Purchasing agents in the technology industry have long been accustomed to being educated on the latest version of a product or service before they sign on the dotted line. The industry standard for the educational process has 444353_changing_offset_platestypically been the white paper.  Eccolo Media, in its recent B2B Technology Collateral Survey, reports that decision makers read white papers even before they issue an RFP (request for proposal).

The importance of white papers to the industry is indicated by the following findings:

  • 77% of surveyed tech purchase decision makers  read white papers and nearly 2/3’s want to see a paper between 4-6 pages long
  • 84% say white papers are important in the purchase decision
  • 89% of purchase decision makers share white papers
  • 51% of purchase decision makers say high-quality writing is key

But lately, managers tasked with purchasing decisions are turning to a variety of collateral as they design specifications for an RFP and then move through the purchase process:

  • Product brochures/data sheets 78%
  • Videos 49%
  • Podcasts/audio files 32%
  • Case Studies/success stories 69%
  • White papers 77%

Analysts point out that the selection of video as a form of collateral nearly doubled between 2008 and 2009. This significant jump, for now, appears to be limited to decision makers at large firms. Results indicate that up to 90% of decision makers at small companies prefer traditional printed brochures but this preference may change as video becomes more ubiquitous.

[Source: Eccolo Media 2009 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report, 2009]