Digital Media Becomes Norm in B2B IT

Whether CIOs at B2B firms realize it or not, use of digital media technologies including social, mobile and video is fast becoming a routine activity of IT employees at B2B enterprises. A recent TabletIDG Research Services survey of B2B tech buyers shows that social media is increasingly becoming an important source of technology information, while mobile and video solutions are widely utilized to both disseminate and acquire content and data.

The Social Side of IT Buying
CIOs at B2B firms who do not instruct their employees to use social media in researching technology solutions will soon find themselves behind the pack. According to survey results, more than four in 10 respondents said tech marketers’ presence on the social web positively influenced their satisfaction with the company (45%), likelihood to purchase (43%), and willingness to recommend a company (43%).

As to what tech buyers look for in social sites, more than 50% seek information about product offerings/directions, wish to see product reviews/rankings, and would like tech marketers to respond to customer questions.

The Mobile Response
Seventy-five percent of BtoB tech buyers own/regularly use at least two or more mobile devices, with smartphones and tablets the most popular. The vast majority use the devices for activities including email, app download/usage and content consumption, including multimedia. Interestingly, tablets topped smartphones in every application usage category.

BtoB tech buyers are doing more than collecting information with their mobile devices. Forty-one percent purchased a product in a six-month period after seeing an ad on their mobile device and 40% looked for a product in a retail store. Again, tablets led smartphones for this question.

Video Takes Over
Video is fast becoming the preferred content platform for BtoB IT professionals. Survey results show that more than eight in 10 (82%) of respondents post, forward, and/or share tech-related videos. And respondents are not simply passively consuming tech-related videos. 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.

What It Means to CIOs
For CIOs at BtoB enterprises, these survey results give a clear roadmap for how members of their departments should be conducting research and dispensing information during 2013. Marketers of the business solutions aimed at the BtoB are surely aware of the trends identified in this survey, meaning they will devote more effort to promoting, selling and even delivering their products and services via social, mobile and video channels. IT providers may also well decide to offer select promotions, deals and features to customers who engage with them via channels such as social and mobile, going on the assumption these customers are likely early adopters who are leaders in their fields and therefore offer more value.

In addition, BtoB IT departments need to use social, mobile and video technologies to communicate both internally and externally, or risk appearing “behind the times.” As any CIO knows, IT executives who appear behind the times soon wind up behind in areas such as compensation, career advancement and possibly even in having a job.