The Marketing Strategist:

Ask ITSMA: Information Preferences for Business vs. IT Buyers

January 26, 2017

  • Ask ITSMA

Each month, ITSMA members use our Ask ITSMA inquiry service to gain insight on essential questions about marketing strategy and tactics for B2B services and solutions. This corner of our blog highlights replies to some of our favorite questions.

Question. In your most recent How Buyers Consume Information study, did you find significant differences in the information preferences or behavior between business and IT buyers?

Answer. Absolutely. We’ve seen important differences in buying behavior between business and IT buyers for years, and marketers should always consider these when developing content and programs to reach both groups.

Our latest study, The Changing Landscape for Customer Engagement, highlights a number of differences in information preferences. Here are three of the most notable:

  • Reliance on peers in the early stages of the buying process. Business buyers are significantly more likely to turn to peers as one of their first three sources of information when they begin their solution research (see figure). Business VPs, in particular, are tuned in to their peers and colleagues.
  • Likelihood to respond to outbound marketing. IT buyers are more inclined to respond to solution provider phone calls, emails, online ads, and social media posts than are the business buyers. This is especially true of CIOs!
  • Solution provider selection criteria. There is a nuance here that is important to understand. Business buyers are looking for solution providers that demonstrate a deep understanding of their industry. On the other hand, IT buyers are looking for solution providers that exhibit an understanding of their unique business issues.

Information Preferences Ask ITSMA January 2017

Check out the full study for more information. Based on an extensive survey with more than 400 buyers of high value solutions, our study provides essential data, insight, and recommendations on such issues as top information preferences and sources at different stages of the buying process, the importance of thought leadership, and the most helpful types of information after the sale.

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