Changing Information Sources for Buyers of Complex Solutions
Being aware of changing buyer behaviors is critical to marketers. This knowledge allows better alignment between the selling process and the target customer’s buying process; improving marketing effectiveness. A recent MarketingSherpa survey found that the sources of information relied upon for making large and complex purchases are changing rapidly. Key findings include:• Virtual Events Are In: Many buyers shifted from face-to-face events and tradeshows to virtual formats for product, service and vendor information primarily due to cutbacks in travel budgets.• Social Media is Emerging as a Key Resource: Blogs and social networks are emerging as important resources due in large part to the objectivity of their content. Third-party social sites are favored for their impartiality. Vendor branded blogs and discussion forums on vendor branded social sites provide a mix of subjective company information with moderated commentary and peer discussions. • Research and Analysts Opinions are the Most Trusted: Buyers ranked research and analysts as the most trusted and influential sources used when making large and complex purchases. This is especially true in the business technology sector.• Search Engines and Web Sites Continue to Rise: The use of search engines and, as a result, websites to obtain information needed for making sound purchase decisions continued to increase in the first half of 2009.How will you use this information for marketing planning?