Making Good Content for BDMs and TDMs: 6 Key Differences

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Market segmentation is nothing new, and in B2B content creation there’s always been a great deal of sense in tweaking the message for its intended audience to make it resonate as simply and meaningfully as possible. In the world of IT marketing though, the complex nature of giant enterprises and the often blurred lines between sales, marketing, and business development, has meant that marketers need to think a bit smarter about how they write their content. Particularly when we consider the potential nuances between Business Decision Makers (BDMs) and Technology Decision Makers (TDMs).

Today’s content consumption trends

When it comes the content that ITDMs like to hear about, nearly ¾ of those surveyed in IDG’s 2021 Customer Engagement Study said that they are much more likely to consider a vendor that educates them adequately at each stage of the buyer journey. That’s been a constant for some years, but the pandemic has seen some more notable shifts in the way B2B content is consumed.

Other findings from that survey show:

  • During the pandemic 49% are increasing the amount of time they read online and 48% are increasing the amount of time they watch online videos.
  • On average, ITDMs want to be contacted within 19 hours after filling out a contact form.
  • Tech buyers have different standards when it comes to emerging versus well-established vendors. When introducing a new product or service, emerging vendors are evaluated based on their proof of concept and case studies, while well-established vendors should provide detailed product information.
  • Virtual events: 91% have attended an industry or job-related virtual event in the past 6-12 months

Reaching the right people

For many ITDMs, product demos/explainers and high-level benefits content are one of the most universally important types of content, with 83% saying they relied on these during the buying process. Yet only a very low 26% of marketers are focusing on providing those types of content. Those particular IDG findings are a few years old now, but more than 80% said it was a real challenge to locate enough high-quality information when they’re trying to make a buying decision.

So, it’s clear that in the world of IT decision making, marketers must adapt messaging to two key target job types – the Business Decision Maker (BDM), concerned with immediate benefits and cost-savings, perhaps needing to understand a little more about the overall sell; and the Technology Decision Maker (TDM), more aligned with depth of detail, longer term benefits and its relationship to other systems and processes from a technical level.

6 things to remember when creating targeted ITDM content

1: Use terms that resonate – Try to be consistent in the way you write content. Generally, BDMs don’t mind if you continue to use the same term to describe something – it means there’s little room for misinterpretation. With a TDM the same rule can apply, but the more technical you go you’ll find there’s often more than one way to describe a process, and things tend to be open to a more ways of interpreting the finer points of technical language.

2: Jargon and side points – Jargon is misplaced in BDM content, be clear and concise with to-the-point phrases. Line of business decision makers don’t want to be looking terms up or fall into a rabbit hole of acronyms. Equally, be careful on related side points away from the central message, product or service you are talking about. Generally, TDMs are far more likely to dip in and out of related things as their jobs may encompass a variety of technologies and responsibilities. BDMs are looking for the content that answers their need – right there and then!

3: Outcomes vs. Capabilities – Both BDMs and TDMs are conscious of marketing messaging that speaks strongly about the outcomes and capabilities of a product or service… but their motivations and job responsibilities differ, so write for them accordingly. BDMs respond well to the ‘why’ messages that talk about overall gains, cost savings, modernization, business agility and automation. TDMs will tend to focus on the ‘how’ as well as the ‘why’, particularly around the immediate benefits of a product or service that helps dev teams and other IT areas.

4: The right call to actions – Think carefully about the action you want a decision maker to take. Ultimately, it’s to speak to sales, but the steppingstones there can be more subtle. Does the BDM need more information if they asset they are on is top of funnel? Does the TDM need to log into a management console/client area to see the full range of options?

5: Style documents appropriately – More of a visual treatment than wording. BDMs tend to respond well to cleaner, more spaced out content with less blocks of heavy text. Time is short in the BDM’s daily routine, but a TDM may be prepared to put more time aside to look through a longer and more tightly packed technical piece with things like reference architecture diagrams.

6: The right channels – Remember, when you’ve crafted your content different decision maker levels tend to use different channels to consume it. Video, infographics, and shorter written pieces sit well with BDMs and they are very active on channels like LinkedIn, attend webinars etc – often promoted through an email marketing campaign. The TDM is more likely to discover content on resources pages, browse sector-focused websites and forums.

At TBT Marketing we live and breathe the full gamut of marketing messaging and know how to get to the heart of what an IT decision maker really wants to hear and respond to. If you need guidance on how to get the best from your next targeted campaign, give us a call on +44 (0)1373 469270 or email us at hello@tbtmarketing.com.

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