Every year, Eccolo Media conducts a survey to discover emerging trends in the developing, and always changing, marketing and communications industries. The most recent survey results suggest that the greater variety of marketing collateral options has led to a significant change in influence trends.
The 501 respondents who participated in Eccolo Media’s 2011 survey have worked or currently work for a U.S. – based company where they are responsible for making technology purchases or influencing purchasing decisions. Respondents range from C-level executives and vice presidents to managers and technicians. Here is a brief summary of the survey’s findings:
Primary Information Sources
In the past, white papers, case studies, product brochures and data sheets have been the primary information sources for the “decision makers” and “influencers” of the business world. Although this still holds true, Eccolo’s survey results show that company websites, e-books, social media, blogs and presentations have emerged as popular forms of consumption as well. While it is true that the consumption of traditional marketing collateral has decreased due to the wider array of information sources, the influence of these assets has actually increased. In fact, the survey suggests that people are more influenced by white papers, case studies, product brochures and data sheets than they are by new media outlets.
Though new media outlets were found less influential, the survey suggests that the opportunity for social media sharing can have a positive impact on collateral significance. Respondents claimed that if given the option to share collateral via Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, the collateral itself would be more influential. The survey also showed that consuming content via mobile devices and smart phones is on the rise, although desktop computers maintain the leading device to consume marketing materials.
In addition, embedded audio and video files have started gaining traction. Over 80% of respondents reported that including embeds in written collateral highly increases the documents’ influence.
Despite the emergence of these new collateral types and channels, a company’s website and/or contact person remain the dominant sources for collateral access by prospective customers and consumers.
So what can be taken away from the survey’s results? Here are some key points:
1. Continue to invest in traditional collateral sources
2. Add a social media “share” button to your collateral
3. Optimize your assets for mobile devices
4. Embed audio and video files into your PDFs
5. Maintain your corporate website
Content marketing has become the main method of communication for technology industry businesses. It is important for businesses to recognize these shifts in media consumption practices and evolve their asset portfolio accordingly. But no matter what type of product a company develops or dissemination channel a company engages, respondents will always be influenced most by strong and valuable content.