FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A survey of approximately 400 IT buyers has found that online vendor marketing information is relevant to their prospects less than half the time. The online research conducted last October asked technologists and business buyers what they prefer as they move from general education to business case development to final decisions in purchasing products and services.
The key considerations include content type and format as well as accessibility to different information during the purchase process. Content type includes a wide range of materials from in-depth product information, to white papers, case studies, articles, and vendor collateral. Content format covers the media used such as audio, video, or a document. On average six technology, business, and financial professionals are involved in major technology purchases and they each have their own preferences as to content format and type.
The Critical 14 Percent Gap
In many cases, marketing and sales information exists in great quantities on the Web but the quality is lacking according to IT buyers. When asked about finding relevant content, they found it only 42 percent of the time. The lack of relevancy for the prospect reduced the vendor’s chance of closing a sale by 45 percent. The respondents were not very demanding as they said they would be satisfied if 56 percent of the marketing information was what they needed to become informed and create a shortlist of vendors from which to buy products and services.
The Marketing Content Mix
The buying teams made up of different professionals rated the importance of 19 content types including in-depth product/service information, case studies, technical white papers, evaluation versions, articles, independent reviews, advertisements, tutorials, etc. In the General Education phase, articles and advertisements were most valued while during the Business Case process case studies and articles held sway. As the buyers moved to Implementation scenarios, case studies remained important joined by tutorials/demonstrations. As a decision neared, tutorials/demonstrations and case studies were most important in both the Shortlist Creation and Final Decision phases.
The content format is also an important consideration as people prefer to consume different media such as audio, video, documents, and podcasts. In the early stages documents are preferred by more than 50 percent of the buyers whereas a Webcast rises in importance in the Implementation and Shortlist phases. At the end of the buying cycle documents are heavily favored by 65 percent. In addition, tools such as calculators that when a visitor provides data he is told how his company compares to a similar firm and widgets gain in prominence. Of roughly equal importance throughout the process are podcasts, videos, and tools.
While buying team members have varied preferences as to content type and format they are in general agreement that peer-based material and independent reviews are favored while inaccurate or slanted information that favors a vendor is a major concern. However, appropriate vendor content and Web sites are important elements for the buying team at different stages of the review process.
“Technology buyers are telling us that the days of randomly producing marketing materials without regard to what they want are coming to an end,” said Bob Johnson, vice president, Engagement Optimization at IDG Communications, based in Framingham, MA. “As our research shows, vendors that get the right mix of content at the right time for influencers and decisions makers will significantly increase their chances of making a sale.”
There are other variables to consider when producing marketing materials for particular products or services. The content preferences change when considering different technologies: hardware, software, services, and software as a service. For example, hardware buyers seek the most technical information throughout and a decision is most heavily influenced by IT. On the software side, vendors should focus on case studies and evaluation versions.
About International Data Group
International Data Group (IDG) is the world's leading technology media, events, and research company. IDG’s online network includes more than 450 Web sites spanning business technology, consumer technology, digital entertainment and video games worldwide. IDG also publishes more than 300 magazines and newspapers. Media brands are in more than 90 countries and include CIO, CSO, Computerworld, GamePro, InfoWorld/TechWorld/TecChannel, Macworld, Network World, and PC World. The company’s lead-generation service, IDG Connect, matches technology companies with an audience of engaged, high-quality IT professionals, influencers, and decision makers.
IDG is a leading producer of more than 750 technology-related events including Macworld Conference & Expo, OpenSource World, E3, DEMO, Storage Networking World, and IDC Directions. IDC, a subsidiary of IDG, is the premier global provider of IT market intelligence, advisory services, and events. Over 1,000 IDC analysts in more than 100 countries provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends.
Additional information about IDG, a privately held company, is available at http://www.idg.com
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