B2B Collateral Survey: White Papers Still King, Video’s Influence Growing. Technology Decision Makers Say Collateral Has Greatest Impact Early in the Sales Relationship
SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 23, 2009) – It may not be glamorous, but the tried-and-true white paper is still the No. 1 most influential piece of collateral that technology purchasers consult when making or influencing buying decisions for their companies. Additionally, video is quickly becoming more widely used when making purchasing decisions, according to the results of the Eccolo Media 2009 B2B Technology Collateral Survey of American businesses.
Commissioned by San Francisco marketing communications agency Eccolo Media, Inc., the survey of more than 500 technology-purchasing decision makers and influencers also found that sales materials of any kind – white papers, case studies/sale sheets, podcasts, videos, product brochures and data sheets – are most frequently consumed at the beginning of the sales cycle – before a company ever invites vendors to participate in an RFP. Collateral subsequently is used less frequently as sales relationships evolve, the survey said.
Among this year’s key findings:
-Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they’d read at least one white paper in the last six months, with 84 percent of them rating white papers as moderately to extremely influential when making technology-purchasing decisions.
-Nearly half (49%) of respondents said they had watched a vendor’s video while considering a technology purchase, up from 1 in five in 2008.
-Collateral is more viral than ever: 89 percent respondents said they share white papers with others, while 85 percent share case studies, 81 percent share brochures or data sheets; 80 percent share podcasts; and 79 percent share video.
-People prefer to consume collateral from their desktop – in fact, only 1 in 4 surveyed even print out an online document.
- Data sheets and brochures were considered least influential written collateral but were also the most consumed type, indicating they are still valuable “table stakes” in helping solidify a brand’s product messages with potential buyers.
-Good writing matters: 86 percent of respondents felt that high-quality writing was at least moderately influential; 51 percent ranked good writing as either very or extremely influential. By contrast, poor quality writing was the most frequent reason respondents gave for decreasing the influence of a white paper.
A downloadable version of the full survey report is available at:
“We’re definitely seeing some important trends here for technology marketers,” said Lorie Loe, President and Chief Content Strategist at Eccolo Media, Inc. “Decision makers and those who influence them want information that is straightforward, well-crafted and can inform their earliest research into vendors and products.
“Our research shows that being able to consume content from their desktops and share it frequently are key drivers for technology purchasers – drivers that good technology marketers must consider as they plan and develop effective content and collateral.”
ABOUT THE SURVEY
This is the second year Eccolo Media, Inc. has surveyed U.S. technology executives seeking input on their preferred collateral types, how they used content, if they share it, and just how influential it was on their final technology purchase. The Eccolo Media 2008 B2B Technology Collateral Survey compiled results from 155 respondents, of whom two-thirds identified themselves as technology-purchase decision makers and one-third identified themselves as purchase influencers.
The 2009 survey sample grew to 501 respondents; 55 percent identified themselves as technology purchase decision makers; the remaining 45 percent identified themselves as purchase influencers. They were divided almost exactly into under- and over-40 age categories. More than a third (35 percent) had in excess of 15 years experience in the technology industry; more than half (55 percent) had upwards of 11 years of experience; and 76 percent had more than eight years experience.
Respondent titles included C-level executives, vice presidents (VPs), managers, directors, developers/programmers, and technicians. All worked for U.S.-based companies. All were responsible for either making B2B technology purchases or influencing purchasing decisions. Only respondents who indicated that they had participated in a technology purchase in the last six months were included in the survey results.
Eccolo worked with survey specialists at Global Marketing Insite (GMI), a leading global market research firm, to identify and manage participants. GMI distributed the online survey in July 2009 and provided the results as raw data to Eccolo for analysis.
ABOUT ECCOLO MEDIA
Eccolo Media specializes in strategic marketing insight and content development for some of the world’s best-known technology companies. An agency of exceptional writers, Eccolo combines deep experience with ongoing research to identify and apply best practices for producing remarkable content. The agency helps align clients’ marketing needs with their key business goals by bringing a proactive, innovative approach to the planning and execution of collateral in both traditional and new media channels. Founded in 1999, Eccolo Media is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and fulfills a wide range of project needs throughout the Americas and EMEA. Visit our Web site at www.eccolomedia.com.
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