As a technology marketer, do you ever wonder how (or if) the marketing collateral you work hard to create is used by IT buyers in their purchasing decisions? What influence does this material actually have?
According to a report by Eccolo Media (Eccolo Media 2010 B2B Technology Survey Report, www.eccollomedia.com), the quality, format, length and topic of marketing collateral substantially affects the purchase decision. The delivery channel through which assets are made available is also a factor.
Here are four points that I thought particularly interesting from this report:
1) A wide range of collateral types are used by decision-makers and influencers during a technology purchase, but not all are created equal in terms of influencing power.
Data sheets were the most frequently utilized type of collateral by IT buyers (83%), followed closely by white papers (76%), case studies and success stories (67%), videos (59%), and podcasts (40%).
Interesting side note – The use of video and podcasts/audio content continues to grow significantly with an increase of 8% for each of these vehicles over the prior year results.
What are the types of collateral that influence a purchasing decision the most? White papers . Not just any white papers, but those that are well written, somewhat technical, include some best practices and real life case studies, and are no more than eight (8) pages in length. In fact, 82% of the respondents in this study preferred case studies 8 pages or shorter.
2) All collateral has viral potential
We typically think of “viral” as something that applies to social media – Tweets, YouTube videos, Flickr photos etc. In actuality, any kind of collateral has the potential to go viral. 89% of the respondents to this study routinely share the white papers they read with others. 87% share case studies, 84% podcasts and 80% share video and data sheets.
More remarkable is the fact that these IT decision –makers share both digital and print formats of collateral.
Lessons here for B2B marketers – make your content easy to share both digitally and in print format.
3) Written collateral combined with video and audio increases influence
Embedding video or audio into digital versions of written documents such as white papers and case studies is relatively new. Is this sort of strategy effective in influencing prospective buyers. According to the Eccolo Media study, an overwhelming percentage (93%) clicked through to video and audio files they encountered within collateral they encountered. 80% of these same respondents viewed the inclusion of video and audio files within documents as a positive influence within their consideration and buying process.
4) How you deliver your content is important too.
How people find your content also plays a role in how influential that content can be to a prospective customer. As B2B marketers we know that content that is shared from a personal contact carries with it more weight than content provided via a direct response campaign, for example. Referrals are like gold.
But did you know that your corporate web site is the second most influential source of content. Your web site is also the most frequently used channel for collateral delivery. Combine that with the high perceived influence factor and it makes sense to ensure that you have consistent stream of fresh content flowing to your site.
There you have it, B2B technology marketers. The content we create can influence prospective customers and help to drive pipeline and close deals, as long as we pay attention to end-user preferences for consumption.
Read the full Eccolo Media 2010 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report. There’s loads of good insights and tips included.