New Reports On Social Media Usage By BT Buyers: Europe Is Active And Age Matters

This week, Forrester finally published my (Peter O'Neill here) reports based on its Q1 2011 US And European B2B Social Technographics® Online Survey For Business Technology Buyers, which marks the third year we've conducted this survey. These are the reports promised in my blog back on July 1st  and they complement my colleague Kim Celestre’s insightful review of the worldwide numbers by examining the European data in more detail, as well as investigating that common adage cited by many tech marketers: “Most of the social media behavior is due to younger buyers, and they're not involved in BT decision-making.”

The European data is clear evidence that social is now routine for European tech buyers, and this is the headline that has been passed around the twittersphere all week now. As I write in the Recommendations section:

FIRST, VENDORS MUST LISTEN……AND BE SEEN…     …TO BE HEARD

Through good listening, tech vendors will assume a better understanding of what customers want and be able to calibrate their marketing to the customer's taxonomy and language. Being seen means getting engaged with prospects much earlier in their life cycle and possibly even assisting in their building a better business case for their proposed investments plan. Tech vendors or providers that were not engaged until the final, solution selection phase, because they do little or no social media marketing, will only be allowed to compete on price (or they get one last chance to offer because they are an incumbent vendor, not a position of strength).

The Age Matters report shows that younger professionals create and critique more while older professionals join and collect more. Although older buyers may be less proactive in their use of social media, they're still active — they just consume content instead of creating it. The more senior the decision-makers, the more likely they are to employ assistants and associates to prepare their decisions. Forrester research also demonstrates that the Gen Yers are quickly asserting control over BT procurement decisions.

All tech marketers have enough to do already: optimizing lead generation and satisfying sales demands, implementing global branding exercises, and dealing with increased competition in their existing markets. Please don’t consider social media as yet another chore to worry about — make sure that it is part of all of those activities. 

Agree? Disagree? Need more details? As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics.

 Always keeping you informed! Peter