B2B Technology Marketers Find Out What Works

2010 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report CoverLast week Eccolo Media released the 2010 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report. This survey gathered preferences of 500 U.S.-based respondents who were influencers or decision makers on a technology buy

And here’s what they shared…

  • Brochures and data sheets are the most frequently consumed content (83%)
  • White papers are the most influential content
  • Both influencers and decision makers ranked white papers as being most influential
  • After white papers, case studies are considered most influential

While white papers and case studies are must-have tools, they are not all created equally. The number one disappointment?

Poorly written content.

Brochures also aren’t making the impact they might be. While they are the most frequently consumed, their influence isn’t as high as other collateral. A better B2B brochure might solve this issue.


Preferred Format & Length

Most respondents prefer written case studies, though video testimonials are gaining ground. Video is also a good choice for product tutorials/demos. Most respondents had consumed videos on product tutorials/demos and found them to be influential.

One of the most interesting results was shifting preferences toward length. While 55 percent of respondents still feel a white paper should be six pages or less, that number dropped 10 percentage points from 2009. At the same time, those preferring four page white papers dropped and those preferring eight pages increased.

Preferences for written case studies showed similar results, shifting from two pages as the ideal length to four.

Most respondents consume written content on their desktop. That’s good news for those embedding multimedia. In fact nearly half of respondents said they’d seen written content with embedded multimedia. And here’s the best part – 93 percent clicked through and 80 percent said they viewed the inclusion positively. Something to consider.


Channel & Timing

Most collateral is obtained through the corporate website. And the corporate website was also the second most influential channel, behind a personal contact.

This confirms marketers need to continue to regard their corporate website and the collateral it contains as a salesperson. In fact, it should be as well-prepared and knowledgeable as their best salesperson.

Why?

Because it’s influential. And because prospects are engaging with it before they are ready or willing to engage with a human salesperson.

The vast majority of content is consumed either pre-sale (i.e. before RFPs or discussions with vendors) or in the initial sales process (i.e. when vendors are being reviewed & qualified). Far less content is consumed during the mid-sale and ending sales process.


Effectiveness

B2B Content Marketing: 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report CoverThe B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends showed a confidence gap for content marketing tactics. In other words, not all marketers are convinced of the effectiveness of a tactic even though they may be using it.

Interestingly here’s the confidence gap for key content discussed in the Eccolo Media survey.

  • Only 50% of marketers believe white papers are effective
  • Only 53% believe case studies are effective

At least for marketers at B2B technology companies, prospects are saying differently. Well-written white papers and case studies are influential and effective.

This report also showed the top three measurement criteria for content marketing success as web traffic, direct sales and lead quality. For B2B technology companies, those criteria seem right on.

Prospects are going to the corporate website and getting the content they need to make a buying decision. Marketers need to ensure influential content is easy to find and speaks to the needs of their ideal prospect.

And there’s the rub.

The number one challenge content marketers cited was producing engaging content. For B2B technology companies, the Eccolo Media survey shows what customers find to be influential. Now it’s up to them to use best practices and provide it.

Leave a Comment