Inbound marketing has never been more critical. With the prevalence of information on the web, buyers do most of their research before ever contacting a salesperson. 60%-70% of buyers will be at the end of their sales journeys before they reach out to talk to you.

How do your potential customers find you once their initial research is complete? Content marketing. Whether in print, email, website, or social media, content is how your audience learns about you. It’s how you establish yourself as a thought leader and convince them to take a closer look. With the right combination of print and digital—at the right time—you can showcase your value and close the deal.

According to DemandGen, the plurality of B2B buyers (47%) use three to five pieces of content before they are willing to engage with a salesperson. Only 23% will talk to a salesperson after three pieces or less. However, the type of content they are looking for varies by the stage of their buying journey. In the early stages of research, buyers are looking for the following:

  • Listicles[1] (81%)
  • Infographics (72%)
  • Blogs (66%)
  • Video (62%)

While much of this content is digital, printed pieces can deliver this type of content with the added tangibility and value of a piece you can hold in your hands. For example, convert wordy product brochures into listicle format to make them easier to read and remember—segment brochures by vertical market to increase relevance. Create infographic-style designs for your prospecting postcards. Add video to your printed pieces using QR Codes or augmented reality.

In the middle stages of research, buyers are looking for something different:

  • Assessments (58%)
  • Webinars (50%)
  • Case studies (40%)
  • Interactive content (40%)

Here, too, you can incorporate printed elements. Include published case studies and industry research in your presentation kits: follow-up video presentations or webinars with printed information packets. Follow up your assessments with personalized reports.

In the late stages of research, buyers’ content needs change again. They are looking for:

  • Case studies (39%)
  • User review (38%)
  • Analyst reports (36%)
  • ROI calculators (28%)

In this stage, prospects are on the verge of becoming clients, so use the highest quality print to convey deep value to your audience. Incorporate specialty finishing like embossing, spot coatings, and dimensional printing to give credibility and professionalism. Use digital and print to send the message, “We are a company you can trust.”

If you sell into the B2B market, knowledge of the buyer’s content journey can be invaluable. Craft and deliver the right content at the right stage, and you have a winning recipe for success.


[1] Listicles are articles written in a list-based format.