Monday, July 16, 2007

B2B IT and Social Media 1: The Buyer Perspective


White paper syndicator ITtoolbox recently completed a study of buying influences in B2B IT purchasing decisions. They asked more than 2,100 IT decision makers about the information sources that were most critical in their buying decisions. Specifically, ITtoolbox wanted to determine how IT decision makers use social media tools (such as blogs, podcasts, discussion groups and wikis) to assist in purchasing decisions. The results are eye-opening.

Among the key findings:
  • Overall, IT decision makers spend more time each week reading or interacting with social media (3.5 hours) than they do with editorial content (2.9 hours) or vendor-produced content (websites, webcasts, white papers, etc. - 2.7 hours).

  • Executive decision makers spend more time on social media each week than other IT buyers or influencers.

  • When conducting research specifically to assist with a buying decision, vendor content is the most referenced source, followed by social media and trade editorial. All three are more frequently referenced than paid analyst research (so...YouTube beats Gartner Group?).

  • However, decision makers trust social media content more than any other source. Vendor content came in second, followed closely by trade media.

  • The primary value of social media is the access it provides to objective feedback on products and services. Smaller numbers of respondents valued social media for interactivity with peers and accurate information about news and trends.

  • Overwhelmingly, IT decision makers and influencers said that social media allowed them to discover more options (a critical point for smaller vendors who lack wide name recognition) for solving business problems, and that it made their research activities more efficient.

  • Need help with your messaging? Among executive decision makers, "enabling innovation that drives competitive advantage" is their top goal for this year. Among all IT decision makers and influencers, efficiency and cost reduction are the top goals, though followed closely by competitive advantage.

  • And some good news for vendors: 60% of respondents across industries said that their IT purchasing budgets are rising this year.

Again, you can download the full study here and also check out a podcast with survey author George Krautzel and blogger extraordinaire Paul Dunay. The survey was co-authored by marketing agency PJA.

*****


The web based marketing portal: WebMarketCentral.com

The only St. Paul-based PR & marketing agency focused exclusively on lead generation and PR strategy for B2B IT companies: KC Associates

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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