STUDY: 74% of IT Decision-Makers Side with IT Vendors Who Prioritize Education

Foundry’s new research also found product demos are a critical, invaluable tool for IT decision-makers throughout the tech purchase process

Boston, MA – November 17, 2022 Foundry (an IDG, Inc. company), the global leader in media, martech and data for the tech community, today released the 2022 Customer Engagement Study to gain a better understanding of the various types and volume of content consumed throughout the purchase process for major technology products and services. In its ninth year, the study provides insight into the engagement preferences of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) when it comes to technology vendor follow-up and relationships.

IT decision-makers have increased pressure on them to provide technology solutions for economic disruptions. Because of this, technology professionals are seeking out more information to help them meet their business needs. Now more than ever, they need relevant and reliable educational resources placed in their paths as they explore solutions.

As a result, the study shows 74% of ITDMs are more likely to consider an IT vendor who educates them through each stage of the decision process. A similar number of respondents (72%) report that if a vendor does not supply educational content during research, it negatively impacts their impression. A majority (91%) say it’s challenging to find high-quality information, with the top reasons being due to lack of truly independent, unbiased information, too much marketing hype or empty buzzwords, and that the information is too general.

Here is a closer look at the survey’s findings:

Understanding Content Value and Timing
While the majority (91%) of ITDMs are willing to register for content from a technology vendor, not all content is helpful as only 48% stated their downloaded work-related content has provided them with value over the last 12 months, up from 41% in 2021. To receive value, an overwhelming majority (96%) of ITDMs are interested in custom tailored content, with the top customizations being by industry (54%), technology platform(s) they already have installed at their organization (49%), company size (31%), and job responsibilities (28%).

When downloading content, ITDMs typically read or consume it an average of 3 days after. However, 43% will read it that day, and 32% will read it 2-3 days after. So it’s important for technology vendors to think of this timeframe prior to following up with the prospect.

It’s important for tech vendors to think about these customizations and preferences prior to outreach as well. The survey states 96% of ITDMs have responded to outreach from a potential vendor. However, respondents said they are more likely to respond if the vendor shared valuable content or information with them (50%), was knowledgeable about their business/specific challenges (45%), demonstrated honesty/transparency (43%), reached out at the right time (37%), and showed respect for their time (37%).

When IT decision-makers fill out a form to be contacted, the expected follow-up time is much more prompt, lowering to 16 hours compared to 19 hours in 2021. Almost one-third (31%) expect a response within 24 hours, and 30% expect a near immediate response within 6 hours.

“Developing content to provide value is a significant part of how vendors can help IT leadership navigate their purchase decisions, but vendors need to understand how the role of technology continues accelerating,” said Stacey Raap, Marketing & Research Manager, Foundry. “Using appropriate channels and knowing the right time to make contact with a prospect can be a critical component of having a positive engagement.”

Curating Content to Maximize Impact and Value
When asked which types of content ITDMs rely on most throughout the purchase process, the top five are product testing/reviews/opinions (49%), product demo/product literature (44%), technology news (43%), vendor presentations (41%), and analyst research (35%). Buyer’s guides (18%), opinion columns (12%), and vendor directories (10%) are labeled the least relied on.

By the purchase process stage, technology news is the number one content type relied upon when determining the business need. Product testing and product demos are top pieces of content relied upon when determining tech requirements, evaluating products and services, and recommending vendors. When selling internally, analyst research comes more into play and how-to content becomes more popular in the post-sale process.

Almost all IT decision-makers (97%) say they have received value from a product demo. The most useful formats are a limited time, full function trial (52%), an in-person demonstration of how the product works (51%), and a virtual live demonstration (44%). When researching a new technology, information topics of most interest are business value of the technology, pain points the technology addresses, and skills/roles information needed due to the technology.

When looking at the desired length of content, the data shows ITDMs have the highest tolerance for webcast (16.4 minutes) and in-depth product reviews (16.3 minutes), followed by interviews with industry experts (14.6 minutes), and how-to videos (14.3 minutes). The data also shows the average desired length of a podcast is 12.5 minutes, and average written content is 4.6 pages for research survey results/analyst research and 4.5 pages for white papers/case studies.

About 2022 Customer Engagement Study
Foundry’s 2022 Customer Engagement Study was conducted among the audience of 624 IT and business decision-makers. Foundry conducted this survey to better understand the various types and volume of content consumed throughout the purchase process for major technology products and services. All respondents had IT or management titles, with 53% based in North America, 28% in Asia/Pacific (APAC) regions, and 18% from Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA).

To learn more about this year’s Customer Engagement Study, download the white paper here.

About Foundry, an IDG, Inc. company
Foundry has played a key role in every major milestone, announcement, and development in modern technology since 1964. Today, Foundry continues to lead in the technology space by helping companies bring their visions to reality through a combination of media, marketing technologies and proprietary data. Our technology platforms of Triblio, Selling Simplified, KickFire and LeadSift are powered by data from an owned and operated ecosystem of global editorial brands, awards, and events, all engineered and integrated to drive marketing campaigns for technology companies. Foundry is dedicated to generating and innovating with data, driving demand for technology marketers with 38 offices in markets around the globe. Foundry is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group, Inc. (IDG), the world’s leading market intelligence and demand generation company focused on the technology industry.

To learn more about Foundry, visit www.foundryco.com.

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