Tag Archives: business to business research

91% of B2B buyers using social media tools. Are you?

On Monday Forrester Research reported that 91% of B2B buyers are using social media tools, often using the tools to research and execute purchases.

“You heard right. Social media is no longer some fluffy domain for folks who can’t read a spreadsheet. It’s now one of the most widely used and cost-effective ways to reach new customers,” according to Rick Burnes at Hubspot, where we discovered the report (Thanks!).

With more than 90% of your customers using social media tools to research and make new purchases, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to get online and get involved in social media.

Here’s a breakdown of how B2B buyers are using social media, according to the Forrester Research:

  • Spectators – 91%
  • Critics – 58%
  • Joiners – 55%
  • Collectors – 48%
  • Creators – 43%
  • Inactives – 5%

That’s right, only 5% of B2B buyers aren’t using social media. Josh Bernoff at the Forrester Research blog calls the business-to-business sector “one of the most active groups of people I’ve ever seen when it comes to social participation.” Adding:

“What does this mean for you? If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, it means you’re late.

B2B websites top choice among business decision makers

Business websites are “a highly valued and indispensable source of information” in the eyes of business decision makers, according to a survey released late last year by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) in the UK.

Their research showed that 97% of business decision makers choose B2B websites as the media most used for work.

Other key findings include:

  • 51% of business decision makers choose business websites as their preferred source of business information.
  • 60% ranked business websites as an “essential” source of information in their work.
  • 60% consider business websites as sources of information that they couldn’t get anywhere else.
  • 56% visit B2B websites first when researching/informing business decisions
  • 55% visit B2B websites first when researching/informing purchase decisions

The survey also revealed that 82% of all business decision makers use at least one business to business digital delivery mechanism for work, rising to 91% among regular B2B websites users. Email alerts/newsletters are the most popular (51%) form of delivery.

When it comes to advertising, 43% of business professionals are more likely to respond to ads on a business website than advertising in other media.

Of those surveyed, 70% reported that business to business websites offer more engaging content and advertising than other business information sources and considered them to:

  • Offer instant access to information (79%)
  • Save time (77%)
  • Offer innovative ways to access information (74%)
  • Allow business decision makers to interact with peers more efficiently (69%)

Visit AOP UK for additional details from the report.

B2B marketing budgets increase despite recession

Even in the face of an economic recession, almost one-third of business to business marketers plan to increase their 2009 marketing budgets, according to BtoB’s “2009 Marketing Priorities and Plans” survey.

Another 43.5% of marketers plan to keep budgets equal to 2008 and only about one-quarter plan to decrease their marketing budgets next year, according to the online survey of over 200 b-to-b marketing professionals in November.

Among the key findings of the survey:

  • Customer acquisition is the top marketing goal in 2009 for B2B marketers (62.2%)
  • Customer retention was cited by 20.6% of marketers as their top marketing goal, followed by brand awareness (12.4%)
  • 66.5% of marketers plan to increase online spending in 2009

Because online marketing has proven to cost less and delivers trackable results, more b-to-b marketers are moving their marketing dollars online. General Electric Co. is one of those companies, according to BtoB.

“About 15% of our media spend is on digital. In my mind, that is not enough,” said Beth Comstock, senior VP-CMO of GE. “One of my goals is to continue to shift that spend.” GE plans to use online technologies including streaming video, webisodes and rich media ads next year.

The most popular online tactics for business to business marketers next year will be:

  • Email marketing (68.3%)
  • Web site development (66.3%)
  • Search (50.0%)
  • Online video (46.6%)
  • Social media (46.6%)

Social media spending is up more than 20% from 2008.

When it comes to more traditional marketing, the survey found that marketers are making budget cuts on print (33.2%), events (30.5%), direct mail (25.6%) and outdoor advertising (21.3%).

