Marketers have been inculcated to the idea that brands build value through purpose-driven stories that reflect their commitment to social causes. But according to a study by Boston-based healthcare and B2B tech agency PAN Communications, consumers’ buying decisions are still mostly influenced by the product or service a company provides.

PAN’s annual study, which seeks to analyze the challenges and trends affecting marketers’ content marketing strategies, suggests that purpose, for all its perceived importance in marketing today, has its limits. While most customers agree that a company’s mission and values influence their purchasing decisions, it doesn’t replace exceptional products and services. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of consumers polled said that, when making a buying decision, they prefer a company with a great product/service over a company that stands for something.

The PAN study also suggests that marketers may have a content problem. It appears that marketers produce a lot of branded content: more than a third (38 percent) said they produce between six and 10 pieces of content per month, and nearly a third (29 percent) said they produce between 16 and 20 pieces of content per month. However, consumers ingest far less than what marketers create, only between one and five pieces of brand content per month.

More than half of marketers polled (56 percent) said their content efforts were attributed to the bottom line.

PAN’s eighth annual “Content Fitness Report” was based on responses from more than 130 U.S. marketing professionals as well as 1,000 consumers. The survey was conducted in July.