ImageIf you believe buyer behavior would stand still for a short while, you better let go of this belief.

Technology interruption, good and bad, continues to alter buyer behavior and disrupt marketing. For CMO’s today, staying abreast of shifts in behaviors associated with content consumption and purchase decisions is becoming job one. Without this understanding, leveraging marketing spend can turn into a wild guess.

Let us look at four buyer trends bound to shake up marketing in 2013:

1. Turn off the fire hose please!

The amount of information overload is increasing significantly. With over 2 billion Internet users active daily, to be heard above the constant din of clicks is a supreme challenge.  Buyers are getting smarter at filtering what information they choose to view. 

What this means: strategies to differentiate become more important than ever.  If you currently lack a sound content strategy at this point, it is time to catch up.  Without one in place for 2013, the probability of standing apart from the din of clicks will be remote.

Since buyers are putting their own filtering tools in place, understanding how buyers want content today is not a luxury.  Allocating marketing spends on content forms buyers do not want is a bigger risk in 2013.  Why?  Newer forms of content are evolving, such as in mobile and video, and this raises the stakes on dollars spent.   

2. Give me some insight please!

In recent qualitative research I have conducted, I am noticing a shift from education thinking to insight thinking.  Buyers want to be informed through insight, not educated on your products or services. 

What this means:  Time to do a content audit.  Pull out content that is clearly Product Education 101.  The likelihood this type of content will be read, “as is”, is less in 2013.  Shift spends to worthwhile informing insight content.

I am going to make a bold prediction.  Look for a strong return of push.  Over the past few years, the pendulum swung all in favor of pull.  Inbound marketing the rage!  Social media the rage!  Content marketing the hot buzzword!

Ever notice how some people leave a boring show at intermission?  

To some, it is becoming a chore to research.  Staying on top of the billions of bytes floating across a screen every day is a boring job.  If your organization can pass the test of informing insight, buyers will subscribe to push.  Can your organization do the job of filtering compelling curated insight for them?

3. Can you make it exciting please!

You have had those moments.  Those moments when you were reading something online so boring you closed your eyes.  Suddenly you awake with a spurt and hope no one noticed.  There is no exception here.  I have had these moments too.  Buyers want an experience.  I even dare to say entertainment.   Receptivity to entertaining and interactive content forms is growing.  In the B2B world, some companies are gaining traction in discarding old staid content approaches for bold entertaining forms.

What this means: If content to you means blogs and white papers only, then it is time to broaden your thinking.  Understanding how to mix different forms of content is like a wedding DJ trying to find the right mix of music to get people dancing.  You need to know how to develop the right mix of content which will make your buyers want to get up and dance.

Okay, maybe not dance but at least run down the hall and let somebody know to look at your site.  Look for a rise in video engagement as companies explore this medium to entertain and wow their buyers.

4. I am not at my desk please!

The ubiquitous rise of smartphones and apps means people are no longer chained to their desks.  Buyers are on the go more than ever.  Millions more received tablets this Christmas.  This will free them from lugging a laptop around or having to be sedentary to get content.  I am still amazed how much content is developed with the thought that people are at their desks all day.

What this means: Your content needs to account for interactivity with mobile and tablets.  Optimizing your content for viewing on these devices is not a wait and see proposition.   You are on the go as well and let us face it – if we pull up something on our iPhones that downloads slowly – we move on.

Moreover, rise of BYOD in organizations means more buyers carrying their own devices.  Couple this development with carriers forcing many of us on family share plans.  The last thing I need is my two daughters accusing me of being a data hog because of slow content downloads. 

These four buyer behavior trends will alter our way of thinking in marketing for 2013:

  • Buyers are getting smarter at filtering content they want to view
  • Buyers want to be informed through insight
  • Buyers want an entertaining experience
  • Buyers are on the go more than ever

Where to begin?

I urge a first step of auditing your current content mix.  To not only map your content to your buyer’s journey, but also look at how these buyer trends will affect content strategy.  Identifying what you want to communicate by buying stage is only a portion of the entire picture. To round out the picture, we need to understand how new buyer trends and behaviors shapes the types, forms, and mix of content.

If you have not performed such an audit before, I can guarantee you it will be a revelation to you. In addition, more than likely shake up your marketing plans for 2013.

image: trends/shutterstock