Earlier this Summer I discovered a study from an unfamiliar vendor in my email inbox. As a thought leadership expert, it set me back on my heels. Yes, more than 87 percent of marketing executives are increasing their expenditure on content marketing in 2017, according to a new study by content intelligence firm Conductor, of New York City. And yes, I am not surprised the investment is increasingly centered on “early-stage” (translate: educative) material that educates customers without explicitly pitching a product or service for sale.
But here’s the result that rocked my universe and may unsettle your equilibrium, too: When consumers read an educational article from a company, they are 131 percent more inclined to buy from that company instead of other providers. Additionally, the respondents who read the content considered the companies who provided it to be helpful (78 percent) and trustworthy (64 percent), and reported positive feelings toward the vendors who’d written the materials.
Even more surprising was that as time passed, the positive associations continued to grow. A week after reading the articles, consumers’ trust in the authoring brands had grown from 64 to 73 percent. Positive association grew from 66 to 74 percent. One week later, they were still 48 percent more willing to buy. I shared the findings and then reached out to the organization, in awe. Could they repeat the study of 500 consumers with a base of 1,000 respondents? Would the results hold true for service offerings instead of consumer products? And what about a B2B or an enterprise sale?