Lorie Loe is president of Eccolo Media, a content strategy services company that conducted a survey of 155 technology buyers last August, asking how they consume marketing collateral. BtoB recently asked Loe what stood out from that research.
BtoB: What are two or three things from the survey that are immediately actionable, that marketers should do today?
Loe: No. 1 was the finding that the vast majority of people reviewing content do it right at the desktop [online]. They aren't printing it out and taking it with them, or reading it at their desks. They are looking at it in its digital format.
The second thing was that white papers really do have a lot of influence. They are definitely the best investment you can make in terms of your collateral budget. That assumes you stick to the good guidelines for creating white papers: not too long; an objective discussion; delivered in a digital format to make them easily shared and looked at.
Also interesting was how early in the cycle buyers typically consume collateral.
Loe: That was a pretty big surprise. [W]e saw how the data skewed . . . that a first-time use of content happened in the presales cycle, before they even talked to a representative of the company or picked up the phone. The guideline that came away from that is that when content is delivered, there are two things you need to look at: You need to deliver content in the widest variety of formats, [so recipients] can choose their preferred format; and you really want to pay attention to the fact that your brand personality and the value of your company is being conveyed in that content. It's like the front door of your company—it's their first conversation with you. You want to make sure they get a feel for who you are as a company, of working with you as a company.
BtoB: What role does social media play in the b-to-b collateral picture?
Loe: For the purposes of this survey, to keep the data clean, we did not ask about social networks. But in execution they absolutely go hand in hand. Readers indicated they want to view content on the desktop and share digital files. I think that's an example of the “Web 2.0-ifying” of content. People want to interact with things in a digital manner. They want to share things; they want to post and comment on [them].
One of the things we talk to our clients about is being prepared for how your collateral and content needs to be changed, knowing it's probably going to get posted and shared on some social network. M