Relevancy Drives Online Results for Technology Marketers Today relevancy is vital to attracting and engaging online audiences. But, it is not always enough. To break through the Internet’s clutter of information, technology marketers need to reach out and deliver relevant content by using the newest emerging media formats. They must not only fine-tune the message, but also pump up the volume.
New research by KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann points out how the effective use of new online, two-way media channels are engaging customers as well as keeping direct communications with them alive and thriving. This report, the third in a series of studies examining the impact that emerging online media have on B2B technology marketing, shows how the following three mainstays of the Web 2.0 culture are evolving into B2B information delivery tools:
- Online video
- Social networks
This survey indicates the B2B marketplace seems to have taken advantage of the benefits online video offers, but has grappled with different aspects and business applications of Wikis – and to a greater extent social networks. According to a March 2006 study released by the Online Publishers Association, online video viewing has become commonplace for many Internet users and a daily addiction for some. Notably, technology buyers are no different, as 63% of respondents are viewing online videos at least once a week. With entertainment videos aside, this group “sees” the value that visualization brings to technology content housed on the Web.
In stark contrast, the role of social networks — one of the fastest growing segments of the Internet — has yet to be fully realized by technology buyers. A striking 77% of respondents admit to having very little to no experience with these online communities. But, that’s not to say awareness isn’t building. The growing success of more business-oriented networks, such as LinkedIn, indicates a push to address the B2B market’s need for a community that promotes more knowledge sharing and collaboration as opposed to one offering yet another portal for job searches.
On the other hand, technology buyers appear to have found a middle ground with Wikis. Even though the B2B marketplace has qualms about maintaining quality control for an ever-growing library of content, Wikis have emerged as a useful tool for augmenting information searches and finding high-quality content. However, this is the extent of most technology buyers’ interaction with this medium, as only 6% of respondents have actively contributed content.
Summary of Key Findings
- Online Video Offers Accessible Content: Sixty-three percent of the survey respondents access online videos at least weekly. An additional 27% view videos downloaded from the Internet on a monthly basis.
- Technology and Business Material Perfect for Online Video: For the majority of respondents, the content they choose is a combination of both technology and business information. Twenty percent alone are reading technology-related material. Only 7% do not access either type of information through online video.
- Popular Types of Online Video Content: The ever-reliable Webcast tops the list of most popular online video content with 70% of respondents saying they use this format. News and demonstrations rounded out the top three spots, respectively posting at the No. 2 and 3 positions.
- Online Video Produces Compelling Content: More than three-fourths of the survey respondents who regularly access information via the Internet felt that online video makes content more compelling and valuable. Respondents also believed good production and faster downloading enhanced the value of this type of content.
- Buyer Research is Enhanced by Online Video: An overwhelming 84% of respondents said that online video enhances content related to technology product information and research.
- Online Video Enjoys a Healthy Pass-Along Rate: With video search still in its infancy, 76% of respondents are sharing online video content either weekly or monthly. Only 18% said they “never” recommend this type of content to co-workers or colleagues.IT Purchase Decisions Most Influenced by Online Video: When compared with the impact of podcasts and blogs, online video holds the most influence on IT purchases. Fifty-seven percent of respondents in this survey felt that online videos impacted their purchasing decisions. As previously reported by KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann in the first two Emerging Media studies, podcasts influenced 27% of respondents when it came to technology purchases while blogs played a decisive role for 53%.
- B2B Buyers are Still “Unsociable”: B2B technology buyers have been slow to adopt social networking. Seventyseven percent of respondents have little to no familiarity with this online medium. However, of the 24% who are very accustomed to social networks, a large majority of the respondents visit these sites at least once a month.
- LinkedIn Lands Most Social Networkers: Respondents are attracted to more business-oriented social networks. LinkedIn ranked as the most frequently visited Website by 27% of the respondents. However, MySpace blew away the competition with the highest percentage (52%) of respondents who “visited at least once.” And, 45% admit to already having social network profiles.
- Social Networkers Find Business Applications: Business networking and/or development is the primary reason why B2B technology buyers use social networking sites, with 70% of respondents citing this as motivation. Another 59% also admit to using these sites for personal reasons.
- Best Uses of Social Networks in Business Environment: When asked their opinion on how social networks may be best used in a business environment, respondents consistently mentioned a number of best applications, from collaboration and knowledge sharing to troubleshooting and technology introductions.
- B2B Buyers on Familiar Terms with Wikis: Eighty-six percent of respondents are familiar with Wikis, such as Wikipedia, with 47% considering themselves “very” comfortable with this medium. And, more than 50% are weekly Wikis visitors.
- Wikis Add Value for Technology and Business Topics: Sixty-three percent of survey respondents who visit Wikis do so for both business and technology information. Respondents also give accolades to this type of content with 96% percent rating information from Wikis as “somewhat” to “extremely” valuable.
- Need More Wiki Contributors: Technology buyers have been slow to adopt the role of contributor when they interact with Wikis. Only 6% of respondents regularly contribute content to Wikis.
- Wikis Provide Shareable Subject Matter: Considerable sharing of Wiki content is occurring among respondents with 70% preferring to endorse or pass along related information among co-workers and colleagues, as opposed to posting recommendations within the Wiki community itself.
- IT Purchasers Influenced by Wiki Content: Respondents are closely divided on the impact that Wikis currently have on IT purchasing decisions. Fifty-two percent state that Wikis influence their decision-making while 48% aren’t so sure.
Published on: November 09, 2006
Type of content: ANALYST REPORT
Format: Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) (1471 kb)
Length: 28 pages
By KnowledgeStorm, Inc