DemandGen Report recently published the findings of its 2015 Content Preferences Survey. DemandGen has been conducting this survey annually since 2012, and it has always provided interesting insights regarding the content consumption behaviors and preferences of B2B buyers.

About two-thirds (67%) of the respondents in the 2015 survey said they are relying more on content now to support purchase decisions than they did a year ago. At the same time, almost three-quarters (74%) of the respondents said they have less time to view content now than they did a year ago. It’s likely, therefore, that business buyers will be forced to become more selective about the content they consume.

Several findings in the 2015 survey echo the results of research by other firms, and some reinforce the findings of earlier DemandGen content preferences surveys. For example:

  • White papers, webinars, e-books, and case studies remain the most widely-consumed types of B2B content.
  • Forty-five percent of the survey respondents said they typically view three to five pieces of content before they talk with a salesperson, and another 22% said they consume five to seven pieces of content before they engage with a sales rep.
  • An overwhelming majority of survey respondents want their prospective vendors to use more research and insights from industry thought leaders and analysts in their content, package related pieces of content together, and curb the sales messages in their content.
Some of the most interesting findings in the 2015 survey related to interactive content. DemandGen asked survey participants whether they had consumed and how much they valued three types of interactive content – interactive presentations, ROI calculators, and assessments. The survey revealed a significant gap between how much interactive content is consumed and how highly such content is valued.
  • Only 31% of respondents said they had accessed interactive presentations in the previous twelve months, but 45% of respondents rated the value of interactive presentations a four or five on a scale of five.
  • Only 23% of respondents had used ROI calculators in the past year, but 42% gave them a value rating of four or five.
  • Twenty-four percent of respondents had accessed an assessment tool during the past year, but 40% placed a high value on this content type.
The value of interactive content is now clear. A 2014 survey by Demand Metric found that interactive content outperforms passive content at three critical marketing functions – producing prospect conversions, educating the buyer, and creating differentiation from competitors.
In the Demand Metric survey, 70% of interactive content users said their content was moderately or very effective at converting prospects, while only 36% of passive content users gave such ratings to their content. Ninety-three percent of interactive content users said their content was somewhat or very effective and educating buyers, but only 70% of passive content users reported the same level of effectiveness. Eighty-eight percent of interactive content users said that interactive content is somewhat or very effective at creating differentiation, while only 55% of passive content users gave such ratings to their content.
The explosive proliferation of marketing content makes it more difficult for B2B marketers to create content that will rise above the clutter. The DemandGen Report and Demand Metric surveys show that one way to address this challenge is to make your content more interactive.