Business Administration Education Guide

Thursday, April 05, 2007

From: Center for Media Research

White Papers Most Important to Technology Buyers

According to a study in February, 2007 by KnowledgeStorm and MarketingSherpa to examine how content development, formatting and targeting affect technology buyers' perceptions of value, 71% of technology buyers say that white papers are the most frequently read form of content, and 57% say they are passed along more than half the time. 75% of marketers include them in their marketing mix.

Other key findings show that:

  • 85% of technology buyers say they need to see at least three pieces of content about a new technology before they acquire significant knowledge of it. Of the marketers surveyed, 43% had between 5 and 20 pieces of content in their marketing library.
  • Technology buyers conduct nearly 75% of their research and information gathering online. Marketers split their online and offline marketing efforts up disproportionately (60% and 40% respectively).
  • 60% percent of technology buyers look for different types of content depending on where they are in the buying cycle. 38% of marketers currently customize their content to meet the needs of prospects at different points in the buying cycle, but another 27% plan to do so in the future.

Nearly 78% of marketer respondents "oversee" or have "significant involvement" in content marketing programs. 41% of the respondents hold the titles Director of Marketing, CMO or VP, and 32% are Marketing or Product Managers.

53% of the technology buyers in the study are business professionals, 47% are IT professionals, 46% are involved at a strategic level, and 32% authorize, or have a major influence on, IT purchases.

Key findings in the report include information such as:

  • 92% of technology buyers say they are either "somewhat satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the quality of content available to them.
  • The Web is the preferred delivery channel as nearly three-fourths of all technology information searches are made online.
  • 79% percent of technology buyers stated that they received 25% or more of their information from vendor-sponsored content, including white papers, case studies, corporate Websites and technology solution information.
  • 49% percent of respondents considered the information they found online to be of greater value to the content they received through other means such as events, mailings and publications. However, marketers still put 40% of their efforts into offline campaigns.
  • 61% of technology buyers want content that directly addresses the issues they face at each point in the decision process.
  • Only 38% of marketers surveyed currently create content that meets the needs of potential buyers from research to purchase., but 27% have recognized the need to develop content that supports customers throughout the buying cycle.
  • Technology buyers conduct nearly three-quarters of their technology research and information gathering online, while marketers conduct a disproportionate percentage of their content marketing offline (40%).
  • Though respondents value well-written, high quality content, even more valued was the educational quality of the material, which 85% of technology buyers rated as "very" or "extremely" important to them.
  • Less than one-third of technology buyers claimed to access Webcasts "most frequently." Conversely, almost two-thirds of marketers sponsor or use Webcasts in their marketing programs.

The report concludes that "developing a balanced content program requires that marketers abandon the tendency to focus internally on their products, features, corporate structures and strategies and instead look at the need for content more from the technology buyer's perspective..."

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