Social Faces Tough Climb in B2B Tech Marketing

Social media is making great strides influencing consumers to pledge allegiance to brands and convince their friends to purchase what they like. The social media buzz in the B2B tech buying and selling sector is much quieter. But, new research shows what it might take to bring social to the next level in the B2B tech world.

When tech buyers are looking for new products and services, the following marketing tools rank at the top of the list. (Numbers are scaled from 1 to 10):

  • Trade shows and conference: 7
  • Vendor salespeople: 6.9
  • Vendor websites: 6.8

These numbers probably cheer some tech marketers. According to IDC research, the top investments in tech marketing this year will be:

  • Website content and development 60%
  • Direct marketing 49%
  • Marketing support and sales tools 34%
  • Events 32%

But 65% of tech marketers also plan to increase their social media budgets in 2012. They may find themselves wondering why social media only ranks a 4.5 out of 10 when buyers note which factors are influencing them. It’s not that tech buyers aren’t using social media. Here’s a look at those numbers:

  • Visit business/​tech blogs monthly: 62%
  • Visit business/​tech only communities monthly: 58%
  • Have been contacted by sales reps through social channels: 30%

So how can tech marketers improve their yield on social media investments? Rich Vancil, group VP-​executive advisory strategies at IDC, recommends that marketers ‘engage more effectively’. Tech vendors must move beyond a mere social presence and into more active influence. Two ways to accomplish this are educating buyers and helping them “connect with their peers.” This advice might have tech marketers rethinking their social strategy this year.

[Source: Maddox, Kate. IDC finds social not key buying influence. BtoBonline​.com. 11 Jun. 2012. Web. 22 Jun. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.