IT Buyers Rely on Targeted Communities While Marketers Focus on Broad Social Networks
AUSTIN, TX–(Marketwired – Sep 23, 2014) – Spiceworks, the professional network for IT, today announced the results of its “How to Win Friends and Influence IT Pros” report, a survey examining technology marketing strategies and how they compare to the preferences of IT buyers. Released at SpiceWorld Austin, the report highlights IT buyer behavior while identifying potential disconnects between their research and purchasing habits and the way technology marketers approach them.
According to the survey, lead generation was the top priority for 66 percent of technology marketers followed by sales conversion at 45 percent and brand awareness at 42 percent. When asked to select the barriers to achieving campaign priorities, 43 percent of respondents cited budget constraints, 35 percent said audience targeting was a challenge, and 33 percent reported an insufficient quantity of leads.
IT professionals cited a preference for an open and honest approach to marketing that allows for more direct engagement with brands and their peers. However, marketers continue to bank on traditional marketing tactics to reach IT buyers. On average, 95 percent of IT professionals report relying on IT forums or targeted communities when justifying purchases, while only 60 percent of marketers cite using these channels to reach their buyers.
“Technology buyers want to be approached in an authentic way, yet we’re seeing investments in automated forms of marketing that, when executed poorly, significantly diminish the opportunity for a real, human-to-human relationship between the marketer and customer,” said Sanjay Castelino, VP of Marketing at Spiceworks. “Technology marketers have an opportunity to rethink ‘assembly line marketing’ strategies and double-down on an engagement model that humanizes their brand, its employees and solutions.”
Pressured to drive new leads, the marketing industry is transforming on the back of new tools and technologies designed to streamline and automate the lead generation and nurturing process. Meanwhile, IT professionals report valuing personal interactions with brands and peers who can help them through the buying process. Despite the importance placed on a human connection with brands, technology marketers ranked social engagement at the bottom of their priority list. Only 14 percent said it was a priority.
IT buyers rely on targeted communities over mainstream social networks during the buying process
- Nearly 90 percent of technology marketers report using mainstream social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to build brand awareness and promote their offerings. However, only 16 percent of IT professionals surveyed use these networks to research new products or services.
- Seventy-seven percent of IT professionals say they don’t use large social networks at all during the buying process, and most report using mainstream social media networks primarily for entertainment purposes.
Content reigns supreme but timing remains key
- Technology marketers and IT professionals are aligned when it comes to the importance of compelling content. However, technology brands have an opportunity to place more emphasis on ensuring the right content is delivered at the right point in an IT buyer’s journey.
- IT professionals rely on content including videos, webinars, and white papers during the buying process. Webinars are used by 79 percent, videos by 76 percent and white papers by 69 percent of IT professionals. Among the technology marketers surveyed, 70 percent are investing in webinars, 78 percent in video content, and 85 percent in white papers.
The survey was conducted in August 2014 and included 136 global respondents. Respondents represent a variety of technology company sizes including small-to-medium-sized businesses and enterprises. 450 IT professional responses were collected in January 2014. IT professionals surveyed represent a variety of industries and company sizes.
For the full report and a complete list of survey results, visit http://www.spiceworks.com/voit/reports/how-to-win-friends/.