The Marketing Strategist:
Research Highlight: Cut Through the Noise with Peer Influence
This article is Part 3 in a series that digs deeper into four elements of marketing content that emerged from research we conducted on How Buyers Consume Information. Highlights can be found in Connecting with Customers: The Four P’s of Content Marketing.
Professional peers have always been an important source of referrals, references, and best practice sharing for B2B buyers. But their importance has seemed to wane a bit in recent years compared with other sources, such as solution provider SMEs and analysts. In our most recent buyer study, however, we see a resurgence in the importance of peers as a critical source of information for buyers. Peers are especially helpful to cut through the noise of overwhelming content. The resurgence is stronger among business buyers, but also significant with IT decision makers (Table 1).
We know from this and past research with buyers that people and relationships are key during the purchase of high consideration technology and business solutions. Despite the prevalence and prolific growth of digital channels, nearly half of the buying process (in the early stages) takes place offline. Buyers attend industry events, meet with solution provider subject matter experts and industry influencers, and most importantly, network with their peers.
For marketers, the implication is clear: work even harder to integrate peer-influenced content in your portfolio, and bring clients and prospects together with their peers through customized events, professional networks, community initiatives, and one-to-one connections.
Interested in more details from our buyer research? The full report is available at no charge to ITSMA members and for sale to others. A complimentary abbreviated summary (PDF) provides highlights, as well.