How Tech Buyers Consume Content: New Findings from TechTarget

How Tech Buyers Consume Content: New Findings from TechTarget
Stephanie Tilton - Mon Nov 01, 2010 @ 04:16AM
Comments: 62

In October, TechTarget released A Profile of TechTarget’s Hyper-active IT Researchers, a report providing insight into the media consumption habits of the media publisher’s most active users. These users are the folks conducting research about technology products and services they might purchase. TechTarget sent a survey to its most active users (those in the top 30%), and 1,765 submitted their answers. TechTarget followed up with select interviews of a subset of the respondents.

The research highlights that these hyper-active researchers:

  • Are constantly hunting for and gathering information
  • Agree that content is most relevant to them as it relates to their place in the buying cycle
  • Average 5-20 activities per day when in research mode, including reading articles/visiting pages on websites, downloading content from vendors, clicking email newsletter links, etc.
  • Will download and catalog information they may not get to for a while but know they will need in a later stage
  • Are often researching on behalf of others within their companies
  • Consume white papers throughout the buying process, and turn to vendor comparisons and trial software in later stages
  • Spend a majority of the research process in the consideration stage
  • Are most receptive to completing a registration form in exchange for content during the consideration and decision stages

TechTarget - hyperactive researchers

According to TechTarget, one of the key takeaways from the research is that “It not only validates the continued need to map your online content to match stages, but the necessity to have all stage-related material ready simultaneously should your sponsorship of it intersect with the “ravenous appetite” of this target audience. The reality is that if your content is not available for them to proactively download and/or store away then whoever’s is will be chosen for the “grand catalogues” of information that these buyers are constantly building and referring to along their purchase paths.”

This insight is critical as marketers plan their content strategy. They must acknowledge that it’s not sufficient to produce content in a piecemeal fashion. Instead, they need to develop content that addresses concerns and questions at each stage of the buying cycle and make it available simultaneously. Startups in particular should take note, as they are often so eager to get to market that they launch without all necessary content in place.

Just as important, the findings underscore the need to be aware of the content that prospects have downloaded. Otherwise lead nurturing efforts can fall flat as marketers try to offer content/information that the prospective buyer has already stored away.

Stay tuned for my next post featuring an interview with Marilou Barsam, Senior Vice President of Client and Corporate Marketing for TechTarget. She’ll share further insights from TechTarget’s interviews with the participants in the survey.

In the meantime, feel free to download the report along with presentations from TechTarget's Online ROI Summit, covering the report findings and more.

About the author: Stephanie Tilton is a content marketing consultant who helps B2B companies craft content that nurtures leads and advances the buying cycle. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on SavvyB2B.

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Comments: 62


1. Doug Kessler – B2B Velocity  |  my website   |   Mon Nov 01, 2010 @ 05:09AM

Nice one. We focus on tech markets and our experience definitely supports these findings. Tech buyers are natural web searchers, content consumers and self-educators. Not feeding them the goodies they need is a sin against the Gods of B2B.

2. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Mon Nov 01, 2010 @ 05:26AM

You said it, Doug! With these insights, marketers can strike the perfect balance of content creation/promotion, registration, and lead nurturing. My interview with Marilou will provide more detail around those issues. Thanks for stopping by!

3. Dennis Moons  |  my website   |   Mon Nov 01, 2010 @ 07:01AM

Very interesting insights!

But those hyper-active researchers only represent 30%. And since they are already looking for information online, it will be fairly easy for your content to get 'found'.

Although my company sells B2B software, I find it hard to find IT buyers that are that active. They are used to email newsletters and pdf manuals. But blogs and whitepapers are still a very new thing to them.

Not sure about the percentages within our industry but I guess there are more than those 70% of passive researchers.

Would you say this has to do with the maturity of the industry or do they just use the internet in a different way?

4. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Mon Nov 01, 2010 @ 08:59AM

Hi Dennis -
The 30% represents the most active researchers in the TechTarget network; the other 70% are still active but not performing as many activities on a daily basis. This likely means the 30% are much more pressed to make a technology purchase than the 70%. While it certainly helps the case of getting found when researchers are actively seeking information, marketers still need to be in tune with what search terms researchers are using, and what information they're seeking at each stage of the buying cycle.

It's interesting that you're not seeing much demand for white papers. A few tech-focused studies have found that white papers are sought by technology buyers (see the first two links under 'Related Posts' above). I visited the link you provided but can't tell what company you work for/industry you're in so it's hard to answer your question.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

5. Ericka Wilcher  |  my website   |   Wed Nov 03, 2010 @ 05:14AM

Great info here Stephanie - an idea for follow-up would be a mapping study. Would love to know if the content marketers choose for various buying cyles maps to what tech buyers consider relevant info in those same cycles. Interested to see how on or off target we marketers can helpful it would be to get everyone on the same page. Thanks for the post!

6. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Thu Nov 04, 2010 @ 02:27AM

Ericka - Glad you found value in this post! A few companies - including TechTarget - have researched the mapping issue. Here are some resources:

TechTarget's 2009 Media Consumption Benchmark Report 2: Closing the Gap between IT Buyers and IT Marketers -- This report charts the differences and similarities in the usage of online content types and information sources during the buying process between IT buyers and marketers. You can access it from this URL (scroll down to the Technology Marketing Reports section): Note the chart on page 4.

You may also be interested in this DemandGen Report: Where Marketers Are Missing The Mark With Buyers -

Just yesterday, I came across the following posted by Sherbrooke Balser in the Tech Marketing Best Practices group on LinkedIn: "UBM TechWeb is launching new research next month on what type of content IT Buyers use and think about both vendor supplied content and 3rd party content from information sources like InformationWeek. I will post for everyone to review." Here's a link to TechWeb's research page:


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