ITSMA-PAC Survey Finds Opportunity for Companies to Differentiate with Thought-Leadership Marketing

ITSMA’s eighth annual How Customers Choose Survey finds that companies that understand IT buyers’ specific business issues and use thought leadership to market to those issues have an advantage over competitors.
Nov. 16, 2009 - PRLog -- LEXINGTON, Massachusetts -- New research from ITSMA and Pierre Audoin Consulting (PAC) shows that if technology solution providers want to stand out from their competitors, they should get to know IT buyers’ particular business issues. “A strong reputation and proven track record are table stakes. Today, buyers expect you to know and understand their unique business issues,” says Julie Schwartz, senior vice president of research and thought leadership for ITSMA.

Yet just 16% say that their providers are very helpful in showing them the possibilities to solve their business challenges. And just slightly more than 50% of buyers say that providers’ thought leadership marketing is helpful in this regard. “Most buyers are going out and doing their own research rather than waiting for providers to approach them,” says Schwartz. “Companies that invest in understanding buyers’ business issues and creating good thought leadership around those issues have a tremendous opportunity to differentiate themselves.”

But most companies have not yet invested enough in understanding customers’ business issues. “Over the past few years, many technology solution providers have been investing to expand their industry expertise, but they still have a long way to go to grasp the real business issues of end users,” says Olivier Nguyen Van Tan, managing director of PAC’s New York branch.

No single marketing tactic stands out as being more effective than others to buyers today. Yet thought leadership-based tactics such as e-newsletters, Webinars, and in-person seminars all cluster near the top, whereas more traditional marketing tactics such as brochures, telemarketing, and hospitality events all occupy the bottom of the list. “There is no silver-bullet marketing tactic,” says Schwartz. “You need a combination of on- and off-line channels to create demand and generate and nurture leads.”


ITSMA and PAC interviewed 355 senior IT and business decision makers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Brazil. The majority of respondents hold director, vice president, or C-level positions and represent organizations with revenue or operating budgets ranging from $200 million to over $20 billion in eight major industries:

- Business services
- Communications
- Energy/utilities
- Financial services
- Healthcare
- Manufacturing
- Public sector
- Retail trade

Respondents qualified for inclusion based on their involvement in purchasing major business or technology solutions, defined as “combinations of hardware, software, and IT services plus intellectual property that solve a business problem and are valued at $500,000 or more.”

For more information on the study, please see:

Questions? Contact Julie Schwartz at +1-781-862-8500, ext. 112, or at

For general inquiries please contact:
Pamela O’Rourke at +1-781-862-8500, ext. 136, or at

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ITSMA provides research, consulting, and training to the world’s leading technology, communications, and professional services providers.
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