According to SiriusDecisions, 70% of the buying process is now completed before the prospect is ready to speak with a sales representative. This means that marketing is moving further into the buying process as the prospective buyer uses new – and decidedly online – sources of information instead of a relationship with a sales professional to guide their purchasing decisions.
As B2B marketers we know it’s important to leverage social media as part of our marketing efforts and most of us are. However, it’s more important to pay attention to how our target buyers’ online behavior is changing overtime. How do IT professionals leverage social networks? What sources of content influence their purchase decisions? Do IT professionals have a preference for certain formats of content over others?
Answers to these questions can be found in the 2011 Toolbox.com/PJA Social Media Index.This is the seventh iteration of the study which surveyed over 1,500 IT professionals across small to large enterprises. The goal of this research was to gain insights from IT professionals on issues that affect decision making, specifically the use of social media for workplace decision making, mobile technology usage and more.
Here are some highlights from the study and considerations for marketers:
- More than 65% of respondents spend close to seven hours per week participating in social media. This is a 13% increase from only nine months ago.
- Social media represents 45% of total media consumption among IT professionals. Third-party editorial content and vendor content fall short of this with 28% and 27% respectively.
Marketing Considerations: If you aren’t already utilizing social media, it’s time to get started. For those of us that are, we need to better identify the preferred social platforms used by our target audience and determine appropriate strategies for engagement.
- IT professionals spend 3.69 hours per week accessing social media on their mobile devices, a 54% increase over 2010 consumption rates.
Marketing Considerations: Mobile is the new social. We need to ensure that everything from our email to web sites is optimized for viewing on mobile devices. Ensuring that our customers and prospects have a good experience when accessing content via a mobile device is imperative.
- Over 67% of IT professionals surveyed use social media to stay current and learn what their peers know.
Marketing Considerations: IT professionals place a high value on information that is provided to them by their peers. Additionally, they see social media as a place where they can add value back into their community of professionals. As marketers, we need to construct content that is valuable and infinitely shareable. Educate. Don’t sell.
- IT professionals also have content format preferences. When seeking information about new products, interactive ebooks are the most preferred format. Followed by videos and self-assessment/ROI calculators.
Marketing Considerations: Take an inventory of your existing marketing assets. Restructure your content into ebooks and videos. The format in which we deliver content has a direct impact on its use. Make sure your delivery your message in a form that your audience prefers.
Access the entire 2011 Toolbox.com/PJA Social Media Index. They’ve even broken the data out by job role, so you can segment further.