The ‘Social’ Buyers Guide

Online “Buyers Guides” offer a one-stop shop for buyers to find and compare vendors in specific markets.  These often are used both as a service for their community members and a revenue source for the host organization, which include: Industry or Trade Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Online Marketplaces, Procurement Networks, Magazines and Media, Franchise Organizations, etc.
Today’s Buyers Guides are often static listings of vendors’ contact information and a brief description, surrounded by an abundance of flashing banner ads. Companies pay to be listed and pay extra for prominent placement or advertising.  These guides seem to be designed to sell as much as possible advertising space, rather than being the most user-friendly website for a buyer to search and compare different vendors.
We recently used Webvent to create a “Social Buyers Guide” for a large association.  Vendor listings in the buyers guide are connected to community members, digital content, and live Webinars.  Educational content remains separate from sales pitches, but sponsors receive enough promotion to generate leads from those who are actively interested in their products.   Within Webvent, listed companies can demonstrate their thought leadership on specific topics within their industry and participate in the ongoing conversation among members in the community.
A Social Buyers Guide is designed to balance the needs of the buyers first, and then the needs of the vendors.  Vendors become active participants in the industry, rather than sitting on the sidelines trying to “pitch” their message into the market.