B2B Marketing Survey: Retool Small Business Outreach, Double Down on White Papers and Tech Guides, and Avoid Betting the Farm on Video or Mobile Apps

Eccolo Media’s 5th Annual Survey Details Marketing Consumption Habits
at Small, Midsize and Enterprise Companies and Offers Reality-Based
Insights for 2013


WEBWIRE – Wednesday, December 05, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 5, 2012) - Small businesses spend a lot on technology but eschew most of the marketing information available from technology companies, according to the Eccolo Media 2012 Technology Collateral Survey, released today. Among its findings on marketing consumption habits in American businesses, the survey showed enterprise B2B brands may be missing the mark entirely when it comes to connecting with small businesses, whose shorter buying cycles and simpler tech needs may prompt them to dismiss complicated collateral better suited to larger purchasers.

“This data points to a real competitive edge for companies willing to listen to what small businesses want and need,” said Lorie Loe, CEO of Eccolo Media. “It may be tempting for resource-constrained marketers to simply re-skin existing enterprise collateral for small business, but this could be a waste of time. Smart companies are likely to benefit if they instead create content that actually addresses the unique pain and opportunities experienced by this segment.”

Other findings in the 5th annual survey show a general decrease in the overall amount of content companies consume during the buying process, a confirmation of the power of white papers and technology guides, a flattening of consumption of marketing videos and low enthusiasm for company-specific mobile apps. The new survey also showed that buyers depend on collateral at every part of the buying cycle, a change from earlier years when they were more likely to consume collateral earlier in the buying process. The data also showed that corporate websites are as influential to buyers as information received from a personal contact, while white papers, case studies and videos were the most frequently consumed content on mobile devices.

A free copy of the complete survey report is available for download: http://www.eccolomedia.com/2012_B2B_Technology_Collateral_Survey_Report.php

ABOUT THE SURVEY

Eccolo Media collaborated with Global Marketing Insite (GMI), a leading global market research firm, to survey professionals in American companies on their use of B2B collateral during the technology purchasing process. Respondents included C-level executives, vice presidents, directors, managers, developers/programmers and technicians at US-based companies. All had been responsible for making technology purchases or influencing the purchasing process in the previous six months.

Among the 2012 findings and recommendations:

- Size matters: Small businesses have markedly different habits when it comes to consuming marketing content in relation to the purchasing process -- they consume less content and tend to rank that content as less influential than their larger counterparts. In addition, small businesses are less likely than larger firms to view content of any kind on mobile devices by a wide margin. However, they are slightly more likely to view content via their desktop than enterprise respondents are. Finally, they are less likely to use social channels to find and consume content as part of a technology purchase.

- Less may be more: The consumption of traditional or core asset types such as white papers, case studies, and product brochures/data sheets decreased for the second year in a row. At the same time, however, these more traditional assets were ranked as more influential than so-called newer asset types such as blogs, webinars and infographics. Specifically, white papers continue to be most frequently ranked as the No. 1 most influential, followed by technology guides/implementation scenarios, case studies/success stories, product brochures/data sheets, podcast/audio files, blog articles/social content, video/multimedia files, e-books, infographics and webinars.

- Video is slowing, while mobile apps lack influence: A hot trend for a few years, video’s appeal has softened. While all collateral types decreased in frequency of use in 2012, video consumption declined the most. Video use may now be reaching equilibrium, perhaps finding its useful place among the wide variety of digital content types now available to end users,“ said Loe. Additionally, while enterprise respondents do indicate they use mobile applications to consume vendor content, it is the least-used method of consuming content by a wide margin. ”Companies should consider the type of content that they can deliver via this method and who their audience is before allocating valuable budget to custom applications" Loe said.

- Content is valuable at all points in the sales cycle: In the first Eccolo survey (2008), respondents indicated that the pre-sales phase, when they were just learning about a problem and had not yet begun to think about specific vendors, was the time they most frequently consumed content. In subsequent surveys, content consumption began to increase in the initial sales phase, when respondents had vendors in mind and were potentially sending out RFPs. Fast-forward to 2012, and respondents indicate that they find all surveyed content types valuable well into the mid-sales phase of the cycle. The final sales stage still sees fewer content types consumed than the first three stages, but by a much less significant margin than in past years.

“This conveys to marketers the importance of understanding the sales cycle itself and the types of content most appropriate for delivery at each phase of the cycle,” said Loe. “In addition, as content becomes more important to the technical purchase decision-making process, marketers must ensure assets are promoted, merchandized, and accessible through the widest array of channels as is practical.”

ABOUT ECCOLO MEDIA

Eccolo Media specializes in communications strategy 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. Founded in 2007, Eccolo Media is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and fulfills a wide range of strategic needs throughout the Americas and EMEA. Visit our Web site at - http://www.eccolomedia.com.

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