Why Is IT Leading the Way in B2B Demand Generation Content Marketing?

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Perhaps surprisingly, IT-sector marketers lead the way in content marketing, and here’s why “the rest of us” should follow.

Research indicates that most marketers in the computing/software industry consider content marketing a must:

  • 94% of use content marketing strategies
  • 83%  deploy case studies (cross-industry average: 55%)
  • 69% use webinars and webcasts (cross-industry average: 42%)

What do IT-sector marketers know that apparently half of us don’t? Based on my own conversations with IT marketing professionals, the answer is: nothing.

The target audience drivers that lead IT marketers to apply content marketing strategies so frequently are the three main issues that have always distinguished B2B marketing of any kind from consumer marketing:

Complexity.

It takes more education to understand B2B products and services and the impact their integration will make on the organization. Naturally, buyers are much more likely to purchase a product they understand. The education required is provided by relevant, engaging content delivered to the right people at the right buying stages over time.

Long buying cycle.

Speaking of time, it generally takes 18-24 months from approach to purchase for a significant IT spend to be made. While the B2B purchase timeframe in other industries will vary, we can usually count on months of outreach and nurturing before purchase.

While our targets are making comparisons and championing their favorites, our main conduit for staying top of mind is the timely delivery of relevant content.

The committee.

IT products and services often have a high price point, and their integration can affect all areas of an organization. But even less substantial and less expensive B2B products tend to require buy-in from multiple departments. In short, B2B purchases have always required a high burden of proof, in terms of ROI as well as performance.

And how can we assist our champions on the customer side? By providing a steady stream of content they can wield to justify their purchasing recommendations.

It seems IT sector demand generation marketers are simply paying 20%+ more attention to the basic principles of B2B marketing than “other” marketers.

Do you have a different view? Are you the rare IT sector marketer who doesn’t prioritize content marketing? Let’s hear from you in the comments.

PS: Here’s my source for content marketing adoption figures.

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7 Responses to Why Is IT Leading the Way in B2B Demand Generation Content Marketing?

  1. [...] her blog, “Why Is IT Leading the Way in B2B Demand Generation Content Marketing?,” Lauren Goldstein correctly observes IT leads all other B2B industries in content [...]

  2. Mark McClure says:

    In many cases non-IT business units also take a leading role in reviewing and approving IT solutions.

    That makes your comment about “relevant, engaging content delivered to the right people at the right buying stages over time” even more important than in previous eras when IT pretty much ran the show all the way from RFI to procurement approval.

  3. Interesting. Perhaps the IT sector has higher standards for for IT staff?

    I think It takes a village, good content and IT are equally important. It’s not one or the other, both are required. Here are the scenarios as I see it:

    * Great content and bad IT might work, but won’t convert or retain eyeballs.
    * Bad content and bad IT won’t get found
    * Good IT and bad content won’t get you passed 7 second sniff test.

    Just my two cents.

  4. kenny says:

    content marketing is critical in IT purchases. However.Most IT vendor hide this behind registration forms. IT professionals hate this approach and see a lot of value in content. but vendors need to open this content up.

  5. john says:

    The content marketing conversation is too often dominated by agencies and consultants. They put out a lot of content, content that deals with content marketing, demand generation etc. Its not hard for hubspot or marketo to develop a white paper that attracts my interest, but it doesn’t mean I have any interest in becoming their customer. IT marketing is VERY different than the marketing that these marketing agencies and vendors do. Many of the rules and best practices that the experts discuss, are just not applicable. As a marketer, I am always interested in learning something new and hearing the ideas of others. In IT, it doesn’t really work that way. You want as much info as possible about a particular solution and once you’ve made your purchase, you move on. You could care less about a company’s blog or content unless you happen to be in the market or are at least doing research for whatever product or solution that company sells. As a software marketer, its my opinion that the marketing funnel works different in my industry that it does for the marketing consultants that do the most peddling of content marketing concepts. Again, way easier to get a bunch of marketers to show up to a webinar or read an ebook that’s called “Top 10 ways to Drive Traffic to your Website” than it is for those of us in niche IT companies. The good news is, people who fill out our registration forms in order to download an ebook of datasheet are actually INTERESTED in our company and usually will not be annoyed to get communication from us.

    • John – Thank you for the comments. It’s true, there are nuances – especially if you’re dealing with an IT product vs. a service or a solution (where there is certainly a need for an ongoing dialogue). However, I’m curious about your specific circumstance and why you don’t believe there’s a role for content post-purchase? Often we use this “post purchase” timeframe to help with implementation, support and general “welcome/onboarding” type content. It’s also likely a great time to extend your dialogue with the customer about aligned products, software or services. And…consider that “content” could also be a thank you note (with our without additional insights). Warm regards, Lauren

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