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The Social Bridge to the IT Committee Australian Research
 

The Social Bridge to the IT Committee Australian Research

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To learn how social media can build relationships, foster trust, and drive business with the IT Committee, LinkedIn partnered with comScore, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Mashwork and found that ...

To learn how social media can build relationships, foster trust, and drive business with the IT Committee, LinkedIn partnered with comScore, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Mashwork and found that traditional lead generation methods are no longer effective. View this new research from Australia.

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  • We are going to share some insights from our latest research, The Social Bridge to the IT Committee, which is about how you can leverage content on social media to better connect and build relationships with IT buyers.
  • Now we all know that when it comes the purchase process, the buyer is in control.  Social and digital media gives them instant access to information and feedback, and they are self-diagnosing their own solutions.  In fact, studies show that they are 60% through the process before they reach out to a brand.And that is what we’d like to address today. How can you as marketers get in front of and influence these buyers before they are ready to engage with a technology vendor.http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/content/digital-evolution/pdf/Digital-Evolution-in-B2B-Marketing.pdf
  • Because if you don’t develop a relationship with the buyer earlier in the process, you risk being left on the sidelines.The implications for not engaging early include:less exposure to client projectsa decrease in lead potential, andthe risk of not being considered a true partner and thought leader
  • Now more than ever, tech marketers have an opportunity to use social media to bridge the gap and build relationships
  • So, why it is critical to foster long-term relationships?
  • Traditionally, when people think of those who influence B2B tech purchasing, they are typically described as being within the IT department or being very senior at their company.What we found was that these influencers extend beyond IT. In fact 45% work outside of IT in departments like Finance, Sales and FacilitiesWe also saw that seniority went across the board. Half identified as being either an individual contributor or manager.As marketers, you must think holistically about all of the decision makers that can impact a tech purchase because there are a broad set of functions and seniority levels that make up this IT Committee.
  • To better understand what this IT Committee is thinking, we partnered with comScore, a leader in digital measurement with expertise in the tech space, and they conducted a survey on our behalf. The survey takers did not know that LinkedIn sponsored the research, nor did they even have to use social media to participate. The findings represent the IT Committee across Australia.To listen to what they are saying, we partnered with Starcom MediaVest Group and Mashwork. SMG is of course one of the top agencies in the world. Mashwork is a social media insights firm that used text analytics to listen to tech conversations to understand the differences in content and conversations between senior and junior decision makers.Finally, we looked within LinkedIn’s own data to understand how they engage with content.
  • Nearly all of the IT Committee uses social media for business purposes. With 90% telling us they use it for business thisyear, social media has become a de facto platform for the IT Committee.Q10. How frequently do you visit each of the following social networks for information specific to your work or business?
  • How did social become a de facto platform for the IT Committee? The answer is TERA. Trust, Efficiency, Relevancy and Access. When making purchase decisions, they turn to social media because they trust their peers, they can find information efficiently, social provides a relevant context to connect with vendors and they have access to a broader network. Social media has enabled peer validation at scale, and this is how they communicate, debate, and decide on IT purchases.To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about [the following networks], as they relate to your role in the IT decision-making process? - % agree
  • TERA drives utilization throughout the entire decision making process. Starting with discovering and generating awareness of products and solutions. Scoping business needs. Project planning. All the way through to selecting a vendor and implementing the technology, the influence of social media is high and it’s grown year-over-year.Q5. Which of the following information channels influence your discovery of technologies, products, and solutions to address your business needs? Q6. When you identify or scope business needs for an IT initiative, which of the following information channels influence your decision-making process? Q7. When you craft project plans or formal business requirements for an IT initiative, which of the following information channels influence your decision-making process? Q8. When you select vendors/third party service providers or authorize funding for an IT purchase, which of the following information channels influence your decision-making process? Q9. When you implement or roll out an IT initiative, which of the following information channels influence your decision-making process?
  • Social isn’t just about connecting with peers. This hard to reach audience is open and receptive to hearing from vendors on social networks. 6 in 10 said they are open to connecting with a new vendor social. Three-quarters said they are ready to have a conversation with a new vendor on social.You’ve all heard the mantra that people want to have companies and brands to be in the conversation. It used to be only some people wanted it, but today it’s an expectation. Those who haven’t gotten in the conversation are going to be left on the sidelines.Why are they open to talking to a prospective company on a social platform? Because inherently the engagement there is more about the person and less about the company. It’s about discussing and consuming content. It is very much about the value they are getting because they can control who they engage with on social much more than on other platforms.Q26. Which of the following factors would prevent you from connecting with a potential vendor on any social network?
