This session focussing on online content at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit was presented by Bill Crowley, VP, Group Publisher, Data Center Media, TechTarget.
The core of this presentation: most technical buyers information needs change over the buying process. What is the buying process? The old AID(A) model is useful as a starting point here. To recap:
- Awareness: when buyers needs to figure out what the industry is and how it relates to them
- Interest: really getting into details about how the product/service can help you
- Decision: finally… evaluating different vendors to decide on the most suitable
- (Action:) making the sale
The last point is in parentheses as it is not so important for this discussion as there is generally little marketing collateral involved at this stage.
The point Bill makes is that most marketers don’t produce content for the different stages of the buying cycle. The few marketers that do concentrate on this stand to make considerable gains. According to their research on which documents are most popular, those that do speak to a given segment in the buying cycle tend to perform the best.
So, given that you probably have limited resources and can’t produce documentation across all stages of the buying cycle, where should you focus your efforts? This largely depends on externalities: what is the market, and where do you fit in? There’s a large difference between new and old markets. In a mature market, you have a sophisticated audience. You can heavily segment this audience and offer very focused content. An emerging market needs more general, informative content.
In terms of content, Bill gives some examples of content that has worked well. For the mature wireless access market: ‘802.11n: Preparing for your Enterprise Wireless Deployment’ (generated 257 leads). For the emerging virtualization and networking market: ‘Virtual Networking Concepts’ (with a clickthrough rate of more than 1%).
OK, if this all sounds great, where should you start? As with many areas of marketing, a good a place as any is with competitive analysis. Look on the TechTarget site for the most popular content in the area you are considering.