Addressing the IT market ‘value gap’
A “value gap” has emerged between IT marketers and IT professionals, according to research from International Data Group (IDG).
The research found that more than half (52%) of IT buyers will drop a vendor if they find the content they are seeking to inform an IT buying decision is too promotional or self-serving. Furthermore, just 38% of the work-related content IT buyers downloaded over the past 12 months has provided them with actionable information.
In a blog analysing the results, Rob O’Regan, director, content marketing strategy, IDG said, “in other words, three out of every five whitepapers, reports, webcasts, or other downloaded content were not all that helpful to busy IT pros.”
Almost two thirds (64%) said they require more resources from vendors to help inform their line of business counterparts throughout the purchase process.
O’Regan refers to this as the emerging “value gap,” or, “the disconnect between IT buyers’ need for relevant, helpful content and technology marketers’ ability to deliver that content.”
The research comes from the seventh annual IDG Customer Engagement survey, which had more than 900 respondents from across the IT sector, all of whom are involved in the purchase process for major IT or security products and services.
O’Regan highlights that digital transformation initiatives in enterprise are serving to is raise the profile of IT professionals across the broader business, as companies move more processes, interactions, and transactions to digital platforms.
“As technology becomes more critical to business strategy and decision making, IT teams need to be better informed about new tech – in part so they can educate their line-of-business counterparts who are part of the extended technology buying team,” said O’Regan.
Despite this pressing need, the research found the majority of IT professionals (86%) say it is challenging to find high-quality, trusted information on major enterprise IT products and services.
There is a willingness among IT professionals to engage with vendors and service providers, as almost three quarters (74%) said they are more likely to consider an IT vendor who educates them throughout each stage of the decision-making process, and 84% say they are willing to share their contact information with a tech vendor to gain access to content.
O’Regan observes that the traps that content marketers fall into are well known and persistent, citing the survey respondents who said that information that was clearly biased, full of marketing buzzwords, or just too general, are particular turn-offs. IT professionals also expressed hesitance to register for a gated asset because they do not want the inevitable sales follow-up, he reports.
“When the quality of your content does not live up to the promises you’ve made in promoting the asset, it’s bad for your brand and bad for business,” said O’Regan.
This leads to the more than half who said that content that is too promotional or self-serving would cause them to drop a vendor when researching technology solutions. However, O’Regan points out that respondents cited overly aggressive or persistent sales follow-ups as an even bigger abandonment trigger.
Despite these inhibitors, the IT professional decision makers (ITDM) also said that they will research the product on technology content sites (64%), visit the vendor’s web site or contact the vendor (63%), or participate in a product demo (50%). However, less than half (43%) were willing to register to receive related content, if applicable.
“The path forward is clear,” said O’Regan. “ITDM are challenging vendors to deliver high-value content that will help them make better buying decisions.”