Comment is free, but facts are sacred. This famous creed stands at the top of The Guardian's opinion section. But, our new research report in conjunction with Vanson Bourne - Two Faces of Influence makes clear that decision makers across the tech and marketing functions of modern business value opinion more than ever before.

When considering a purchasing decision, 99% of decision makers say they look for opinion-led content, while just 58% are searching for factual information.

Why is opinion so important to the buying process? Because it helps explain the context these suppliers are working in and can be compared by the decision maker to the context their own business operates in. They want to see understand how the vendor’s offering relates to their own needs and look for this information in thought leadership articles and case studies.

They also want to know what the industry thinks before making a decision. Nearly half (47 percent) believe vendors should increase the amount of independent opinion from analysts and consultants in their marketing content.

Our research also reveals that where decision makers are going for information continues to evolve and change. Last year we challenged B2B marketers to revise how they thought of Facebook and view it as a key channel for communications rather than something they could  safely ignore.

This year we were pleasantly surprised to see that in addition to social networks, decision makers are increasingly looking to technical information sites, for example Stack Overflow, for relevant information when making purchasing decisions.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 49% of decision makers expect to use LinkedIn more when making purchasing decisions over the next year
  • 48% of decision makers say incorporating research is the single best way vendors can make content more useful
  • Decision makers want vendors to make it easier to find relevant content – nearly half (47 percent) agree that dedicated topic websites would make a vendor’s content more accessible to them

To find out more, click here to download the reportand tweet @vansonbourne or @hotwireglobal with any questions.