In Marketing We Trust?

LIsa Vitale marketing GuruIn Marketing We Trust?

It’s the job of the sales rep to close the deal, but that’s a whole lot easier if the marketing team is able to foster a trust relationship between the prospect and the company.

We live in an era when everyone shares their opinion on social media, and that alone influences peers and colleagues more than any other source. So how do we use it to our advantage?

In a blog post at Pardot,  Shauna Ward relays that IDC ‘s Michael Fauscette recently shared new findings on research into what buyers expect from their B2B vendors during the buying process. “One notable stat: 65% of B2B buyers usually engage a sales rep only after they’ve already made a purchase decision. And how long does that purchase decision take? For 75% of B2B companies, it takes one to six months,” says Ward.

IDC found that 81% of buyers trust vendors’ websites, and 67% trust vendor-sponsored content. But they trust their peers and colleagues more than any other source, according to the research. Thus, says Ward, using social proof in your marketing to highlight the positive things your customers are saying about your company will work to your advantage and help build trust in your product.

“Lucky for marketers, our prospects already trust us; we just have to prove them right by creating helpful, relevant content focused on their pain points,” she adds.

Building trust through social sharing is more fruitful than generating clicks, followers or likes.  Can we create emotional ties to our content and brand? Mark Schaefer thinks you can. writes Mark Schaefer, blogger and author of The Content Code.

trust“Emotional ties to content and brands are created by trust. Pretty easy to understand, right? If it makes sense to you, then why are you spending a good portion of your content budget on things that don’t create trust?” he asks.

Schaefer says 83 percent of CMOs claim that social sharing is the primary benefit of social media marketing. “They know that 70 percent of their customers are more likely to buy something when they see content about a product or service shared by a friend”, he added. “People who share content are likely to read and understand what you do before they make a decision to share it. In essence, they are becoming your advocates.”

Myopically focusing on developing content may be off-target. The best leading indicator of sales is content that moves, Shaefer says. “Power on the web does not come from content. It comes from social transmission. All this money you’re putting into content development does nothing for you if it is not seen and shared.”
Jeff Pundyk, vice president of Content Marketing and Strategy with The Economist Group, makes the case that the number one reason executives are turned off by marketing content is that it seems too much like a sales pitch. “Good content marketing is not a one-off transaction” Pundyk writes. “It is about building a relationship over time–often a very long period of time. It is about projecting a brand that is both knowledgeable and trustworthy.”

He says the measure of content marketing is credibility, which “can only come from a deep understanding of your readership and a true desire to help them make difficult decisions in an increasingly complex world.”

One highly effective manner of generating content that reflects an understanding of your targets is the prospect survey. Download SimplyDIRECT’s marketing brief on Insights on Solving the Content Challenge to learn how surveys can provide what you need to create content that will help foster trust.