Have you ever been asked the question: What type of learner are you? You might have heard this question at some point while in school or you may have discovered that you prefer to receive information in one way over another way. The term VARK – Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic sensory – has been a popular acronym for how people absorb information. And you know what? It’s a useful consideration for marketers when creating B2B tech content for complex selling environments like enterprise technology.
Content consuming adults who are typically part of a group or committee—usually comprising six to 10 people—make buying decisions for companies large and small. The individuals in the group will be there to represent a variety of roles, teams, and locations to ensure the final decision considers the unique needs and requirements of various departments including Information Technology, Finance, Business Development, Accounting, Operations, Administrative, Marketing, and Engineering teams around the world.
When it comes to technology buying solutions, four departments hold the most influence: IT, Finance, Engineering, and Business Development. That doesn’t mean other departments don’t have influence, but tech marketers would be remiss in neglecting to create B2B tech content that appeals to these four groups.
The learning styles and content preferences vary across these buyers based on how they think, and your content should be built accordingly. Keep in mind that in 2021, according to a study by Trust Radius, the average buyer uses 6.9 information sources to make a purchase decision – a 35% increase from 2020. So, you should be expanding your B2B tech content resources to support what your buyers are looking for.
Logical (Mathematical) Buyers
Systematic in the way they think
Logical or mathematical buyers are systematic in the way they think. These types of marketers want to know the facts and figures without any filler, and the people to whom they marketer may receive information in the same way. They are, above all, problem solvers, so to connect with them your content needs to be detailed and data heavy. Think data sheets, SEO landing pages, calculators, charts, and stories using graphs and data.
Logical audiences will take the information you provide to come up with answers to questions by following a linear, logical line of thought. In many cases, a buying committee’s primary influencers from IT, Finance, Accounting, and Engineering fall into this category, so come out of the gate with verifiable facts and relevant information for them.
Content that works best for mathematical buyers:
- Data Sheets
- Data-driven stories
- Statistics and graphs
Physical (Kinesthetic) Buyers
Physical manipulation, writing, and virtual or in-person interaction
With physical or kinesthetic buyers, you have a great opportunity to create unique, engaging content. This group learns through touch—physical manipulation, writing, and virtual or in-person interaction. Your content should get them to interact—not just with people, but with the information. To be clear, for the modern digital marketer, in-person marketing might present a challenge in these modern pandemic-filled times. But finding creative ways to engage your kinesthetic buyers is possible.
To make this happen, you will want to look to product demos, virtual reality (VR), how-to videos, gamification, and interactive web elements to engage physically-geared audiences. Once a buyer from the IT or engineering department has reviewed the facts, they will want to see how your product or service works. Make sure there’s a clear connection between what you tell them and what they experience through your content.
Content that works best for kinesthetic buyers:
- Product Demos
- Explainer Videos
- Interactive Content
- Virtual Reality
Visual (Spatial) Buyers
Those who are more visual are the largest within the general population
Visual or spatial buyers, as the name implies, learn by sight more than anything else. They need for you to show them what they need and want to know.
Out of all the ways people receive information, those who are more visual are the largest within the general population. Verbal or audio information quickly becomes white noise to them. To get their attention and help them retain information, use images, charts, graphs, infographics, and videos they can absorb visually and mentally organize for decision-making.
Business development professionals often prefer to receive information visually because scalability is critical to their success. Show them how you can take them from Point A to Point B and beyond. Operations personnel, focused on improving processes and procedures that are key to running a business, also often respond to strong, informative visuals.
Content that works best for spatial buyers:
- Motion-graphic videos
- Charts and graphics
Aural (Auditory) Buyers
Receive information best by listening and hearing
Auditory or aural buyers receive information best by listening and hearing. People who receive information best by hearing often require verbal repetition for information retention. Repetition can happen within the content they’re listening to (the old radio ad trick), or by making it easy for them to replay the piece—podcasts, audiobooks, and on-demand webinars—on their own.
Marketers and some operations teams are the primary consumers of audible content, but the true value lies in ensuring audio-based content acts as a top-of-the-funnel gateway to more detailed, deep-dive content that you want to deliver in other formats.
Content that works best for auditory buyers:
It is a popular belief among counselors that in order to help someone, the person doing the helping must be willing to help that person in the way he or she wants to be helped. A similar thought applies to B2B marketing. To help buyers find the information they need, we must present it in a format they are most likely to find interesting and relevant. When you do that, you position your content to be what unites a diverse buyer group while making your products and services a frontrunner for the sale.
Considering the massive amount of information that comes out each day, B2B tech marketers must be selective, repetitive, and adaptive to the changing landscape. Communication is a top skill marketers must master as it influences the decisions of tech buying committees. Much like specialists in other fields, tech marketers must learn how to cater to their target audiences. But, first, they must find out what makes tech buyers interested in their products and services and creatively highlight research and communication that adds value to the decision-making process.