A report, published by IT Toolbox and PJA Advertising+Markteing, revealed that a significant number of IT Executives are referencing Social Media in their purchase decisions. After reading the results, I concluded that this research validates social media as essential to a marketer’s demand generation strategy.
The publishers surveyed both large (greater than 1000 employees) and small companies (less than 1000 employees). They explored “What information sources do you reference the most for your company’s purchasing decisions?” and came away with the following observation, “IT professionals who responded to the survey cited social media as the most trustworthy online source of information when making purchasing decisions.”
I downloaded the charts and spent some time wandering through the data and uncovered a fascinating nugget: a sizable discrepancy between large companies and small companies who reference industry analysts for purchase decisions (18.7% of large companies versus 7.9% of small). Intuition suggests that many of the respondents were VERY small companies and do not have the budgets for analysts and their pricy reports. These same “small companies” according to the study also reported they are more likely to turn to trade magazines and to user generated content than their larger counterparts.
While I believe that the next time ITtoolbox fields this survey they should segment respondents into more meaningful clusters, it is also clear to me that this report is just the beginning of a flood of data suggesting that marketers who embrace social media strategies are making good choices in not only reinforcing brand attributes (trust), but also in generating demand for their products and services (purchase decisions).
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