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Research suggests Tech PRs play a role in IT buying decisions – who knew?

Content developed or touched by technology PRs often has a role in influencing B2B IT buying decisions according to a study by IDG. That’s encouraging given that plenty of commentators have been disparaging about the future of PR.

According to IDG’s 2016 Customer Engagement research, more than 7 out of 10 B2B IT decision makers rely on content such as tech news (77%), how-to content/information (74%), case studies (74%), and analyst research (73%) at some point in the purchase process. This is all stuff that’s usually touched by technology PR teams in some way – whether they’re actually creating the conteTechnology PR impacts IT buyingnt or sending background to journalists or analysts.

The report, which is based on a survey of 1,000 IT decision-makers, also highlights the need for tech marketers and their PR teams to cut the puff and self-promotion from the content they churn out: the most common reasons buyers give for not trusting marketing content is too much “hype/empty buzzwords” and “lack of truly independent, unbiased information.”

Over a third also said they don’t like content that’s too general. And many avoid downloading material because they don’t want the sales follow up calls this usually triggers.

Other interesting findings of the IDG study include:

*Technology buyers download an average of six pieces of content before making a decision.

*The most-useful content cited by nearly every type of buyer was reviews and independent validation (which IDG suggests points to the importance of research reports by independent analysts and reprints of published reviews and original case studies)

*90% of tech buyers say they use some type of video content to educate themselves during the purchase process

There are plenty of cynics out there who doubt whether PR delivers any value.  And I know that most clients and journalists can quote examples of bad experiences they’ve had with PR people. So it’s good to find some research that indicates the positive impact PR can have.

For more insights about the best ways that business to business technology companies can get their news and info in front of IT decision makers, check out some research we commissioned previously.