Tech Buyers Go Deep For Information and Bite on White Papers

Tech Buyers Go Deep For Information and Bite on White Papers

While searching for connection options to help technology marketers align their strategies with the expectations of technology buyers, a study by KnowledgeStorm, in conjunction with MarketingSherpa, found that the trick is to find middle ground where marketers' information meets buyers' demand, as well as aligning content development and distribution with audience engagement and message delivery.

The study of nearly 3,000 B2B marketers and technology and business professionals in April 2007 included CMO, VP or Directors of Marketing, Marketing or Product Managers, IT professionals, Strategic Planners, and Buyers. 

Eighty-four percent of technology buyers begin their online search for information with one of the major search engines and ultimately use multiple channels during their search, including online publications, analyst sites, directories and IT vendor or community Websites. By using search engine optimization (SEO), paid search/search engine marketing (SEM) and content syndication, the study finds, marketers are able to effectively cover the Internet.

The "Summary of Key Findings" reports these relevant notations:

  • When technology buyers start their search using one of the major search engines, 56% use phrases of three or more words. An additional 19% use search operators. Only 6% use one word or an acronym.
  • Fifty-three percent of technology buyers scan, on average, three to five pages of search results.
  • Sponsored links, or paid ads that appear in search results, are read by 53% of technology buyers "frequently" or "sometimes." Thirty-four percent click on the link or ad "sometimes" or "frequently." Sixty-five percent of marketers use a paid ad strategy to place their content on search results.
  • Sixty-six percent of marketers say they have a strategy for achieving a high organic or natural placement for their content on major search engines. Fifty-six percent thought that their content was consistently indexed and usually accessible within the major search engines.
  • Eighty percent of technology buyers say that offline marketing materials such as magazine advertisements or direct mail create sufficient interest for them to seek more information online "sometimes" or "frequently."
  • More than 50% of technology buyers say they give a valid name, email address, industry, job title and company name when they register for technology content online. Less than 40% provide accurate phone numbers, indicating that they are more receptive to follow up emails than to follow up phone calls.
  • Forty-three percent of technology buyers provide valid personal email addresses when asked to register for content. Marketers may discount personal emails, but buyers say they use a non-business address to better manage their email and segment information requests and follow-ups into more manageable queues.
  • Nearly 80% of technology buyers will register for a white paper, which is also the top content type marketers deem as worth requiring registration. By contrast, only 38% of buyers will register for a demo and 31% for a Webcast... two content types ranked highly by marketers (77% and 64%, respectively) as content for which they typically require registration.
  • More than 80% of technology buyers consider the type of content important in deciding whether to register for it. Other key factors include the amount of overview information available (72%), and the source of content (69%).
  • When technology buyers are asked to register for content, 72% weigh the amount of detail provided in the overview in their decision and 74% want to see at least a one-paragraph overview. However, only 48% of marketers provide this desired level of detail.

The study concludes that eighty percent of buyers indicate that offline marketing materials will "frequently" or "often" drive them to specific sites. Once they reach their "content destination," technology buyers place greater value on certain types of marketing material and want to have a good idea what they're getting before they commit to registering for downloaded content. For marketers, then, concludes the study, an offline marketing program of magazine advertisements, direct mail, seminars or tradeshows has the advantage of increasing online activity.

Though traditional search engine wisdom says that you need to be on the first page of results, search is becoming more sophisticated, with buyers using more complex terms of three or more words and often looking as deep as five pages. And, the majority of technology buyers have read paid ads that appear in their search results at least sometimes, with many marketers incorporating paid search into their content positioning strategies.

Finally, concludes the report, technology buyers place the highest value on high-quality educational materials, particularly white papers and case studies, and are consequently most willing to register for them. In addition, technology buyers want to read an abstract of at least a paragraph to determine whether they will register for specific content. Less than half of the marketers surveyed provide that level of detail.

Please find a landing page here to find more information and a source to the complete reports.

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