Social in B2B doesn’t work, suggests research

Social media is one of the trends driving the growth of the public relations sector. So when some research indicates that social is not actually contributing to purchasing decisions – I suspect there is some PR sector wide seat shuffling. Albeit this research is concentrated within the B2B IT sector, but it's an interesting insight. Personally I know loads of B2B firms that have used social and have tangible outcomes from social – but I accept these are one off examples rather than part of a systematic research project. Most B2B IT marketers are marketing ‘blind’. They are basing their plans on generic B2B marketing or even worse anecdotal evidence, according to research by CCgroup. The study, aimed at finding out how IT decision makers choose their suppliers, spoke to 150 IT heads in the UK who have also made an IT investment in the past 12 months. The research revealed that Facebook and Twitter were very unlikely to be used as an information source when it comes to creating long lists of suppliers, while colleagues and peers, search engines and consultants ranked as the top three.Will Gardiner, Head of Business Technology at CCgroup said: “One of the most striking research insights is that, for all the hype around social media, it simply isn’t an influential information source for buyers of IT products and services. That is not to say social is an entirely unproductive marketing activity. Well-run social media programmes boost SEO and provide a way for a business’ audience and influencers to actively engage with a brand should they wish. The fact is though, this research shows that IT decision makers rarely do. Of far more importance is the ability to find practical advice and insight through search engines, peers and consultants, to see third party endorsements of the brand’s reliability and innovative nature and finally, evidence of the company’s successes in the relevant verticals.” The infographic below highlights other key trends in the area: IT decision makers infographic_FINAL

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