Have you ever been in a new city and needed a recommendation for where to eat dinner? Before setting out for the night, what do you do? Ask the concierge. Ask a friend. Put a post on Facebook. Consult Yelp and look at reviews.
Most of the time, you decide to consult a peer first. Why? People trust other people’s opinions when trying to solve a problem, and value what others have to say. Especially when it’s something that affects them personally.
Today, more business decisions are being made the same way. The internet has given B2B buyers unprecedented access to information. Social media and review sites have made it convenient – and practically the norm – to ask peers for advice and opinions before making a purchase decision. When it comes to gathering information to make a purchase decision, the latest global research from Edelman Trust Barometer shows for the first time in history buyers consider their peers to be just as credible as technical and academic experts.
The internet has made it easier for marketers to engage with customers at various stages of their journey. That’s one of the reasons 76% of marketers plan to produce more content this year. Despite that increase, 65% of marketers are still challenged when it comes to understanding which types of content are effective and which types aren’t. Much of that challenge can be traced back to marketers who struggle with creating the right content, for the right people at the right time.
With the increase in content also comes frustration from the buyer’s end. Buyers are becoming overloaded by the vast amounts of content they’re being bombarded (or spammed) with by marketers, and because of a poor understanding of what content is most relevant to them and when, they have become more skeptical than ever of marketing messages. In fact, recent Hubspot research shows only a mere 3% of people consider marketers to be trustworthy. To put that in context, the only people who scored lower than marketers on the trust scale were stockbrokers, politicians & lobbyists, and car salesmen!
As is the case in all marketing disciplines, it’s important to understand your audience: how they think, the answers they seek, the format they seek it in, and the path they tend to take to find a solution. Overwhelmed by content and low levels of trust in marketed messages, buyers are turning to people they DO know and trust. People who have faced the same dilemmas and found a solution that works. People who happen to be their peers. Peers that also happen to be YOUR happy customers.
There is a clear shift in the preference and roles buyer’s peers play at every point of their buying journey. Marketers need to ensure the content they’re creating includes their customers voice (your buyer’s peers) more than ever before and that it can be leveraged when and how the buyer needs it. In the infographic below, we have mapped out examples of how the customer’s voice can be incorporated into every stage of the standard buyer’s journey: