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What B2B marketers can learn from the 2020 B2B Content Consumption Trends Report

B2B marketers have always faced challenges that our B2C counterparts don’t have to deal with. Sales cycles are longer and more complex, and we’re almost never selling to a single stakeholder. Our message has to touch a variety of decision makers in a variety of positions across entire organizations.

Today, the challenge is even greater. On average, it takes 18 touches to turn a B2B consumer into a customer. It helps that there are also more touchpoints than ever—web, chat, blogs, email, apps, social, search engines…the list goes on. But the problem is that the methods for measuring and analyzing success across those touchpoints is always changing.

In other words, it’s tough to know who B2B marketers should be targeting, what kind of content we should be targeting them with, and how they’re finding our content once it’s out there. To that end, Centerline has analyzed the current B2B consumption trends to provide some insights that help simplify B2B marketing. Here’s some of our key findings:

  • Target the managers. Marketers have a tendency to focus on C-level executives to fast-track their messaging funnel. We’ve found that shifting the focus to the managers—the people right below the C-suite who have direct impact on how quickly decisions are made—is often a better move. On average, managers consume content 21% faster than their C-level counterparts. A narrower consumption gap means your message gets through faster. When you do target the C-level directly, make it count. Quality over quantity!
  • Fine-tune your content mix. Matching content to message is always challenging, and the right combination of content types varies from client to client. For example, 59% of senior executives prefer video over reading text…but 76% of B2B buyers are most likely to share white papers and long-form content with colleagues. Our research shows that every content type has its place in the funnel. The best move is to carefully consider business objectives and audience goals when selecting your mix.
  • Don’t discount old channels. Social might seem like the hottest channel to pursue these days, but we found that B2B consumers are still finding their content through traditional means like search and email as well. SEO is still important—72% of B2B buyers are Googling during the awareness stage. And, according to one study, email is the top lead- and revenue-producing vehicle. The tried and true methods are still effective, especially when combined with growth on select social media platforms.

According to Gartner, 77% of B2B buyers say their latest purchase was very complex or difficult. At Centerline, it’s our mission to simplify B2B digital marketing, and eliminate that sense of “complexity overload” that B2B buyers experience. Check out our full report on B2B content consumption trends to learn more about the data we’re using to make that happen.