New generation of business executives is more likely to trust content on brand websites but overtly sales driven content remains a turn off, finds Economist Intelligence Unit study
London – May 3, 2016 – Up and coming business executives are more likely to trust brand owned content than their more senior colleagues, according to a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), in association with communications consultancy Flagship Consulting.
Respondents who have been working for fewer than ten years (Generation Next) are over 50 per cent more likely to find company websites helpful for finding credible business information, when compared with executives that have worked for longer (Business Veterans). They are also 65 per cent more likely to find corporate communications campaigns useful.
The findings reveal that all types of businesses have the potential to become a credible source of online news and advice.
The EIU study of 700 global business executives found that overtly sales focused content remains an issue across the generations, with almost half (46 per cent) of Generation Next and over two thirds (69 per cent) of Business Veterans saying content with a sales pitch makes a negative impression. This highlights the importance of being as useful and authoritative as possible, while minimising obvious sales messages, to build trust and credibility with target audiences.
“Branded journalism is an increasingly vibrant and influential way for companies to engage with business executives,” commented Mark Pinnes, Deputy Managing Director, Flagship Consulting. “B2B marketers must be fluent in their understanding of why, when and how to create blogs, videos, infographics and articles. Importantly; to be credible, content must be useful and objective. Audiences are often turned away by thin, blatantly sales driven or poorly produced information, so developing an effective content strategy and executing professionally is crucial to making it a success.”
The findings confirm that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to content, as behaviours and habits evolve over time. Generation Next spends less time consuming business content – 3h 24m vs. 5h 6m on average per week – perhaps explaining why they are less impressed by long research reports (30 per cent vs. 65 per cent) and white papers (12 per cent vs. 37 per cent). In contrast, they prefer video content (25 per cent to 11 per cent) and content that is highly interactive (27 per cent vs. 15 per cent).
Elena Sukacheva, Managing Director, at The Economist Group said: “One size does not fit all. Whether you are trying to reach the C-suite or the next generation of business reader, this body of research underscores that marketing content requires a tailored approach. To put the reader first, you have to know the reader.”
The survey was conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Opinion Leaders Panel, made up of more than 100,000 global executives. More than 40 percent of the business executives surveyed are C-level, representing a wide array of industries, geographies, and company sizes.
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About The Economist Group Content Solutions
In an era of information overload, The Economist Group Content Solutions helps organizations be heard by the world’s most influential people. With 60 years of experience of delivering content to clients, bolstered by 650 expert analyst and editors worldwide across 200 countries – underpinned by an unrivalled in-house survey panel that bolsters the qualitative and quantitative analysis we undertake – we have the depth and breadth to deliver vital business intelligence which can rise above the noise.
Flagship Consulting is an award-winning corporate, brand and digital communications consultancy with expertise in areas including media relations, crisis management, social media, reputation building and event management, digital and creative services. With a proven track record of helping organisations of all sizes achieve their communications goals, Flagship prides itself on delivering creative campaigns that drive results and get people talking. Established in 1999, Flagship has its head office in London, with a South West office in Exeter and a partnership with New York headquartered Peppercomm. To find out more visit www.flagshipconsulting.co.uk.
Helping clients see around the corner and determine what’s next sets Peppercomm apart from other integrated communications and marketing firms. It also enables us to push boundaries while mitigating risk for clients in financial services, consumer, B-to-B and multi-industry sectors. Our unique approach enables us to attract the best people who, in turn, help us win and retain the best clients. And, while we’ve won countless awards, our shining moment is being named Best Place to Work in New York City by Crain’s New York Business. We were founded in 1995 and maintain headquarters in New York, with offices in London and San Francisco. Go to www.peppercomm.com for additional information.