Are you creating the content that your audience needs?

Technology decision-makers are tasked with the increasingly complex job of evaluating current and emerging technologies and seeing how they can potentially fit into their organization’s tech stack. Or how they can’t. This means their need for educational content is also on the rise and as technology marketers it’s important to be aware of the content formats and topics that your audience needs. We’ve pulled together research insights from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2024 Technology Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report and Foundry’s Buyer’s Journey Research to look at what IT decision-makers truly need throughout the purchase process and what tech marketers currently create and have on their radar.

The good news is that 91% of ITDMs are willing to register for content from a technology vendor throughout the purchase process. However, 91% also say it’s challenging to find high-quality content, mostly due to lack of truly independent, unbiased information, too much marketing hype/buzzwords, and that the information is too general. Find out where and how you can improve your content marketing tactics in our Tech Marketer’s Report Card.

Brand awareness

When done successfully, content marketing has the power to enhance brand awareness and credibility. Respondents to the tech content marketing report say they used content marketing in the last 12 months to create brand awareness (85%), educate audiences (81%), generate demand/leads (80%), and build/grow credibility/trust (78%).

From our buyer’s journey research, we know that awareness and trust are key to ITDMs interacting with a vendor. Close to ¾ (73%) of ITDMs say that when a technology brand is known and trusted it increases the likelihood that they will be added to the short list, and 65% typically spend more time consuming content from known and trusted brands. Looking at content types, higher brand awareness influences ITDMs’ decision to engage with product reviews (68%), case studies (49%), third-party market research (44%), and technology related videos (44%).

IT decision-makers value known and trusted brands

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Final grade – A

Technology marketers understand the importance of brand awareness and trust throughout the technology purchase process. Putting your brand in areas where tech decision-makers are, i.e. technology content sites and events, as well as being knowledgeable about their business, will position tech marketers for success.

Tailored content

Disconnect arises around tailored content. The majority (96%) of technology decision-makers are interested in custom-tailored content, based on industry, technology platform(s) already installed at their organization, and company size. Despite this, only 67% of technology marketers prioritize their audience’s informational needs over the organization’s when creating content, and only 58% of say that they craft content based on specific stages of the buyer’s journey.

However, of the 30% of tech marketers who rate their organization’s overall content marketing strategy as extremely/very successful, these actions increase. Three-quarters of these “top performers” craft content based on specific stages of the buyer’s journey, and 87% prioritize the audience’s informational needs over the organization’s when creating content. This proves that their success is not a coincidence – they are listening to their audience and creating content that they require to make educated purchase decisions.

Tailored content disconnect

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Final grade – C+

There is room for improvement regarding tailored content that tech marketers produce. The majority of ITDMs seek this information, however only 2/3 of tech marketers are successful in this area. In fact, 67% say that creating content that appeals to different stages of the buyer’s journey is one of their biggest challenges. Be sure to understand where your customers are in the buyer’s journey, their challenges, and business goals in order to create content that will appeal to them.

Content types

From our Customer Engagement research, we know that ITDMs will respond to vendor outreach when valuable content is shared with them – whether it be the content topic or format. The content types that IT practitioners rely on the most throughout the purchase process are product testing/reviews/opinions (49%), product demo/product literature (44%), technology news (43%), vendor presentations (41%), and analyst research (35%). When it comes to where ITDMs turn to for their information, the top sources are tech content sites, white papers, webcasts/webinars, technology vendors (via vendor website), and online communities, discussion forums.

CMI’s research tells us that tech marketers use a mix of content types to interact with customers – short articles/posts (94%), case studies (89%), videos (of any length/format) (87%), e-books/white papers (83%), virtual events/webinars/online courses (81%) long articles (78%), infographics (62%), in-person events (62%), research reports (42%), podcasts (40%). Marketers are seeing the best results with research reports, virtual events/webinars/online courses, in-person events, and e-books/white papers.

Additionally, top areas of investment for technology marketers for 2023 are video (84%), events (in-person, digital and hybrid) (74%), and owned-media assets (73%). This is on par with how tech decision-makers expect to educate themselves this upcoming year. More than 2/3 of ITDMs agree that given the ease of attending, virtual events will continue to be an important source of information and 58% are more likely to attend in-person industry events in the next year. Tech decision-makers also greatly rely on video (94%), in the format of in-depth product reviews, technology news reports, industry research/tech analyst reports.

Content types that IT decision-makers rely on

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Final Grade – B+

Regarding the formats of content that tech marketers are focused on for their audience, they are pretty in line with what tech decision-makers are looking for, however could be a bit more specific. For example, rather than just investing in “video”, look at the formats that ITDMs are most likely to watch such as in-depth product reviews, tech news reports, industry research, and how-to videos. Overall, tech marketers should continue to invest in the content that they are seeing the most success with, while focusing on tech reviews, demos and news.

Final Notes

Relevant content is essential – 74% of ITDMs are more likely to consider an IT vendor who educates them through each stage of the decision process and 72% say that if a vendor does not supply them with educational content, it negatively impacts their impression. We hope you’re able to build out a successful content marketing strategy with the above insights provided. For additional assistance, partner with Foundry’s network of award-winning editorial brands to efficiently reach in-market buying teams through our BrandHub program.