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LinkedIn B2B Surveys - Will They be Social?

LinkedIn yesterday announced a new service that enables market researchers and investors to conduct market intelligence research using LinkedIn’s network of over 30 million professionals worldwide, approximately half of whom are IT and business decision makers.The news was quickly picked up by numerous bloggers including Doug Caverly and Bill Holmes (an indication of how adept the PR folks at LinkedIn are with interactive PR).

Essentially, companies that want to conduct market research among difficult-to-reach B2B and IT decision makers will now be able to slice and dice profiles of LinkedIn's large member base to reach groups with very specific attributes. From the participant side, "LinkedIn members who participate in a survey can choose from a variety of rewards including gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks, Best Buy, or make a donation to charities."

This is all good—vendors can get valuable feedback from the right sample groups based on accurate LinkedIn profiles, LinkedIn gets another revenue stream, and participants get token rewards. But it seems to me there may be an opportunity missed here.

People join social networks for lots of reasons, but I've never of anyone joining for the purpose of collecting $10 gift cards or Starbucks coffee coupons. Among the top reasons people join are to get recognition and to form new relationships. Bloggers often join, for example, in order to both drive more traffic to their blogs and to connect with like-minded readers and other bloggers.

So...any company can spend some money on gift cards and use the new LinkedIn offering to collect market research data. But the really smart ones will find a way to tap the motivations of LinkedIn members and create a mutually beneficial social experience that provides not just data, but understanding.


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Ray said…
Linkedin is really a job site isnt it? Linkedin was included into the Top 10 job site list but linkedin is still the only social network on the job site list. The newest 3 job sites on the list are- (professional networking) (aggregated listings) (matches you to the perfect job)

Complete top 10 job site list here:
Tom Pick said…
Thanks Ray. I suspect what's happening is that many people people view LinkedIn as a jobs site (including obviously), the folks at LinkedIn are trying to diversify beyond their current labels.
Layne Salter said…
Well said, Tom. Incentives like cash and gift cards have been standards in the survey business. But I agree that social networking members are likely to respond positively to less tangible rewards.

I started off using LinkedIn as simply professional networking, though have also used it over the years during job searches. But it does seem to finally be rising to the level of an actual social networking site with added functionality, and increasing membership.
Tom Pick said…
I agree Layne. I think Facebook woke up LinkedIn to the fact that new applications are important, so LinkedIn is now scrambling to add those.

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