure of your content’s reach. The second is that you need to make your content easier to share through “dark” social (e.g. email, instant messaging), as well as facilitate ways for people to communicate your content through personal contact, such as by providing easy-to-mention URLs or printer-friendly versions that can be easily distributed at meetings.

In short, it seems decision makers are looking to hear from you—you just need to give them what they want.

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