At Cisco Partner Velocity this week in Paris, France, using social media for marketing will be a hot topic. Many Cisco partners are in the process of developing their strategy for social media and some are still struggling to justify to their management team why social media is an important component of any marketing strategy. If you fall into the latter category, you may find the following information useful.
As marketers, we should know where individuals that meet our target customer profile are spending their time online, how they get the information they need in order to make purchasing decisions, and we should make sure we’re providing relevant information about our solutions in a way that matches to this. Basically, a “fish where the fish are” approach.
Are your target customers leveraging social media? Two recent research reports may shed some light on this.
First, the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) recently completed their annual survey of buyers of complex IT solutions – How Customers Choose Solution Providers, 2009: The Importance of Personalization, Epiphanies and Social Media. Interesting findings include:
- Usage of social media among IT and business buyers of technology rose 50% over last year – 55% said they use social media as part of the technology buying process in 2009 versus just 37% in 2008.
- Executives in large organizations use social media more than in smaller organizations.
- C-suite executives use social media more than their lower-level buying peers. Just 15% of CEOs and directors said they did not use any form of social media at all; as opposed to 34% of manager/directors and 26% of VPs.
Secondly, Business.com’s 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study, based on responses from more than 2900 people, provides a useful yardstick for where businesses and business people are finding value in social media. This is a unique study as it does not focus on adoption of social media but how people and companies are using social media in a work context today.
- Nearly 65% of respondents use social media as part of their normal work routine – including reading blogs, visiting business profiles on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or using Twitter to find information and/or communicate about business-related interests.
- Most popular social media resources for business are attending webinars or listening to podcasts (69%), followed by reading ratings and reviews for business products/services (62%).
- On average individuals survey used nearly 6 different social media resources or sites for business information.
Sounds like a business case to invest in social media to me. What do you think?