NEW STUDY: “Uncool” B2B Marketing Collateral Ranks Tops with Tech Buyers

B2B BrochureTraditional B2B marketing collateral like brochures and data sheets are viewed by many young marketers as too “old school” for today’s audiences. But not so fast. According to new research published by Eccolo Media, B2B tech buyers ranked these marketing resources as the number one content asset for evaluating a technology purchase.

The 2015 B2B Technology Content Survey was comprised of over 100 respondents who were accountable for influencing or making technology-buying decisions in the six months prior to the survey. Thirty-three percent listed themselves as influencers and 67 percent as decision-makers. 

Specifically, when it came to traditional content like brochures and datasheets, the study revealed…

 “More than half of respondents (57%) said they had looked at product brochures/data sheets from B2B technology vendors in the past six months, the most engagement with any content type.

This may be a shock to marketers who deem social conversations, tweet updates, and LinkedIn connections as the undisputed top methods to influence B2B buyers. But having worked with engineers — from mechanical to software — I know many of them find valuable information in brochures and data sheets. 

Decision makers and influencers in technical B2B sectors often need hard data and specifications to ensure any products they purchase are compatible or adaptable with their current systems.

 You should still include benefits, even on datasheets. But for this kind of audience, I try to avoid using too many adjectives. They can come across as hyperbole, so I stick to low-key verbs. I took this approach for a client brochure selling scientific equipment for pharmaceutical, chemical and petroleum applications:Brochure Bullets

Surprising Stat for Blogs

The top five content assets among the survey respondents were…

Top-Five-Most-Valuable-Content B2B

In this age of social media, how did social content come out as a purchase influencer? Facebook and LinkedIn ranked at  only 34 percent. Twitter was even less, at 25 percent.  This doesn’t mean that social media has no marketing value; just that it’s not as effective as other marketing formats for purchase influence.

 One stat that surprised me is blog posts. They ranked at just 30 percent, below most social content.  Perhaps it’s because blogs tend to be more observational in nature, commenting on state-of-the-industry and trends rather than on product specifics. 

It’s Lonely at the Bottom

I’m sure you’re curious what content channel landed last in the survey.

For least consumed content asset, we have a tie for this dubious honor:  ebooks and podcasts (24%)

The least influential content on buying decisions: ebooks (7 %) and tweets (4%).

I bet if you asked any  B2B marketing consultants about top five content formats, I doubt brochures and data sheets would make their lists.

In the end, I take away from this study that you shouldn’t be too quick to follow experts’ advice on content marketing recommendations without he or she first talking to your customers and understanding their preferred content choices. What works for one B2B sector may not necessarily work in another.

David Coyne

David Coyne

David Coyne is a B2B copywriter and marketing consultant with 25 years experience in the business-to-business sector.

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Could All this Happen to Marketing in 2014?

Blown-Away-Predict-2014 copyIt’s that time when we marketers ponder about our objectives and strategies for the New Year. After two decades of experience in the industry, I haven’t seen marketing communications splinter into so many different channels, especially in the social media space.

But having more channels doesn’t necessarily make things easier for marketers.

The Business Marketing Association and Forrester Inc noted anxiety among marketers in research presented at the BMA’s annual conference this year. Their study found that, “97% of b2b marketers are doing things they have never done before as part of marketing, and 34% of senior marketers feel ‘overwhelmed’ by change.”

If you feel snowed under and unsure about your marketing direction, have a look at some of the trends and predictions for the New Year. It might deliver the right guidance on where to aim your marketing arrows in 2014 – or at least give you a little time to prepare.

Social Media:

Social Media Trends for 2014 

Content Marketing:

Top 7 Content Marketing Trends that Will Dominate 2014 

Digital Marketing:

Digital Marketing Techniques That Will Be in Vogue in 2014 

Search Engine Marketing & Pay Per Click:

Will It Be an SEO or PPC Year for Marketers? 

Direct Marketing:

Winterberry Group’s 2014 Predictions

For my own forecasting, I predict a cooling of social media’s cool factor. Its popularity won’t sink, but companies will achieve a better understanding of where social media excels and where it doesn’t. It’s inevitable that this marketing channel would start to mature, like all others before it.

I expect to see the fast emergence of new players within social media, giving pioneers like Facebook and Twitter a run for their money. Mobile marketing will become more integrated into ecommerce and content marketing.

What about you? Where do you think marketing is headed in 2014? Please share your thoughts.

David Coyne

David Coyne

David Coyne is a B2B copywriter and marketing consultant with 25 years experience in the business-to-business sector.

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