CommPro.biz Editorial Staff
IDG Enterprise — the leading enterprise technology media company, comprising CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, ITworld and Network World — explores the role of content consumption in the technology purchase process in the 2017 Customer Engagement research. Digital transformation is putting more emphasis on technology driving the business forward. In turn, IT decision-makers (ITDMs) are seeking more relevant information resources to meet their business needs. On average, ITDMs download seven assets during the purchase process, outlining the need for tech marketers to spend as much attention on lead nurturing content focused further down the sales funnel, as they do content for lead generation.
Building Relationships through Content
Over the past six months, 83% of ITDMs have registered to receive tech-related content. The leading reason for downloading content is a need for information to help make informed buying decisions. However, the type of content needed varies throughout the tech purchase process (view image), from tech news as they determine the business need, to product testing and reviews as they recommend and select vendors. It is vital that tech marketers consider the content types ITDMs need to make a purchase decision, as 85% of ITDMs are more likely to consider a vendor that educates them throughout the purchase process (Click to tweet). Once content is created, distribution is just as important, since 79% of ITDMs get a negative impression of a tech vendor if they cannot find content during the research process.
“Despite all of this content being created, 79% of tech decision-makers find it challenging to locate high-quality content on B2B tech products and services,” Brian Glynn, chief revenue officer, IDG Enterprise. “This opportunity to stand out through quality content can help position tech vendors as a resource, in turn leading to new business.”
Marketing and Sales Alignment
As ITDMs research solutions, they are aware of the experience derived from the multiple touchpoints vendors establish, in fact 74% of ITDMs notice and appreciate a consistent omni-channel experience. Half of ITDMs go even further, saying that quality design and easy website navigation can increase their trust in information read online.
A positive omni-channel experience needs to extend to sales follow-up. Understanding how to educate the sales team, and what tools they need, is a key way tech marketers can increase engagement. Almost all (98%) ITDMs have responded to vendor outreach. Knowledge sharing plays a key role in why ITDMs respond, whether it was sharing valuable content (56%), showing an understanding about their business or challenges (53%), showing respect for their time (51%), demonstrating honesty and transparency (51%), and reaching out at the right time (50%).
Most of the communications between ITDMs and vendor sales people are email or online based (60%), compared to on the phone (22%) or in-person (18%). But, no matter the form of communication, 76% of ITDMs say their likelihood of purchase is impacted by the sales person contacting them within their desired time frame. Moving the conversation from exploration to a sale, there are many factors that play into making the short list, but the leaders are cost and terms (78%), quality and reliability (74%), and features and functionality (69%). Just under half (45%), mentioned having a previous working relationship gives a leg up, offering an opportunity for new solution providers.
Beyond Text Based Content
Video and events continue to play an important and unique role in ITDMs education process, as these media allow for complex topics to be explained more easily and encourages conversation. ITDMs are responsive to video, and 95% watch tech-related videos. The three platforms with the greatest tech videos views are vendor websites (71%), YouTube/video channels (65%), and tech content sites (64%). ITDMs looking to transform their businesses want to connect with vendors; over the past year 83% of ITDMs attended events where they had the opportunity to directly interact with vendors. Events provide a unique platform for conversations and learning, and ITDM attendees participate to try new products, meet new vendors, ask questions of current vendors, meet with industry experts, and connect with peers at their level. Whether tech marketers incorporate video, events, or both, into their content marketing plans, product demos should be a consideration for either format. The majority of ITDMs (98%) have found value in product demos, with a particular interest in limited time, full function trials (65%), video demonstrations of a product (58%), and in-person demonstrations of how the product works (56%).
“Tech leaders and tech vendors need to have a symbiotic relationship, especially when businesses are relying more on technology to thrive and advance,” said Glynn, continued. “Tech marketers can reinforce their value in this partnership through the creation and distribution of informative and unbiased content. When tech decision-makers find content valuable, they take proactive steps to further educate themselves — whether that be visiting the vendors’ site, reading additional articles and reviews on tech content sites, or contacting the vendor for a product demo.”