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The Research Is In: Consumers Want Proof … and Advertising Doesn't Deliver

content marketing research consumers dont believe advertising
Well, this is interesting.
MediaPost‘s The Center for Media Research released two Research Briefs this month that, together, should make both B2C and B2B marketers recognize the extreme importance of developing a strong content marketing program.
Not in the near future. Now.
The first is titled “Prove It!” Says the American Consumer of Ad Claims. It found that:

  • 50% of Americans who are aware of advertising don’t trust what they see, read or hear in advertisements.
  • 44% think that advertisements are dishonest.
  • 58% of all Americans thinks that there should be stronger requirements for proving claims in advertising
  • Common advertising tactics like competitive advertising, scientific endorsements and awards claims often result in consumer skepticism rather than trust.

Consumers are smart. Savvy. Researched. Skeptical. While they may be entertained or intrigued by traditional advertising, they aren’t buying into the promises blindly. They want more than promises – they want proof.
The second, titled Trusted Content Closes Vendor Selection, reported findings from the Chief Marketing Officer Council, with NetLine Corporation, that show how important demonstrating proof and expertise are in the B2B vendor selection process. It reports:

  • Business buyers are eager for insights and increasingly rely on trusted third-party information to make more educated decisions.
  • Online content developed by trusted sources is essential to pre-sales discovery, qualification, and selection of vendors.
  • Most business buyers begin the path to purchase on the Internet. 68% start their content sourcing at search engines and portals, 40% go to vendor websites, and 25% are prompted by an email from a trusted source or peer.
  • The top five reasons that business buyers use content are to:
    • Identify best practices and top solutions (51%)
    • Determine where competitive differentiation can be achieved (50%)
    • Clarify the position of a specific vendor or partner (43%)
    • Set the strategic agenda and assess areas of need and prioritization (42%)
    • Provide perspective from a trusted, neutral source (33%)

Content and thought leadership clearly make an impact in B2B relationship building. If you’re not out there showcasing your expertise, who is? Hopefully not your competition.
The takeaway? Advertising is the paint; content marketing is the real estate.
[Tweet “Advertising is the paint; content marketing is the real estate.”]
A buyer may be attracted to colorful curb appeal, but if the value isn’t proven in the property, a bright coat of yellow isn’t going to trick anyone. That’s why it’s important for both B2C and B2B brands to focus on building a sound (content) foundation before worrying about the top coat.
Build your content marketing strategy. Build your proof. Build your trust. And start building today.
How are you focusing your content marketing in 2014? Share in the comments below!

LEAVE A COMMENT

Tell us what you think, or ask us any questions. We’re here to help!

  • If advertising is the paint and content is the real estate, then presentation must be the “curb appeal” difference.
    Will content in Multi media formats (i.e., podcasts, slide shares, video, etc…) help with content’s “curb appeal”?

    Michael Corley - April 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm
  • Great way to look at it, Michael. I like thinking of the various content format as help spreading its “curb appeal.” Let’s keep this metaphor going! 🙂

    Emily Cretella - April 20, 2014 at 10:17 am

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