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New Research: The Social B2B Buyer "Connecting Conversations to Content"

By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst

Social Media Lines Blur between Personal and Professional Communities

IDG Connect has just completed research on the social media preferences of enterprise technology buyers and has found social networks rank more important than ever before. It is not a surprise that social media continues to build in overall importance and its weight will soon pass that given to vendor and third party content. But what is interesting is how the lines are blurring between social and professional networks.

Go back three years to when social networks such as Facebook were only briefly on the radar of B2B buyers during the decision process. They used those networks at the general education stage, perhaps asking friends they knew in a related field for their thoughts. After that first buying stage, the use of social networks was non-existent. Instead buyers were tuned to other platforms and communities such as professional networks, and blogs. Today social networks have strengthened throughout the buying process.

The distinctions between professional and personal networks have become more clouded as each type of community tries to broaden its appeal and value. Now buyers have never been more fragmented in where they go for information.  But this need not be insurmountable to vendors who want to be where the buyers are, because they can leverage their content across both categories. As vendors strive to participate in this broader range of communities they also can make their job easier if content is modular, so it can be modified and moved with minimal tailoring along the way.

 This is a clear opportunity for vendors, but it also provides a stark warning to marketers. If they do not offer relevant links to content and activities, someone else will, and marketers without relevant information will lack the engagement to identify qualified leads.

Read the press release here.

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Bob Johnson

VP & Principal Analyst, IDG Connect

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