  • The IT Committee has a good idea of who they want to work with, so having a strong relationship means you are more likely to be top of mind.This is important because they only consider 3 vendors on average and 93% purchased from a vendor that made the shortlist. They also stick with what they know. Only 1 in 5 purchased from a vendor they had never work with before.Many of you may not have a problem making the shortlist, but sometimes finding yourself not closing the deal. The same rules still apply. You need to strengthen your relationship to guard against competitors and unseat that incumbent.Q32. Had you previously purchased from ?Q30. Before you decided to work with , how many companies made your short list for consideration? - MedianQ33. Was one of the brands you had originally considered?
  • With so few willing to try a new vendor, it begs the question. How do you make the short list if you are a new vendor?
  • The IT Committee doesn’t want to be sold to. We asked them for reasons why they wouldn’t connect to a vendor on social and the number one reason they told us was that they didn’t want to receive a lot of marketing materials. As we look at the other reasons why they wouldn't connect with a vendor, it’s clear they are looking for an authentic conversation. Other reasons for not connecting include, the vendor talks too much about themselves, they don’t believe the vendor would provide credible information, they aren’t considered thought leaders or none of their peers are followingStatic editorial calendars or always locking your valuable insights behind lead forms, can actually turn off this audience on social. They are looking for vendors who can help them think strategically about solutions to their challenges, and the best way to do that is with the right kind of content.Q26. Which of the following factors would prevent you from connecting with a potential vendor on any social network?
  • As you think about building relationships with this audience, it will be critical to engage them with content that is authentic, that is valuable, that is timely.
  • We asked them what information they seek at each stage of their decision journey. Not just what they are looking for on social media, but what they look for in general. As you might expect, needs differ by stage. As they begin their journey, they want to see what’s new. They then as they progress through their journey, they want to shift to news to help with strategySo let’s look at the type of content that is actually getting engagement.Q4. What type of information do you generally seek for each of the phases of IT decision-making that you are involved? Awareness - Discover technologies, products, and solutions to address your business needsScope - Identify or scope business needs for a new IT initiativePlan - Craft project plans and formal business requirements for the new initiativeSelect - Select vendors or third party service providers, authorize funding, and/or approve the purchaseImplement/Roll out - Implement the project, roll out the solution, and/or validate outcome
  • Early in the process they are interested in product news. And when this article was shared on LinkedIn , about 3200 IT Decision Makers engaged with it. That is they Liked, Clicked, Commented or Shared it.What we also learned was that Senior Decisions makers, by that I mean those whose title is Director or higher, that group is 2X more likely to have engaged with product or industry news than those more junior. Those at a manger level or below.And when it came to the type of news, junior decision makers were more likely to focus at a product level (reference quote), while senior decision makers talked more at an industry level (reference quote).
  • Senior decision makers were 11.5X more likely to have engaged with thought leadership content.One of the ways that people are consuming thought leadership on LinkedIn is through our Influencer program. This particular post from the CEO of GE about connecting minds and machines to drive efficiency, this generated engagement from over 1300 IT Decision Makers.And when you look at the comments that this post got, half of them generated their own engagement. Half of the comments generated their own likes and comments. Not only are members engaging with and learning from Jeff, they are talking amongst themselves and learning from each other.(In total 15.5k views, 1,085 inShares, 182 Likes, 53 Comments)
  • As the IT Committee moves towards the middle and end of their decision journey, they are looking for is news and strategy information. They become more technical, more tactical, and they are looking for best practices to help them implement and troubleshoot. And junior decision makers are more likely to engage with this type of content. Here is an example of a member of a tech group posting this article about leveraging analytics in the telecom space.The IT Committee have busy, difficult jobs. There is much more aspirational content, leadership content, functional role content that they are engaging with that you should be considering sharing as well. A vendor who shares and engages them on multiple topics to meet their diverse needs, earns more interest than the vendor who only talks about themselves!
