How to reach decision makers: Learnings for B2B marketers

how-to-reach-decision-makers

You might already have an amazing B2B product or service, but if you cannot reach through to the desired audience, it won’t unfortunately help you much. A recent study of 1,357 executives, made by The Quartz, offers valuable insight on how to reach the most hard-to-reach group of all: top executives.

Time of the day:

Finding: There are big differences in what time of the day they consume news, with most executives spending time in the morning to update themselves on news. 74% consume news in the morning, 20% during the day, 6% in the middle/end of the day

time-of-the-day

Key takeaway: Publish your best stories in the morning, or if it’s an email, send it very early. Top executives have early routines, hence it’s preferred to do so between 5-6 am.

Source of news

Finding: Executives are very particular with the source of news, and 89% mention that they’ll notice the source of the links they click. Furthermore, 88% of executives are likely to share good content, and its source almost always (85%) influences their decision to share it. Email newsletters remain the preferred source of news, followed by websites.

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Key takeaway: 

Consider reaching out to email newsletter publishers to get your content published. In general it’s cheaper and more effective than websites, and considering the new technology advancements lately in email (e.g. videos, dynamic ads, display ads, etc.), email should be the channel you consider first.

how-to-reach-decision-makers

It’s important to choose a trustful publisher as well since 89% of executives notice the source of the links they click. Further, 88% of executives are likely to share good content, and its source almost always (85%) influences their decision to share it. Hence, if you put down resources in creating good content and find good publishers, you can also expect that many top executives share your content, which is a tremendously powerful side effect that will make your content reach a much bigger audience. Thus, it’s crucial to build trust to not only get them to read your article, but it’s also to get them to share if they trust you as a source. If you want to reach executives with ads or content, then consider building an email newsletter list, or approach publishers with existing lists that send business news related emails.

The study also show that long-form articles outperform all other formats by far. Hence, consider producing “expert” articles to increase the interest of the article, and if possible add graphs and data visualizations to support your claim.

which-of-the-following-sponsor-content-topics-might-interest-you
When it comes to sponsor content, the most sought content includes expert insight and industry analysis. As a publisher, it’s crucial to offer real value to your reader and concentrate on giving expert opinion on relevant business areas.  Executives do recognize that other companies and company representatives offer deep expertise in their respective niche industry, and if you can offer your expert opinion, they’re willing to pay attention to what you have to say. Hence, rather create less content that offer actual value than more content with less quality, and avoid “selling” specific products or services and rather sell your ideas.

Advertising

Finding: 84% of executives are open to content from brands, as long as it’s high-quality and clearly labelled as advertising. When asked to think of the last time they interacted with an ad on purpose, articles produced by brands came out on top. More intrusive ads such as interstitial (full screen ads that cover the entire screen) and pre-roll videos (promotional video that plays before the actual video), are as expected not as effective.
what-type-of-ads-do-you-interact-with

Takeaway: Be careful with how your content is presented, and if you use a network of publishers you should make sure you set up clear guidelines on how and where your content can be displayed. In contrast to creating value through sponsor content, they don’t respond well to ads that annoy or interrupt their online experience. Auto-play ads are the least favored, followed by ads that appear before you’re able to get to the content, so called interstitial ads.

Naturally, you don’t want to associate your brand with annoying ads, hence it’s important to control how your ads and content is presented on publisher sites. If your brand get’s the wrong exposure it can be hard to recover, since we’ll connect a badly presented ad placement with the actual brand, it’s crucial to have full awareness of where and how your content display.

Social Media

Finding: 89% of executives use social media, and 60% of them use social media to get news specifically.

which-platform-do-they-use

Linkedin is by far the most trusted platform, when it comes to using social media as a source of news. 41% state that they use Linkedin for reading news, and 28% for Facebook.

preferred-social-media-channel-for-news

 

Key takeaway: Although Social Media is not the main channel for news, it remains an important platform to keep up to date with recent events and happenings. It’s important to know where to advertise and publish your stories, depending on the nature of the content. Consider Linkedin and content marketing if you want to use social media for advertising.

Mobile devices and age differences

The study shows that young executives are more likely to consume content from brands. 91% of executives under 35 consume content from brands, 85% of people between 35-54 and 81% of executives above 55 years of age.

Further, as mobile usage has grown, so too has executives’ interaction with mobile ads. The last years the share of executives who primarily get news on their phones has increased from 41% for 2014, to 53% for 2015, and 59% for 2016.

Key takeaway: Make sure your ads and paid content shows well on mobile devices and that only publishers that use fully mobile responsive sites and emails are considered. Although the acceptance of contents produces from brands is high in all age groups, you should be aware that young executives do have a higher level of acceptance to brand produced content.

Executive summary

Although top executives belong to a busy group of people, it’s by no means impossible to reach them and get their attention. They respond less favorable to simple ads and texts with no supporting data, hence you need to evaluate carefully not only where and how to publish your content, but it’s crucial to do it in the right format. You will get their attention by using long form expert articles, published by a source they trust, in an email newsletter or homepage.  If you want to learn more about how to get your content published in relevant email newsletters and/or sites, please get in contact with us and we’re happy to help out.

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About the author
Anders Hampf
Senior Online Marketing Manager
Anders has been working with online marketing for the last decade and specializes in online monetization and email marketing. Anders has helped multiple companies to monetize their sites and has come up with numerous innovative customized solutions for his clients with amazing success.
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