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Content Plays Critical Role Throughout Tech-Buying Cycle

by Lenna Garibian  |  
October 23, 2012
  |  15,328 views

When making a major technology or security solution purchase, information technology decision-makers (ITDMs) download an average of nine content assets throughout the buying cycle, according to a report by IDG.

ITDMs rely on various types of content as they advance through the buying cycle:

  • Early in the purchase process, when determining business need and technical requirements, ITDMs rank content such as feature articles, technology news stories, how-to articles, and whitepapers as most important.
  • Midway through the process, when ITDMs are evaluating products and selecting vendors, content such as reviews/recommendations and third-party research (e.g., IDC, Gartner) plays a more important role.
  • In the latter part of the buying cycle, when ITDMs are focusing on getting internal buy-in and final approval, content such as assessment tools (e.g., ROI calculators), product demos, and demo literature becomes more important. 

Interestingly, case studies play a role throughout the decison-making process, as do how-to articles and stories.

Below, other findings from IDG's 2012 Enterprise Customer Engagement survey, issued on September 25, 2012.


Overall, ITDMs place more value on educational content (articles, reviews, and case studies) (24%) than they do transactional content such as brochures, FAQs, and documentation (21%), peer dialogue (19%), vendor dialogue (18%), or independent authority dialogue (18%).

However, despite a strong need for quality content, trusted information is hard to find, according to the ITDMs surveyed.

More than 8 in 10 ITDMs say it's extremely or very challenging (38%) or somewhat challenging (43%) to find "quality, trusted information on major enterprise IT/security products and services to make informed purchase decisions they are comfortable with."


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Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.

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  • by Nick Stamoulis Tue Oct 23, 2012 via web

    The more advanced the product and buying cycle the more content you need to create to connect with your audience. Many decision makers aren't interested in hearing from a salesperson until they have done a little research on their own. You need to get a foot in the door!

  • by Frank Faleye Mon Nov 12, 2012 via web

    Content in all its ramifications is an important key to making purchase decisions. Hence ITDMS are 'all ears' to information or content gleaned from social media engagements. To a large extent,it helps to reinforce decision makers prefrence.As the writer puts it,ITDMS prefer to have a foot at the door.

  • by Brandon Thu Jan 24, 2013 via web

    Nice article but the infographics that are included are difficult to read and thus lose some of their usefulness.

  • by Matt Malanga Thu Mar 7, 2013 via web

    I couldn't agree more about the importance of content plays in the buying cycle with the ultimate goal of driving awareness for you product and services. I go into more detail on this at the the www.buyingcycle.com.

  • by Matt Malanga Thu Mar 14, 2013 via web

    I found the article to be very good. I've posted a complementing one at http://b2bbuyersjourney.com/2013/01/29/buying_cycle-generate-more-demand/

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