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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Google+ –  Will It’s Growing Circle Cast A Shadow Over Facebook?

gplus-logo-300x213“It’s not the ghost town it once was,” said a colleague of mine, who was an early adopter of Google+. Times they are changin’ for this social media channel as it’s seeing dramatic growth. At first, Google+ seemed to be nothing more than Google trying to play catch up to Facebook’s phenomenal expansion.

 Like many in the marketing biz, I sat on the fence when it came to Google+. I was already juggling enough social media with my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn activities. The additional time drain did not equal much in the way of benefits from keeping my Google+ profile up to date.  Why bother with Google’s vanity project?

However, a couple of things happened recently that have me focusing more on my Google+ presence.

Facebook’s organic reach has dropped.  I don’t really blame Facebook for trying to monetize its service by spurring Facebook user’s to pay for promotion. There’s no free lunch in social media, even if the mirage of “no cost” seemed compellingly real in the early days.  But as a B2B person, I just wasn’t seeing much in the way of benefits for my Facebook efforts.

I checked into some Facebook Groups related to B2B marketing, and I wasn’t impressed by the level of activity, engagement or content. I find Google+ does at better job with its equivalent Communities. The engagement appears more active than similar B2B Facebook Groups and its layout and design visually pops. Google+ also provides basic text formatting functions like bold and italic to make your posts stand out.

 If you’re connected with B2B marketing, then join my Google+ circle at… google.com/+DavidCoyneCommunications

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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A Simple Technique for Flushing Out Hype in Content Marketing

As I mentioned in my previous posting on unique selling propositionsB2B content marketing generally has a low tolerance for hype. Expanding a bit further on this theme, I have a writing technique I use sometimes to flush out text that might be too sales oriented. It may seem a bit unorthodox, but I do find it works…PenTarget - David Coyne Communications

Write your ideal customer a letter, as if you were writing to a friend.

This doesn’t mean that your completed marketing piece has to be a letter. But writing content in the personal letter form reduces hyperbole in your text that you might find in more sales oriented marketing material. 

Assign your imaginary customer a first name, and start with the standard salutation “Dear [FIRST NAME].” (Spending time first developing a buyer persona can focus your picture of your ideal customer even more strongly. Here’s an example from Hubspot.)

Try the letter technique for the early drafts of your marketing content to see if it keeps your tone genuine.

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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