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B2B Social Media: research into its role in the ICT buying process
 

B2B Social Media: research into its role in the ICT buying process

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Research into the social media behaviour of 100 UK ICT decision-makers. The Marketing Practice's headline findings illustrate how social media is being used at different stages of the buying cycle, ...

Research into the social media behaviour of 100 UK ICT decision-makers. The Marketing Practice's headline findings illustrate how social media is being used at different stages of the buying cycle, what decision-makers want from their suppliers, how it can be used for demand generation, and what effects social media is having on 'traditional' marketing channels.

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    B2B Social Media: research into its role in the ICT buying process B2B Social Media: research into its role in the ICT buying process Presentation Transcript

    • 10 DECISION-MAKER RESEARCH HEADLINES
      The role of Social media marketing in the ictbuying process
    • About the research
      • Conducted in the UK, in April 2011
      • 100 senior managers and directors across public and private sectors, segmented by:
      • Role (Line of business Vs IT)
      • Organisation size (1000-5000, 5000-10000, 10000-20000 employees)
      • Age (18-25, 26-40, 41-55,56+)
      • For a run-through of the full findings (over 20 different question areas) and analysis, please contact Paul Everett, peverett@themarketingpractice.com
    • Ten headlines
      Half of all buyers agree it is important for suppliers to have a social media presence
      Over 1 in 4 buyers have met suppliers as a result of interactions on social media...
      ...Of those, 1 in 3 have given business to a supplier
      LinkedIn comes out on top, with Facebooka strong second (especially for IT decision-makers)
      Social media is most influential at early stages of the buying process and again post purchase
      Making uninvited contact via social media isn’t as frowned on as you might have thought
      Top 3 sources of information in social media are analysts, peers and suppliers
      Some old rules hold true – don’t expect users to actively contribute to these networks...
      ...And some content is as much about being found through search engines as communities
      Traditional communication channels are more valuable than ever before
    • A complex picture
      • For: We’ve seen that half of decision makers feel that suppliers should be active within social media, and that a surprising number have met and given business to suppliers following a first interaction via social media
      • Against: But the influence of social media dips at some key stages of the buying cycle, and more traditional channels are becoming seen as more valuable than ever before in the face of ‘overwhelming’ digital interactions
      • The full research also shows us that there are significant variations by job function and size of organisation, as well as in how frequently people are using different social media networks
    • Conclusions
      • Social media can clearly extend the effectiveness of wider marketing strategies
      • Although simply using it to broadcast information that wasn’t good enough in the first place is unlikely to generate returns!
      • We should remember that social media isn’t purely about being active in buyers’ networks – it can also simply be about using the fact that 75% of people are active on LinkedIn to mine data/insight for other marketing activities
      • There’s a careful choice to be made in each situation about the potential returns of social media activity (does the ROI justify the investment required, or could it be achieved by other means – there’s always an alternative)
      • Social media has reached a point where it is almost universally used, but is at its most effective alongside other channels – hopefully we have reached the stage where it can be sensibly considered as an element of any wider marketing strategy rather than a hyped as a standalone silo...
    • 1. Half of all buyers agree it is important for suppliers to have a social media presence.(it’s a large proportion, but of course it also means half don’t.)
    • How important is it for suppliers to have a social media presence?
    • 2. Over 1 in 4 buyers have met suppliers as a result of interactions on social media.(for it decision makers, that increases to over 1 in 3.)
    • Have you ever had a supplier meeting that was a result of an initial interaction on social media?
    • 3. Of those, 1 in 3 have given business to a supplier.(overall, that’s nearly 1 in 5 decision makers who have done business as a result of social media interactions.)
    • If yes, did you go on to give business to that supplier?
    • Here’s an example from buzzient and Oracle of bringing social media interactions into measurable crm results...
    • A post on Twitter
    • ...is monitored and captured in CRM...
    • ...and flagged as a lead to respond to
    • 4. Linkedin comes out top overall, with facebook a strong second (especially for IT decision makers).(our full research contrasts this business use with their personal behaviours, and also looks at how frequently they use these networks.)
    • Which of the following social media / networks do you use in a professional capacity?
    • For anyone wondering how facebook can have such a strong presence, here’s an example...
    • 5. Social media is most influential at early stages of the buying process and again post purchase.(but does still influence the final buying choice of 1 in 5 decision makers.)
    • How influential is social media at different stages of the buying cycle?
    • 6. Making uninvited contact via social media isn’t as frowned on as you might have thought.(almost 3 in 4 (4 in 5 within IT) say that making uninvited contact wouldn’t disadvantage a supplier.)
    • Would potential or current suppliers be disadvantaged if they tried to approach you, without invitation, via social media of any sort?
    • 7. Top 3 sources of information in social media are analysts, peers and suppliers. (but there’s no clear winner, and the full research shows that different job functions value different sources)
    • How valuable is the information that you can receive from the following social media contributors?
    • 8. Some Old rules hold true – don’t expect users to actively contribute to these networks.(but the number who do contribute is nearly double the 1 in 10 figure sometimes used)
    • Would you say you are an active contributor or do you use them more simply as a source of information?
    • 9. And remember that some content is as much about being found through search engines as communities.
    • Do you come across useful information mainly as a result of traditional online searches or as a result of direct involvement in social media?
    • 10. Traditional communication channels are more valuable than ever before.(Richard watson’sfuture files gives an interesting view on the psychology behind the increasing importance of ‘real life’ interactions)
    • Taking into account the rise of digital interaction, do you value the following forms of traditional communication more, less or the same as in the past?
    • “Business technologists are not cleanly substituting social for other decision-making approaches and information sources, but rather are adding social in a complementary way. Tech marketers must follow suit, mixing traditional and social tactics to achieve broad community marketing objectives.”Social Technographics®: Business Technology Buyers, Forrester, 2010
    • For a run-through of the full findings (over 20 different question areas and variations by size of organisation/age/job function), and our resulting 90-day social media action plan, please contact:
      Paul Everett
      Director of Marketing Strategy
      peverett@themarketingpractice.com