Business and IT professionals are taking to social, mobile and video in a big way in the U.S. They also have several favorite sources of information on tech products. These are some of the findings in a recent IDG Research Services survey of more than 2, 200 visitors to IDG sites such as CIO, Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World and PCWorld.
Tech-savvy users, across multiple segments from healthcare to finance and manufacturing to government, are key indicators for marketers as they plan to reach a broader business audience. More than 40% said vendors' presence on the social Web positively influenced them related to satisfaction with the company (45%), likelihood to purchase (43%) and willingness to recommend a company (43%). As to what buyers look for in social sites, just over 50% seek information about product offerings/directions, see product reviews/rankings and respond to customer questions.
Massive Mobile Use
Use of mobile devices is pervasive. Seventy-five percent own/regularly use at least two smartphones and/or tablets. The vast majority use the devices for everything from email to apps, and content consumption including multimedia. Tablets topped smartphones in every application category.
Users are doing more than collecting information. Forty-one percent purchased a product in a six-month period, and 40% looked for a product in a retail store. Again, tablets led smartphones in this b2b survey conducted last summer.
Lights, Cameras, Action
For 95% of b2b tech buyers, the Web is a constant source of tech-related videos: 82% of the respondents post, forward and/or share such videos. Many are not passive viewers, either. Almost half purchased a product, nearly three-quarters researched an item and approximately half visited a vendor site, contacted a vendor for more information or looked for a product in a retail store.
Grazing for Information
The reliance on digital media is a given but what media is preferred is not as clear. Ninety-two percent do go to technology web sites, 60% tech vendor web sites, and 58% tech-related print publications. The importance of tech related media and vendor web sites is important data for marketers as is almost a third of the survey respondents turned to the social web in their search for information.
While search is an important tool for discovery, when choosing what to read on the web, 88% of buyers say they are more likely to click on a link from a familiar and trusted source as they strongly prefer unbiased product test/reviews/opinions (93%) and relevant content (86%). As for what content they will register for the top items are newsletter (56%), mobile apps (49%), and white papers (46%). Again, trust in the source of the information drives more engagement.
Granted, some tech buyers are pioneers and out-front compared to other users. But they're trendsetters and good indicators for marketers across industries and titles. As mobile and social converge, both need to be a major part of your 2013 marketing plans.