I always love research that gives me new insight into buyer preferences, so I was excited to see a new report called Buyersphere: Survey of B2B Buyers use of Social Media. The survey was carried out by Toluna, with analysis of the results by Base One, McCallum Layton and B2B Marketing. You can download it with registration.
In short, the research surveyed 503 business buyers who have been involved in a purchase worth at least £20,000 in the last 12 months. It looked at which sources B2B buyers use to make purchasing decisions.
The report is meaty and chock full of good insights, but two points stood out to me.
Consider both the FREQUENCY and the INFLUENCE of each source
It's not a revelation that different mediums (websites, word of mouth, search, etc) are used more and less heavily depending on where someone is in the buying cycle, and the report does a thorough job of providing details around each source for each stage.
What is especially interesting to me though is how this study looked at influence inrelation to usage. The chart below summarizes these findings.(Click here to enlarge the image)
For all of participants, word of mouth and events/seminars proved to be used the most and deemed most influential. Social media, on the other hand, is used less frequently with all buyers, but it is deemed to be one of the most influential sources of information for those who use it.
Consider the age of your buyer
The research takes these insights a step further, and it breaks down buyers based on age. When looking at how buyers under 30 use and regard information, the data shifts:
(Click here to enlarge the image)
As you can see, people under 30 rely more heavily on social media. The research also points out that this group relies on more sources for information, including a combination or social and traditional media. For instance, in phase 1 of the buying cycle, "those aged up to 30 said they had used on average 4.7 of these sources, compared to 3.4 selected by older respondents."
As a note, there are other demographic trends that may be impacting these findings as well: those under the age of 30 tended to responsible for smaller purchases, and they were generally from smaller companies.
The takeaway: This research gives marketers another data point to evaluate which sources are best for their audience. This can be used for activities such as developing buyer personas and deciding which format is best for when building and repurposing content.
- Do You Have Any Idea Who You Are Talking To?
- 5 Ways to Repackage Your Best B2B Content
- A 7-Step Plan for Getting Started with Content Marketing
About the author: Michele Linn is a B2B content strategist who helps companies create content and think through how their B2B prospects will consume it (from registration to promotion). You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.