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These are the types of content you should be creating for your buyers

Symbols to represent various pieces of content: PDFs, podcasts, blog posts, video

As marketers, we often operate under the assumption that the content we want to create is also what our buyers want to see. If there’s a story we like telling, a medium we’re comfortable with, or something that’s easy for us to create, we jump into execution mode without thinking about the people on the receiving end of that content: our buyers. 

But what if we took a step back and looked at the data? Is the content we’re creating actually what our buyers are looking for? We surveyed 250 North American B2B buyers—along with 250 North American marketers to see how their responses compared. 

In some cases, the results were...surprising. Take a peek at the charts below to see if you’re placing your content focus in the right areas for your audience. 

Content types by department: Who wants to see what?

It’s not only important to think about who you’re writing for when it comes to your buyer’s interests, but it’s also important to consider the ways in which your buyers prefer to consume content. What a human resources professional finds valuable, for example, turns out to be quite different than what piques the interest of someone working in finance. 

In the chart below, we’ve highlighted what buyers of different job verticals identified as the most useful types of content. We’d encourage you to find your audience in the chart and see how helpful they ranked each content type. 

But there are a few data points we found too interesting not to point out. For starters, while buyers from nearly all job verticals valued product tours and user reviews, there were some outliers. Here’s what we found: 

  • Nearly half of finance buyers chose videos as one of the most useful types of content (45%), more than any other job vertical
  • A majority of sales buyers picked sales sheets (59%) as one of the most useful content types, more than any other job vertical
  • Marketers were the only vertical to make ebooks and white papers a top pick
  Ebooks White papers Sales sheets Product tours User reviews Case studies Blogs Videos Podcasts
Marketing 55% 55% 27% 36% 55% 9% 27% 9% 0%
Procurement 0% 25% 25% 100% 50% 25% 25% 0% 0%
Sales 5% 27% 59% 23% 55% 23% 14% 36% 9%
IT/Digital 19% 29% 38% 46% 64% 33% 6% 13% 0%
IT/Digital 19% 29% 38% 46% 64% 33% 6% 33% 7%
HR 0% 25% 38% 56% 69% 31% 6% 13% 0%
Finance 15% 18% 33% 30% 70% 35% 18% 45% 3%
Ops 8% 18% 33% 48% 63% 25% 13% 38% 3%

How marketers typically prioritize content creation (and the problem with it)

Another eye-opening finding from our survey was that depending on job seniority, marketers are prioritizing different types of content. The issue here is that some of these content priorities really don’t align with what buyers are looking for. 

As you can see in the chart below, video was the most popular priority for both managers (54%) and senior managers (59%), which is inline with most buyers’ preferences. But when it came to ebooks and white papers (the top content priority for 61% of VPs and C-level executives), the buyer need for this type of content just isn’t there. (The exception is if you’re marketing to marketers: 55% of marketers find ebooks and white papers most useful!)

  Ebooks White papers Video
Manager 16% 24% 54%
Senior manager 0% 36% 59%
Director 10% 35% 26%
VP 26% 48% 22%
SVP 46% 49% 3%
C-suite 58% 61% 8%

What these findings mean for marketers

Buyers expect more out of vendors than ever before, and especially right now, we can’t afford to ignore that. Failing to do so will result in buyers turning their attention elsewhere—and during a time where so much is uncertain, the simplest way to build trust and win over buyers is by simply paying attention to what they want and delivering it. At the end of the day, that’s going to make their path to purchase a lot easier (and faster!) which is a win-win for everyone.

If you found these insights valuable, wait until you dig into the rest of our findings. Download your copy of The Experience Disconnect: 2020 B2B Marketing Report.