B2B Collateral Survey: Embedded Video Taking Center Stage as Influential Marketing Trend

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Technology decision makers say white papers are still the most influential in purchasing decisions -- especially those that include interactive elements.

although digital content is important, we’re finding that traditional printed collateral is holding its own quite well

Technology buyers and those who influence them are turning to tried-and-true traditional collateral when making purchasing decisions, but say those including interactive elements such as embedded video carry more weight in the decision-making process, according to the Eccolo Media 2010 B2B Technology Collateral Survey of American businesses.

Commissioned by San Francisco marketing communications agency Eccolo Media, Inc., the survey of 500 technology-purchasing decision makers and influencers also found that sales materials of any kind – white papers, case studies, podcasts, videos, product brochures and data sheets – are consistently and overwhelmingly obtained by browsing vendors’ corporate Web sites, making the availability of downloadable collateral – and the merchandising of the corporate sites that host them -- a vital part of the marketing mix.

Among the findings of the 2010 survey:    

  •     Embedding interactive files in written collateral is important: Eighty percent of respondents who viewed written collateral with embedded audio or video files stated that they were “positively” or “very positively” influenced by their inclusion in the materials.
  •     Video is influential: More than half (59%) of respondents said they had watched a vendor’s video while considering a technology purchase, up 17 percent from 2009. Respondents consumed video product tutorials / demos by a wide margin over other types of video collateral (76 percent of respondents viewed one). Vendor marketing videos were the next most commonly viewed type of video marketing collateral (61 percent) followed by customer testimonials (37 percent) and on-demand webinars (33 percent).
  •     White papers continue to dominate: Seventy-six percent of respondents said they’d read at least one white paper in the last six months, with 83 percent of them rating white papers as moderately to extremely influential when making technology-purchasing decisions.
  •     Quality counts: When respondents were asked what would disappoint most when reading a white paper, the number one answer was a poorly written content.

“We discovered some ongoing trends—and some surprises – in this year’s survey,” said Lorie Loe, President and Chief Content Strategist of Eccolo Media. “For example, although digital content is important, we’re finding that traditional printed collateral is holding its own quite well as technology purchasers pass around both digital and print versions of white papers, case studies, and brochures.

“But we feel the most important take-away from this year’s survey is the data around embedding multimedia files into white papers, case studies and other written collateral,” Loe said. “Marketers need to understand that written assets without interactive elements are going to appear flat and old-fashioned, and that interactive collateral will become the price of entry.”

The fresh data on embedding interactive elements like video in traditional documents was welcome news to industry leader Adobe Systems Inc., whose products enable people to create compelling, portable and interactive documents.. “This data further validates our belief that communications tools are going through a mash up, much like Software as a Service (SaaS)-based applications have in the last few years,” said Mark Grilli, Director of Product Marketing, Acrobat Solutions from Adobe Systems. “Document applications that support the delivery of richer, more compelling content and experiences in one document exchange will be critical to marketers as this trend develops.”

A free copy of the survey report is available for download at here.

This is the third year Eccolo Media, Inc. has surveyed U.S. technology executives seeking input on their preferred collateral types, how they used content, if they share it, and just how influential it was on their final technology purchase. The Eccolo Media 2010 B2B Technology Collateral Survey compiled results from 500 respondents, of whom 58% identified themselves as technology-purchase decision makers.

Respondent titles included C-level executives, vice presidents (VPs), managers, directors, developers/programmers, and technicians. All worked for U.S.-based companies. All were responsible for either making B2B technology purchases or influencing purchasing decisions. Only respondents who indicated that they had participated in a technology purchase in the last six months were included in the survey results.

Eccolo worked with survey specialists at Global Marketing Insite, Inc. (GMI), a leading global market research firm, to identify and manage participants. GMI distributed the online survey in June 2010 and provided the results as raw data to Eccolo for analysis.

Eccolo Media specializes in strategic marketing insight and content development for some of the world’s best-known technology companies. An agency of exceptional writers, Eccolo combines deep experience with ongoing research to identify and apply best practices for producing remarkable content. The agency helps align clients’ marketing needs with their key business goals by bringing a proactive, innovative approach to the planning and execution of collateral in both traditional and new media channels. Launched in 2007, Eccolo Media is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and fulfills a wide range of project needs throughout the Americas and EMEA. Visit our Web site at http://www.eccolomedia.com.

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