  • Traditional lead generation like cold calling and gating content with lead forms is and should continue to be an important way to generate leads. But social is different. At its core, Social is about discussion. It’s about open information. And you have to earn leads through valuable content.That doesn’t mean you can’t gate content behind lead forms. You just need to be very smart about how you do it so that you are not inhibiting the inherent value that social provides. If you are providing a lot of good information, but everything has a gate around it, people are going to stop engaging with your brand. However if you are continuing a conversation with someone and occasionally ask for a lead, that’s fine. That’s the sweet spot and you have earned that lead by providing value. You are finding the points in time when they raise their hand and say, yes I want to talk to you further.
  • In our survey, we asked the IT Committee to tell us the types of engagement they had with a vendor prior to purchase. Not the number of times, but the different types. As you can see along the bottom, we classified them into one of two categories of engagement on LinkedIn. Either they did not engage with the vendor at all on LinkedIn or they had 2+ types. They could have read a post from the vendor, joined a group discussion or followed the vendor, but they had to do at least two.We also looked at the ways they engaged with the vendor directly. Meeting in person, getting a demo, attending a webinar or doing a live chat. What you see is a strong positive correlation between engagement on LinkedIn and direct vendor access.To summarize further, your likelihood of getting a meeting with the IT Committee increases as you engage with them on LinkedIn.
  • Now, using the same groupings where we look at those who didn’t engage with their vendor on LinkedIn versus who did in 2 or more ways, we see a fairly large increase in NPS.If you are not familiar with Net Promoter Score, it’s based off the question of how likely you are to recommend a brand.  The metric allows companies to track promoters and detractors, producing a clear measure of an organization's performance through its customers' eyes. As it approaches 100, the more likely the brand is to have created loyal enthusiasts who keep buying and urge their friends and colleagues to do the same.Those vendors that interact with the IT Committee at a high rate are also more likely to create brand promoters.
  • So, how should you use LinkedIn? Where should you be? There are four important places you need to be to get into these conversations. The newsfeed, groups, personalized communication via InMail and mobile.
  • Our product vision and strategy isn’t solely about monetizing the platform. It’s guided strongly by our core value of members first. We know they are on our platform, the types of engagement they are looking for and how they want to learn and gather insights via content. THIS is what guides our product decisions to help brands get into these conversations.To illustrate that, here are some examples of products that we have or have recently launched that help you to get into the newsfeed, that help you with groups, that help you create personalized experiences.
  • Now taking a step back and reflecting on what we just discussed, what are the big overarching takeaways that we are asking all of you to think about as you go into Q4 or for 2014 planning that have broader implication on your strategy.If you keep these key takeaways in mind as you're developing your social and content strategies, you'll find that the IT Committee, who are actively seeking your presence on social, will develop the trust and advocacy in your brand that is so powerful in this digital age.

The Social Bridge to the IT Committee Australian Research The Social Bridge to the IT Committee Australian Research Presentation Transcript

  • The Social Bridge to the IT Committee How trusted content on social media builds relationships with IT buyers Commissioned study conducted by:Australia
  • 2 Through decision making process 60% Buyers are highly informed, savvy, and demanding Source: CEB, “The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing”, 2012 First contact with brand
  • Tech companies risk being on the sidelines if they don’t educate and help TECH COMPANIES 3 Decrease in lead potential Implications Less exposure to client and prospect projects Limiting long-term perception as a trusted partner and thought leader
  • Social media can help bridge the gap and build relationships 4 TECH COMPANIES
  • Why is it so critical to foster long-term relationships?
  • THE IT COMMITTEE They work cross functionally 45% Work outside of IT They include individual contributors and managers 50% are individual contributors or managers These scarce influencers include more than the IT department and the Executive team Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 6
  • LinkedIn partnered with comScore, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Mashwork to understand today’s B2B IT Committee comScore: Q3 2013 SMG / Mashwork: 2012 LinkedIn data: Q2 2013 7 What are they thinking? 100 IT Committee members What are they saying? 3,000 tech posts from public LinkedIn Groups What are they doing? IT decision makers on LinkedIn
  • Key Findings Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 8 Make the vendor shortlist by fostering long-term relationships, while serving short-term needs via lead generation. The vendor shortlist is more exclusive and critical than you think. Social media is not just for connecting with peers. The IT Committee actively seeks insights & conversations with vendors.
