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October 1, 2012


Where do B2B buyers get the information that make them buy?

by Tom De Baere

One of the key concerns of B2B marketers today is breaking through the “marketing blindness” of buyers:

– Buyers don’t click on web-banners (they don’t even see them anymore)
– They don’t see advertisement anymore
– They skip TV commercials when they can
– They don’t open your e-mails or direct mailings.

That’s why I am so happy to get my hands on reports like these, the 2012 Buyersphere report, giving me an answer to this key question:

How do you reach your B2B buyers?

We marketers live in an amazing time: we have the ability to contact our buyers directly through social media or e-mail marketing, there’s “super intelligent” marketing automation software that targets buyers with laser precision, etc…

But does that mean you reach your buyers? I am not talking about communicating with your buyers.

I mean REACHING them, so they really feel happy to get their hands on the information you are giving them. So they position your brand as useful, knowledgeable, and trusted. And in the end put they you on their shortlist and buy from you.

But what information do they want? Where do they search for it? Who needs what kind of information, and when?

Buyer behavior mysteries revealed

The 2012 Buyersphere survey is designed to bring answers to these questions based on the actual behavior of B2B buyers. It is based on surveys o B2B buyers in the main countries in Europe, but I like to think that they are valid to other parts of the world as well.

Just by looking at the index of the study, you know they just ask the right questions:

  1. Where do buyers get their information?
  2. How useful did they find each information channel?
  3. What kind of information do they use?
  4. How influential was that information?
  5. How have things changed?
  6. Younger v older buyers: the Millennial effect
  7. How do buyers use social media?
  8. The effect of different stages in the buying process
  9. When do buyers get in touch?
  10. What devices do they use?
  11. How do they share information with others?
  12. What are the differences across European markets?

“Amaaaazing” stats

One of my direct colleagues here @Newtec_satcom (yes, you Karl) wanted me to use this word ‘Amaaaazing’, so there you have it.

All kidding aside, there are some really interesting findings in this report. So here we go:

  • 21% of B2B buyers use social media at some point in buying process
  • For B2B buyers, word of mouth and web searches are the best ways of finding info.
  • B2B buyers find most whitepapers and blogs via Google, but find out about most seminars by email.
  • Use of Twitter amongst B2B buyers has reduced from 10% to 3% in the last 12 months.
  • Twenty-something B2B buyers are TWICE as likely to use social media as 31-40 year olds.
  • B2B buyers are far more likely to use LinkedIn for conversation than for just finding articles. This is less true of Twitter
  • B2B buyers see Twitter as more useful at the later stages ofbuying process

One of the most interesting stats

One of the most interesting findings of the 2012 Buyersphere Report is the change in buyer behavior noted from year to year. Things are changing more quickly than many of us imagine, and it is the marketers who correctly identify the trends who will be most effective in planning their communications.

The 2012 Report showed a distinct increase on the previous year in terms of the sheer amount of content sought by buyers in the course of the buying process. This is good news for all those marketers who are investing in content programmes and thought leadership campaigns. Buyers want content more than ever and they are increasingly likely to find you via a search engine.

Stage at which channel/source was most useful

Another great stat. Interesting too see is that online community sites are used during the final supplier selection. Remember that this is B2B, and not an end-user buying a digital camera.

Striking number: 50% of the buyers use of Twitter in the early buying phase.


When do buyers make direct contact with suppliers?

Nothing new here, but it might be new for you.

Striking number : Buyers do not contact suppliers in the early phase, and only in 40% of the cases they will contact suppliers to make the final decision.

Get yourself ready to work with these stats

How do you do that?

  • Focus your marketing initiatives on providing relevant content to your buyers. Use this study to define what, where and when you will provide them with this content.
  • Make sure your content is found on the web.
  • Don’t neglect the traditional channels, like events, seminars & tradeshows.
  • Social media is still on the rise in B2B, so make sure you understand it, and that you have a social media strategy linked with your content marketing strategy. Especially the decision makers of tomorrow are increasingly using this to get informed.

If you like this study, and if you like this post, please share this post on your favourite social network.

Warm regards,

Tom De Baere

P.S. here’s the link to the full report : Go for it, you won’t regret it!