Need to reach B2B buyers? Ignore social media at your peril

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing executives may comfort themselves that they don’t have to think about social media because, “That’s for consumer products.” That excuse has just been exploded by Forrester Research. Although no one should storm into an uncharted jungle unprepared, Forrester advises that B2B marketers had better start donning their pith helmets and sharpening their machetes.

In research findings released last month, Forrester reports the following:

If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, it means you’re late. … [Although there are some strong b2b companies doing well in the social media space], a lot of the blogs, communities, and other social outreach from business to business companies is less than mature, to say the least.

This is your chance to stand out. Take this report and show it to your boss to convince her that it’s time to get started.

This chart shows the Technographics of the B2B buyers they investigated. Although they are an admittedly “plugged-in” audience (they are technology buyers for the most part), Forrester discovered that 91% of the group were Spectators, the highest percentage they’ve ever witnessed in a Social Technographics Profile.


Even the overall Creators (i.e., bloggers, forum posters, etc.) and Critics (those who use social media to rate products and post reviews) are quite high, at 43% and 58%.

The Takeaway

The way businesses buy is changing fast, and in the direction of ignoring the marketer altogether. Instead, they’re talking amongst themselves, in conversations that B2B marketers should ignore at their peril.

Infoweek and TechWeb launch strikingly familiar b-to-b portal

This week InformationWeek and its affiliated TechWeb introduced, a b-to-b portal for their reportedly “13.3 million business technology buyers.”

Here\'s the scope of what they coverI’ve signed up and looked over their downloads and other resources, and I have to say there appears to be some valuable material. The focus of the portal is to help marketing technology pros plan their campaigns and online media buys. This would happen, in part, by gaining access to their media partners’ planning tools.

Where have I seen that before?

Which brings up a little episode of deja vous. They tout a media planning widget, to “zoom in on the business technology marketing solutions you need.” This was of course designed independently of one of the projects that my team produced last year, but I have to say it’s uncanny the similarities!

Here’s a blurb in Yahoo Financial News on the site and its solution wizard (oh, wait — that’s what our creation is called!).

What are your thoughts on this portal? Will it serve a need? Or is it too blatant a sell-through device for their partners?