Please! Don't Shoot Your Social Media Messenger

It has been quite a week for me. I’ve been finishing off a client study of tech buyer Social Technographics -- 130 enterprises in their home European country. The data is good: consistent with what we had already gathered in our published work (see our April report); but of course, we have collected much more detail around this client’s specific market. But the client does not accept the data.

Curiously, I have had several conversations with tech vendor marketers who doubt our Social Technographics data. Peter Burris and I debated at length last month with an industry marketing manager for a services company. He said that only half of the people he sold to even had a PC (he was selling to Government accounts). And this project client of mine also refuses to believe the data we have collected. Their issue is actually more about being credible in front of their own executives. They are afraid that, because their own executives do not use social media themselves, they’ll reject the concept that 43% of their potential audience are Creators, which is what we found out.

I did provide a clarification on our Social Technographics ladder methodology in response. A Creator population of 43% does not mean that nearly half are writing blogs (that number is actually 28%). Creators is a combination of 5 different questions: it is about publishing a blog post, your own Web pages, uploading a video, uploading audio/music or writing articles and posting them. Whoever does ONE of these things at least monthly is called a Creator. But the chances are still that this client will just shelve the data we have collected, plus the analysis and recommendations on a suitable social media strategy, in order to avoid having to argue against, or educate, their own management.

Which is really ironic, because I’d said at the start of the project that the fact that they were going to the trouble to review their market meant that they could well be the first to take advantage of the social media opportunity.

It is especially ironic because this week I was also listening to one of our clients, Kirsten Watson of Kinaxis, describing her project with Forrester last year. When we presented them with their data, they quickly realized that “our market is more engaged in social media than we thought” but that “we probably can gain a first mover advantage.” See this Webinar which is a great case study (including humorous bits as well).  

But I suppose as long as a client does not shoot me as the messenger, I can still continue. I am sure that the next client will be more open to change and willing to leverage their market opportunity.

The other thing this week was our internal preparation for the launch of our own TPMM community. It launches publically soon, giving you all another route to talking about these topics with me and among yourselves. Watch out for it next week.

Always keeping you informed! Peter

Comments

Creating managerial buy-in

(Full disclosure: I was heavily involved in the project Peter references above, fielding the survey and analyzing the data).

I really agree with this post; in many ways, the detail data and information we present leads to some strong conclusions. Some companies are willing to seize the opportunities this creates, and some still try to ignore them or reject them out of hand.

Social media messenger

The findings are counter-intuitive to the "globalization" story that has become the accepted thinking over the last 2 decades. Social media seems to be more about local communities, respecting differences, culture (even within a country), and use of local language as the key to interacting in the B2B space. As for the UK's lower level, perhaps this illustrates the culture of existing long working hours (despite EU rulings) as much as geographic close proximity in the south-east of England.