The Marketing Strategist:

Research Highlight: Think Cat Videos Trump White Papers? Think Again.

January 27, 2015

You’ve seen the headlines: Video Is the Future of B2B Content Marketing! The Rise of YouTube for B2B Advertising!

And the statistics on who is watching videos and the impact of video can be quite compelling. But what about buyers of complex B2B solutions? What are their content consumption preferences? How would they like to see content packaged and delivered?

B2B solution buyers want insight. And they prefer to get their insight from people, not screens. Here is why, according to ITSMA’s recently published study, human contact is critical:

  • When keeping up with industry and technology trends, buyers spend nearly as much time offline as online, especially with people.
  • Buyers rely on sales at all stages of the buying process, even the early stages.
  • Technology solution provider subject matter experts are the most credible source of information.
  • While gaining traction, social media—including YouTube—is not yet mainstream.

Beyond delivery by a human, how should we package content? In our study we asked participants to rank their preferred formats for online solution provider thought leadership. The results were surprising:

  • Topping the list was interactive visualization (visual storytelling), such as interactive maps, data explorers, timelines, and scroll-triggered animations.
  • This was followed by presentations or slide sets, such as SlideShare content and text-based copy, such as white papers and offering descriptions.
  • In the next tier we find the much-lauded videos and infographics.
  • Buyers rank podcasts last; they just don’t seem to have caught on yet.

B2B Content Marketing - Buyer Preferences

So let me ask you a question: If I peruse your website, will I find an interactive visualization?

No? I didn’t think so. This is probably something you want to think about for 2015. Even if your 2015 planning is already completed, it’s not too late. Make this very important change to engage your audience through a mix of visuals and words, and you’ll see the difference.

Need some inspiration? Here’s an example to get your creativity flowing: EMC Privacy Index.

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