The dark arts of communications often require a light and subtle touch. Overtly pimping out your product in a bylined article is (rightly) seen as rather vulgar. Likewise, a blog you write about a topic should be about the topic, rather than your offering.

That said, your target audience will go looking for your product or service, and when they do, you shouldn’t make it hard for them.

When it comes to IT directors, they go looking in a bunch of different places. But where exactly, and how can you convince them that they’re making the right purchase decisions?

We conducted research to find out how IT directors find out about new products or services. The popularity of internet searches (favoured by 52%) as a method of finding out about new products and services isn’t exactly revelatory, but you’ll still need a viable on and off-site SEO strategyto beat the competition and attract their attention. Perhaps more interesting is the sheer number of IT directors who spend much of their workdays in their inboxes. Indeed, most of those we surveyed use email to find out about new products and services, and when you look at how much time they spend on email, it makes sense.

Over 99% of IT directors are on email every day – and 50% for at least one-two hours – and over half are actively using it to find products and services like yours.

A direct approach through their inbox can be highly effective, especially when tied to a valuable content offer: according to IDG Enterprise, 81% of IT decision makers are struggling to locate high-quality information – and overall, they download 7 pieces of content on average throughout the buying process. Bring them the right stuff at the right time via the right channels and you’ll nudge them further down your marketing funnel.

Everywhere they go, you go 

Important as news media, social media, email, and search are, you want to explore as many potential options as you can when it comes to marketing to IT directors. To stay on top of what’s happening in their industry – and to keep ahead of the competition – they can’t limit themselves to one or even a few channels, and neither can you.

Getting an IT director’s attention means being in as many relevant places as you can at the same time. You need to be in their inbox; have their phone number; show up on their search engine results page; appear at their conferences; make radio ads; feature in newspapers, trade publications and general business media; be listed in supplier directories; and show up in their Twitter feeds. Oh, and 91% still open their own physical mail, so if you want to send something creative like a video card or something uncreative like a pamphlet, that might help too.