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  • B2B buyers value 3rd party interactions more than those with digital suppliers

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    B2B buyers report that they value third-party interactions 1.4x more than digital supplier interactions, according to new Gartner data.Its survey of 771 B2B buyers conducted in November and December 2022 revealed some third- party interactions, such as reading customer references or reviews and consulting directly with third-party experts, are better suited to provide customers with value affirmation.

    “Buyers want to feel confident throughout their purchase journey, and third-party sources can help get them there,” said Rick LaFond, Director Analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice.

    The survey showed YouTube as the top social media channel to influence a recent B2B purchase decision, followed by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok (see Figure 1).


    Figure 1. Social Media Platforms Informing Recent B2B Purchase Decisions

    Source: Gartner (June 2023)

    “Social channels are extremely under leveraged platforms for B2B brands,” continued LaFond. “Marketers can go beyond using social channels for flashy short-form videos promoting brand values to truly demonstrate how the brand supports different customer needs and pain points across various stages of the buying process.”While third-party interactions are top of mind for B2B buyers, a supplier’s digital channels still can have a large impact on the purchase process. When asked to identify which digital supplier interactions were engaged during a purchase decision, B2B buyers identified a supplier’s website as the most leveraged channel, followed by the supplier’s social media channels, an online search for the supplier and the supplier’s interactive tools (e.g., product recommenders, price calculators).

    “Brands do not need to have their social strategy solely rely on third-parties,” said LaFond. “The data clearly shows that buyers are approaching social from a holistic buying perspective.

    “Brands’ digital experiences must improve if they are so far down the list of what customers value. Most B2B CMOs are probably not tapping into the return of third-party interactions despite the weight they carry in serving as information sources for their buyers.”

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien