An interesting survey into business buyer habits has just been produced by DemandGen, with useful pointers for anyone marketing to a business audience.

Here’s a quick romp through the seven findings I think are most useful, along with the marketing implications that jump out at me:

1. Online information (or ‘content’) is relied on to inform buying decisions as much or more than a year ago by a striking 97% of respondents. This breaks down into 47% relying on it more and 50% the same, with only 3% turning to it less.

Marketing implication: Despite the ever-increasing amounts of online content available, it’s got to be a vital part of your marketing armoury. The survey gives insight into the most useful kinds, with ‘prescriptive’ content setting out clear solutions for the customer the most appreciated.

2. The survey finds case studies are highly valued to inform purchases, with 78% of buyers saying they refer to them.

Marketing implication: Make sure you have relevant case studies – and that they’re good!

3. B2B decision makers increasingly feel they have less time to research purchases and are overwhelmed by the volume of information available.

Marketing implication: The more concise, user-friendly and visually appealing your content, the better.

4. 75% place a higher than ever value on the trustworthiness of information. Related to this, 68% give weight to customer reviews and 60% to press articles and analyst reports. Information that’s shared by trusted third parties is given extra credence too.

Marketing implication: Trust has always been important in B2B purchases, but perhaps more now than ever as a way of filtering. So make sure your content is as credible as possible: the days of wild exaggeration and over-bearing sales copy are over – not that I ever felt they had a place. Don’t neglect the media: journalists’ articles still carry weight. How can you make more of customer testimonials and reviews in your marketing? How can you get your customers, partners and other contacts to share your content and add their endorsement, whether explicit or implied?

5. More buyers than ever want mobile-optimised content, with 52% citing this as a strong preference.

Marketing implication: No surprise here, but a firm nudge for anyone lagging on this front. Yesterday I received an email from Uber which displayed fine on my desktop, but showed nothing but a grey screen on my mobile, where I saw it first.

6. LinkedIn is the most used and trusted social network amongst business buyers, with 84% using it frequently. Twitter is used by 64% and Facebook by 37%. But email is cited by a massive 94% as their top channel for receiving and sharing business information.

Marketing implication: It’s no real surprise about LinkedIn, but it amazes me how many B2B companies neglect it – often focusing instead on less appropriate channels. And despite the shiny allure of social media, email is king – so get your email marketing straight. Just make sure your content is good enough to stand out in those busy inboxes.


7. A huge 95% are happy to share their name, company and email address in exchange for useful content. But only 33% would give up their phone number.

Marketing implication: The 95% is staggering and extremely encouraging if you’re seeking to collect customer contact details – as long as what you’re offering is good enough to persuade them to make the trade. Just don’t ask for phone numbers!


You can download the full DemandGen survey findings here. Will you be willing to give up your email address to get them?


What do you think about the survey’s conclusions? Any surprises for you in here?