Your customer has to balance the trust and the risk before making any purchase decision. Trusted sources can help in this decision process.
Still popular and will remain popular.
A positive review of advice from is peer is more valuable than 10 reviews from unknown sources.
Marketing can’t do much about peers besides branding. The better the brand awareness the more likely peers will tell about this brand.
The research institutes
The typical analyst firms and research organization like Gartner/Burton Group, IDG/Forrester research providing insight and information on market segments. The problem is their views are biased (more leaning towards US companies) and can be influenced by companies.
As these research results are not free to obtain their influence is rather limited to larger corporations having enough money to spend on these research reports.
In most cases this is beyond the reach of marketing as these analyst firms want to interview the CEO, COO or founder of the company.
Decision makers and influencers will be searching for information before an during their purchase process. Blogs are free to read and easy accessible.
The more different blog write about or reference a certain product or solution, the more people will trust the solution.
In order to reach bloggers marketing needs to hire a PR agency in order to address them.
Companies can distribute their white papers on technical matters or case studies using syndication websites. In most cases these require registration for downloading the white paper. This registration is a constraint on the scale of distribution and if people register they will often use web mail addresses in order to remain incognito for avoiding spam and follow-up emails.
Marketing can organize or even write white papers on both technical matters and case studies with reference customers. The syndication is just a contract that needs to be paid.
Written or video testimonials are very convincing and trustworthy. Still people will be suspicious and investigate if the testimonial is not cheated (bribed).
Marketing can pursue and try to achieve these testimonials which will require patience and a lot of work, especially if the company is publicly traded. In the end the testimonial still needs to be interesting and entertaining.
Your website can be a trusted source if the content is informative and isn’t intended as a sales pitch. By publishing valuable content on your website you will gain recognition and your company can become an authority on that matter.
During the entire journey of the buying process your content will be remembered or referenced if it was valuable.
In any case your website has a serious influencing role in the purchase process which can be positive or negative.
Marketing can create the content of the website. The only hurdle is getting found on the Internet.
When consumer get repeatedly the same message they will eventually start to believe it.
The same is true for the nurturing by email messages to businessmen.
Nurturing is completely under control of Marketing. The only problem is not being able to reach newly interested parties that are early in their buying cycle.
Even for products, solutions and markets in B2B communities exist on the Internet. Buyers will seek information or even ask questions on these community websites.
This is completely beyond the control of marketing – only damage control for limiting the damage is possible.