14 Jun 2023
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Third-Party Impact on B2B Buyers

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By Tyrone Showers
Co-Founder Taliferro


In a groundbreaking study conducted by Gartner, Inc., it has been unveiled that B2B buyers hold third-party interactions in higher regard, valuing them at a remarkable 1.4 times more than digital supplier interactions. The research, which encompassed a comprehensive survey of 771 B2B buyers over the course of November and December 2022, shed light on the intrinsic value that certain third-party interactions bring, particularly in terms of customer references or reviews and seeking counsel from industry experts, in validating the worth of their purchases.

What it be like

Rick LaFond, an erudite Director Analyst specializing in the Gartner Marketing practice, expounded on this crucial finding, stating, "Buyers yearn for assurance throughout their journey of procurement, and it is these third-party sources that can instill them with the much-needed confidence." LaFond's insights underscore the influential role that these external sources play in the decision-making process of discerning buyers.

Third-Party Impact on B2B Buyers

Moreover, the study pinpointed YouTube as the preeminent social media platform capable of exerting a significant impact on recent B2B purchase decisions, with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok following in its wake (refer to Figure 1 for a comprehensive breakdown). The findings reveal the untapped potential of social channels for B2B brands, prompting LaFond to emphasize that marketers must transcend the mere utilization of these platforms for superficial, attention-grabbing brand-oriented videos, and instead focus on showcasing how their brand genuinely addresses diverse customer requirements and pain points across various stages of the procurement journey.

Nevertheless, while third-party interactions claim the limelight in the minds of B2B buyers, the digital channels of suppliers continue to wield substantial influence in the purchase process. B2B buyers acknowledged a supplier's website as the most pivotal channel, closely trailed by the supplier's social media channels, online searches for the supplier, and interactive tools offered by the supplier, such as product recommenders and price calculators.

LaFond offered a word of advice, emphasizing that brands need not solely rely on third-party interactions when crafting their social media strategies. Rather, the data unequivocally demonstrates that buyers approach social media from a holistic perspective, warranting brands to augment their digital experiences to better align with customer expectations. LaFond posits that most B2B Chief Marketing Officers have yet to capitalize on the potential dividends that third-party interactions can yield, despite their substantial influence in serving as invaluable sources of information for buyers.

This enlightening research by Gartner unveils a new paradigm in the B2B landscape, urging brands to realign their marketing strategies, prioritize customer-centricity, and recalibrate their digital experiences to truly resonate with the discerning sensibilities of B2B buyers. The era of third-party interactions beckons, and astute marketers who heed the call stand poised to ascend to new heights of success and relevance in the ever-evolving marketplace.


In the dynamic realm of B2B marketing, Gartner's research underscores the paramount importance of third-party interactions in shaping buyer perceptions and influencing purchase decisions. B2B buyers place a higher value on these external sources, seeking affirmation and confidence throughout their procurement journeys. While digital supplier interactions remain significant, brands must not neglect the untapped potential of social media platforms, using them as avenues to showcase comprehensive support for customer needs and pain points. By embracing a holistic approach and optimizing digital experiences, brands can position themselves to thrive in a market driven by information sources and foster stronger connections with discerning B2B buyers.

Tyrone Showers