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."