2019 IDG Customer Engagement study reveals the content consumption behaviors of IT decision-makers, along with their tech vendor relationship preferences
Boston, Mass. – Dec. 5, 2019 – IDG Communications, Inc. – the world’s leading tech media, data, and marketing services company – releases the 2019 Customer Engagement research, which looks at the content consumption habits of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) as well as their preferences for IT vendor engagement. This year, the research found that 79% of ITDMs are willing to register for content if they know they will receive value in return; however only 38% of downloaded work-related content has provided actionable information for ITDMs in the past 12 months. Tech marketers must understand their customers’ educational needs and content preferences in order to add value throughout the tech purchase process, and this 2019 research provides the necessary guidance. (Click to Tweet)
Make Content Worth the Registration
The majority of ITDMs (86%) continue to find it challenging to locate enough high-quality, trusted information on IT products and services throughout the tech purchase process – 86%, which is up from 79% who stated this in 2017. The main factors for this are due to too much marketing hype/empty buzzwords (50%), lack of truly independent, unbiased information (43%), and hesitation to download materials because they do not want sales follow-up (34%). When ITDMs do find valuable content, they are likely to take action. Close to two-thirds (64%) say that after downloading content they find valuable, they will research a product on a technology content site, 63% will visit vendor websites or contact a vendor, and 50% will participate in a product demo.
When doing their research, ITDMs are also willing to register for and share their information with a tech vendor in order to gain access to content (84%). The most sought-after forms of content that ITDMs will register for are product demos/product literature, product testing/reviews/opinions, analyst research, vendor presentations and case studies. However, it’s essential to not only focus on the content, but also on the relationships with IT vendors. Eighty-one percent of ITDMs say they are willing to exchange contact details with a company they already have a relationship with.
“Providing tech buyers with the content types they rely on is a huge component of navigating the IT purchase process, however it’s only one piece of the puzzle,” said Eric Koepele, U.S. Chief Commercial Officer, IDG Communications, Inc. “Having the ability to connect with them, actively understand their challenges, and then ultimately offer them relevant and tailored content positions IT vendors for success.”
Maintaining Your Customer Base
Being a valuable resource throughout the entire purchase process is a necessity – 74% say they are more likely to consider an IT vendor who educates them through each stage of the decision process. Additional factors affect an IT vendor’s reputation and their interactions with ITDMs; such as awareness, trust, and timing. The research found that 80% of tech buyers say that their awareness of a source is important for them to click on a link – and clicking on the link is one of the first steps in the research phase of the tech purchase process. Eighty percent also say that when a technology brand is known and trusted it increases the likelihood that they will be added to the shortlist.
There are several reasons why an ITDM may abandon a tech vendor during the purchase process including aggressive/persistent sales follow-up (63%), too promotional & self-serving (52%) and there are too many requirements to download content (46%). In fact, access to content is an important consideration since ITDMs will also abandon a vendor if there is not enough content available to do their own research (43%) or the majority of the content is gated (37%). When it comes to reaching out to an IT decision-maker, on average ITDMs want to be contacted within 18 hours after filling out a contact form to learn more about a product/solution.
It’s also important to understand why an ITDM proactively reaches out to a tech vendor. These factors include the vendor demonstrated honesty/transparency, showed respect for their time, and shared valuable content/information with them. New to this year’s research, we found that 92% of ITDMs share information about a tech vendor with their peers; strengthening the need for IT vendors to make their customers their advocates. Half (52%) say they will share information about a tech vendor if they provided a great customer experience, followed by provided timely, relevant content (43%), and then provided content that offered “how-to” information (38%).
Multi-Channel Content Consumption
While we know that ITDMs seek product reviews and demos, the research also looks at some of the preferred formats for this content consumption – including videos and podcasts. The majority (94%) have watched a tech-related video for business purposes, with preference given to how-to videos (51%) and in-depth product reviews (49%). Additionally, ITDMs shared how much time they are willing to spend with videos. On average, how-to videos should be 15 minutes long and in-depth product reviews can be slightly longer at 16 minutes. The study also finds that these are mainly watched on tech content sites (61%) and YouTube/or a video channel (61%). Podcasts are also popular, with 57% listening to a podcast for business purposes in the last three months. ITDMs turn to podcasts to find out about emerging/new technology (50%), breaking/recent tech news (42%), and thought leadership (31%). Regarding the length of a podcast, an average of 16 minutes is preferred.
About the 2019 IDG Customer Engagement Survey
IDG’s 2019 Customer Engagement Survey was conducted among the audiences of five IDG brands (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and Network World) representing IT and security decision-makers across multiple industries. The survey was fielded online with the objective of understanding the various types of content consumed throughout the purchase process for major technology products and services. It also looks to gain insight into the preferences of IT decisions-makers with regard to IT vendor contact and follow-up during the purchase process. Results are based on 900+ global tech decision-maker respondents.
Want more information? Register to receive the 2019 Customer Engagement white paper and we will deliver it to your inbox once it is available in the next few weeks.
About IDG Communications, Inc.
IDG Communications connects the world of tech buyers with insights, intent and engagement. We are the world’s largest media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. Our premium brands, including CIO®, Computerworld®, CSO®, InfoWorld®, Macworld®, Network World®, and PCWorld® engage a quality audience of the most powerful audience of technology buyers providing essential guidance on the evolving technology landscape.
Our global data intelligence platform activates purchasing intent, powering our clients’ success. IDG Marketing Services creates custom content with marketing impact across video, mobile, social and digital. We execute complex campaigns that fulfill marketers’ global ambitions seamlessly with consistency that delivers quality results.
Senior Marketing & Research Specialist
IDG Communications, Inc.