It’s a challenging world for the B2B marketer. The majority of customers go most of the way towards making a purchase decision without ever contacting a sales person and in their decision making journey, they can consume up to 10 individual pieces of digital content. Leveraging data from each of these content touchpoints reveals much about the B2B customer and allows us to build rich insights into buying behaviour.
With over 330m professionals within their network, and three times as many business decision makers vs comparable business sites, LinkedIn is a powerful database of B2B customer insights. iProspect Enterprise recently worked with LinkedIn to unearth some of the key aspects of B2B customer behaviour in the IT sector and to understand how we can use these LinkedIn learnings when planning B2B strategies.
A core target audience within LinkedIn is the IT Committee. LinkedIn have identified the IT Committee as a group of diverse employees who exert influence over IT budgets and purchase decisions within their companies. They are one of the largest audiences on LinkedIn, numbering over 12 million globally and interestingly, 72% of them do not work directly within IT. And they are a selective and focused audience, with only three companies making their shortlist and 94% of them purchasing from a vendor who made that shortlist.
So, what can LinkedIn tell us about the digital consumption habits of the IT committee? Well, the IT committee are 63% more likely to read content than the average LinkedIn user, and 37% more likely to engage with that content. Importantly, over 50% of the content they consume comes from companies, indicating their receptiveness to branded content. Critically however, there are certain types of content that will deliver better engagement, dependent upon whether we are talking to a more junior or senior influencer. For the senior IT Committee influencers, content needs to be focused on illustrating how they can gain an edge over competitors and how they can improve management or leadership skills. For the more junior influencers, more engagement is likely to come through content which focuses on helping them to build technical expertise or furthering their professional career.
And the format of that content is also critical. Content in the form of case studies is seen to be most helpful, with 55% of the IT committee stating that case studies were most helpful when evaluating a vendor. This is followed closely by testimonials at 53% and white papers at 42%. Infographics rank lowest in terms of helpfulness at 17%.
Finally, in order to understand the engagement rate of content targeted to the IT committee, we need to keep in mind what type of content will deliver specific actions. LinkedIn data indicates that content which is inspirational or leadership focused in nature is more likely to be shared, while content focused on technical skills and expertise will have lower levels of sharing, but higher clicks.
To find out more about the IT committee, download the full research.