  • The IT Committee actively seeks conversations with vendors on social media 9
  • Nearly all of the IT Committee use social networks Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 10 2013 90%95% 2012 78% Use social network monthly for business
  • The reason? Social media – LinkedIn especially – provides them with trust, efficiency, relevance, and access Source: Commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2012 11 Access A Access a broader network 50% Relevance R Relevant context to connect with vendors 34% Efficiency E Quickly find information 47% Trust T Learn from trustworthy peers 66%
  • TERA continues to drive even deeper utilization across the entire IT decision process Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 12 37%36% 22% 48% 71% Implement 66% Select 74% Plan 69% Scope 76% Awareness 81% Influence of social media at each stage of decision making YoY Increase
  • As the IT Committee use social to learn and debate, they’re looking to vendors to participate Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 13 61% Open to connecting with vendors on social Ready to have a conversation with a vendor on social 76%
  • The vendor shortlist is more exclusive and critical than you think 14
  • The IT Committee already have a good idea who they want to work with Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 15 vendors make their short listOnly 3 purchased from a vendor that made the short list93% purchased from a new vendorOnly 1 in 5
  • How do you make the short list if you are a new vendor?
  • Old ways of communicating don’t work and can turn off your audience Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 17 Top 5 reasons the IT Committee doesn’t connect with a vendor on a social network 02 Talk too much about themselves 03 Don’t believe would provide any credible information 01 Don’t want to receive a lot of marketing materials 03 Not thought leaders in the category Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 04 None of my peers are following them
  • Building relationships with the right content is critical to being considered 18
  • AWARENESS SCOPE PLAN SELECT IMPLEMENT The IT Committee are interested in a diverse range of topics – earn more interest with multiple types of content Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 19 New product launches IT industry news / strategy info Top types of information sought in each stage of IT decision-making process: IT industry news / strategy info
  • 3,217 IT Decision Makers engaged with this article on LinkedIn in June "Windows 8 is gold: Release date just days away [link] #ITBW for @computerworld by @richi $MSFT” Junior Decision Maker, Twitter "It's nice to hear that Asian companies are starting to adopt e-learning. [Link] E- learning going mobile in Asia | ZDNet” Senior Decision Maker, LinkedIn Groups 20 Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 Senior decision makers are 2X more likely to have shared and engaged with product / industry news
  • Senior decision makers were 11.5X more engaged with thought leadership content 21 Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 1,345 IT Decision Makers engaged with this post on LinkedIn in June
  • 22 Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 Junior decision makers were 39% more engaged with best practice content "An interesting and insightful article elaborating on the innovative applications of analytics to enhance VAS revenues.... [Link]" Junior Decision Maker, LinkedIn Group
  • Build relationships to make the short list 23
  • Traditional lead generation needs to be blended with social to earn leads 24 Sweet Spot Social Relationships Valuable Content Traditional lead generation
  • Context matters. Credibility and trust drive brand perception and willingness to consider a vendor for the shortlist 2x more people trust LinkedIn over other websites for Connecting more efficiently with vendors and relevant companies Receiving information relevant to my IT decisions Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013
  • Likelihood of getting a meeting with the IT Committee increases as vendors engage with this audience on LinkedIn 26Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 # of ways engaged with vendor on LinkedIn before purchase 0% 20% 40% 60% NONE 2+ WAYS Pre-Purchase Vendor Engagement by # of Engagements on LinkedIn
  • Vendors who interact with the IT Committee at a high rate are more likely to create promoters 27Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Australia on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 Engagement on LinkedIn Prior To Purchase Vendor Net Promoter Score 24 NONE 70 2+ TYPES
  • Engage the IT Committee everywhere they learn 28 FEED MOBILE GROUPS INMAIL
  • Earn leads and build relationships with content 29 SLIDESHARE CHANNEL SPONSORED UPDATES SLIDESHARE CONTENT ADS PERSONALIZED INSIGHTS VIA API
  • Implications for IT Marketers 30 01 02 03 04 Target more than IT functions in your campaigns. Ensure your content is authentic, valuable, timely, and customized by decision stage and seniority. Start earning leads via social in addition to buying leads. Focus on building relationships to get on the short list. Begin tracking how often and for what clients you make the short list.05