Eccolo media has just published their excellent third consecutive annual report on B2B technology collateral – the results of a survey into how B2B tech buyers consume vendors’ content as they go through technology purchasing decisions. Some of this collateral comprises brochures and technical specs of course, but some of it is thought leadership in the form of white papers and the like.
The Eccolo folks draw a number of interesting conclusions. One of them is that all content is “social content. We know that tech purchasers share content, and that they consider materials forwarded from a personal contact to be very influential. Plan all content and collateral assets from the perspective of stimulating discussion and sharing. Think about interactivity, links to discussion boards and user groups, and point to blog posts and other communications channels in all materials.”
They have hit here on something that few companies are doing well yet – that is using collateral not only to show off their expertise, but to give people who want to pursue a topic further a way to start interacting with the firm and with their peers. Too many white papers are still standalone publications, and the thought leadership sections of websites are collections of articles organized like journals, rather than as go-to destinations for anyone keen to learn about and discuss a topic.
In the days of print publishing, we’d distribute a paper or journal and then hope that someone would be interested enough to call – or we’d call them. Today, if someone is interested to explore a topic further, they can reach your microsite, author, blog or forum with a single click – if you give them the possibility. If you don’t, they’ll just as likely go to Google and find someone who does.