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How Research Helps Red Hat Create Collateral that Sells

Posted by Bill Lee on December 4, 2009 at 07:21 AM

Ever wonder how your reference collateral is actually perceived, and used, by the technology purchasers you want to target?  How is this dynamic changing with the rise of social networking? From written case studies to customer testimonial podcasts and videos, reference collateral is a major expense and is undergoing serious transformation. Red Hat's Kathryn Poole and Eccolo Media's Lorie Loe have teamed up to get research based-answers to these questions and more. They'll be presenting at the 2010 Customer Reference Forum on March 2-3. Meanwhile, here are some of the insights they'll be sharing:

White papers are still the most influential collateral to buyers making purchasing decisions (84% said they were moderately to extremely influential), and the most frequently shared (89% had passed a white paper along to others).

 - Video is on the rise. Rapidly!: the number of buyers who watched a video to prepare for making a purchae decision jumped from 28% in 2008 to 49% in 2009.

 - Collateral is highly viral: prospective buyers share it. In addition to the 89% of buyers saying they shared white papers, 85% share case studies, and nearly as many share brochures/ data sheets, podcasts and videos.

 - Digitial is king, but printed collateral stll has a place: 80% of buyers prefer to read written content online rather than printing it out. But that means 20% still prefer old fashioned printed.

 - Quality matters: 51% of buyers said that high-quality writing is either very or extremely influential (another 35% said it as moderately so).  In fact, while objective third party collateral is generally preferred, buyers say they prefer good writing from a vendor over mediocre writing from a third party.

 - Collateral is yoru calling card: A significant majority of tech buyers consume collateral before they issue an RFP or talk to vendors.

 - Decision makers and influcencers: Not surprisingly, decision makers consume more of each type of collateral than influencers, but influencers are big sharers: they pass it on more often and to more people than the DMs.

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