IDG Communications released a report recently demonstrating how the web site content provided by technology marketers is not relevant to the needs of their customers 50% of the time. The online research conducted last October captured feedback from 400 technologists and business buyers on what they prefer as they move from general education to business case development to final decisions in purchasing products and services.
In other words, as prospects moved through the purchase funnel, they did not find the relevant content they needed to make a decision. (This problem is addressed by Mythology's first pillar of Empowered Marketing: Understanding.)
On average, the report found that six decision-makers from IT, business units and finance were involved in a typical IT product/service purchase. Note how influential each source of information was in their decision-making:
In addition to finding relevant educational and transactional content on a vendor's web site, the decision-makers reported that peer dialogue and independent authority dialogue were major influencers. Are you building this into your marketing engagement plans to assist prospects in making informed, credible decisions?
Tactics such as featuring a blog with guest posts from actual customers, or video clips featuring industry experts speaking about your products are very powerful influencers and are a welcome part of the decision process with customers.
The survey respondents reported that they could find relevant content on IT vendor sites only 42% of the time. The lack of relevant content reduced a vendor's chance of a sale by 45%! In light of this lack of information, decisions often go to the vendor who answered their questions and connected them with peer and expert content.
Your web site is your conversation hub, and a rigorous content management approach is critical to using the web to help move customers down the purchase funnel from Awareness to Purchase...and hopefully over time, Advocacy.