I recently found an interesting survey on marketing collateral for B2B technology vendors. "Eccolo Media 2009 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report".Posted by: David Regler @
There's alot of detail in here about trends, etc but a couple of key points are that white papers are still the most influential form of collateral influencing technology purchasers and that it's "highly viral" in nature.
The last point is very interesting when you consider that the survey found "nearly as many (85 percent) share case studies; 81 percent share brochures/data sheets; 80 percent podcasts; and 79 percent video"
This seems to echo our experience where we often use white-papers, case-studies and "thought-leadership" collateral as a tool to both engage and develop relationships within a prospect organisation.
Indeed, the survey makes it clear that "collateral acts as the 'front door' to the sales process.
Another interesting area is the channel preference: "A download from a direct response campaign was the second most frequently used channel for receiving a white paper, behind the corporate Web site. This implies both the frequency with which the white papers are used as direct response offers, and the respondents' preferences to receive them through this channel"
Just as this survey has seen the use of video rise in last years. I think this is one area where social media marketing will dramatically increase. At the moment it's behind direct response but I definitely see that changing.
After all, I found this piece of collateral via the Inbound Marketers group on LinkedIn.