2009 B2B Marketing Priorities and Plans

2009 B2B Marketing Priorities and Plans

New study: Media habits of top executives

Senior business executives in the U.S. are mainly concerned about the volatile economy, are heavy users of all types of media and turning more to new media including blogs, podcasts and streaming video as information sources, according to a recent study.

The “Business Elite 2008” study conducted by media research firm Ipsos Mendelsohn, examined the top concerns, media habits and technology usage of top U.S. business executives.

Some key findings of the study:

  • 63% said advertising plays a part in influencing what they buy.
  • 62% said keeping up with technology is important to them.
  • 34% said the Internet is their main source of information for business news, followed by cable TV (24%), national newspapers (21%) and business magazines (18%).
  • Regarding industry news, the top media vehicle was also the Internet (38%), followed by business magazines (30%) and national newspapers (10%).

The survey also explored senior business executives’ technology usage, finding:

  • 63% of the business elite use e-mail, conduct instant messaging or obtain news from a mobile device.
  • 54% receive daily e-mail newsletters or alerts.
  • 51% stream broadband videos on their computers, up from 49% last year.
  • 32% read blogs, up from 31% last year.
  • 54% had purchased a product after seeing an ad on the Internet, followed by TV (42%) and magazines (34%).
  • 50% of top executives had visited a company’s Web site after seeing an ad on the Internet, followed by TV (43%) and magazines (38%).

Harvest valuable business opinions on LinkedIn

According to a recent survey, the professional social network LinkedIn can provide market researchers with an “efficient and effective source of qualified business opinion” with access to key decision-makers.

Two-thirds (66%) of LinkedIn survey participants have decision-making power or influence over purchase decisions in their organization, according to a poll conducted by Anderson Analytics.

This new research may give a boost to LinkedIn’s new survey service. LinkedIn Surveys gives researchers the ability to contact and question the network’s 30 million professionals. Now, with reasearch revealing that two-thirds of those members have influence over purchase decisions, LinkedIn Surveys may prove itself to be a valuable resource for B2B marketers.

Should businesses care about LinkedIn? “Of course they should,” says Brian Wallace at Mashable.

Wallace explains in a recent article how to get the most out of LinkedIn, even with a limited understanding of social media. Any business can use the network to “spread their wings and get connected” using seven key tools. Read his article for the full list, but here are just a few:

  • Q&A – With the look and feel of Yahoo Answers, you can have a Q&A-style discussion with others in your industry.
  • Recommendations – Clients and coworkers can post recommendations about you and your business, allowing future contacts to rate your skill and trustworthiness.
  • Check up on the competition – Network updates gives you an overview of who your competition has friended, groups they’re a part of and people they recommend.

We’re on LinkedIn (check out our profile), are you? How are you using LinkedIn to improve your personal and business networks?

LinkedIn, the new B2B market research resource

LinkedIn B2B Surveys

LinkedIn B2B Surveys

LinkedIn recently announced a new service, called LinkedIn Surveys, that enables business-to-business researchers and investors to gather market research from network users.

LinkedIn Surveys will allow market researchers to contact and question the network’s  30 million professionals across the globe, approximately half of whom are IT and  business decision makers.

“The expanded userbase can provide vital B2B information to marketers, who will also have the ability to categorize the responses by seniority in their company, age, function, country and company size,” according to Bill Holmes at Overdrive Interactive.

In return for participating in the surveys, users will be compensated with rewards including gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks, Best Buy, or users can make a donation to charities. LinkedIn profits from the undisclosed amount of money researchers will pay for access to users’ personal data.

“LinkedIn overcomes quality and authenticity issues that other sample providers face,” said Dan Shapero, Director of Business Services, LinkedIn in a company press release. “Because of the public and self-policing nature of LinkedIn, members provide deep and accurate profile information and they update that information constantly.”

The news should be a welcomed gift for most in the database marketing world since good B2B market research and lists can be hard to find. If it all goes according to plan, “this could be a significant step forward in using a social media platform to garner vital data from their userbase.”