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How does social media rank in influencing business technology purchase decisions?

B2B Marketing and Social MediaAccording to a new study from Forrester Research, technology decision-makers actively participate in social media as it relates to their job.

However, the same research puts social media pretty far down the list of sources of information impacting purchase decision making process.

I’ve personally been searching for quantitative evidence of social media’s impact on B2B leads and sales results. So the following statement in Forrester’s press release about its new study caught my attention: “…social media has yet to effectively influence a large part of the technology buying process.

My friend, Dianna Huff, suggested I check out Laura Ramos’ blog to see what she had to say about it. (Laura is vice president and principal analyst in Forrester’s technology marketing research team.)

A link in Laura’s blog led to a slide presentation addressing the study which included a survey of 1,217 technology decision makers at companies in North America and Europe with 100 or more employees.

Slide #20 addressed the survey question, “Which of the following sources of information impact your decision making process?” The answers were:

  • Peers and colleagues – 84%
  • Vendor, industry and trade Web sites – 69%
  • Your direct vendor salesperson – 69%
  • Technology or business magazines – 66%
  • Consultants, VARs and SIs – 65%
  • Industry trade shows or conferences (in person) – 59%
  • Forums, online communities and social networks – 45%
  • Industry analyst firms – 45%
  • E-mail or electronic newsletters – 41%
  • Web events or virtual trade shows – 40%
  • Interactive media: podcasts, video, online demos – 30%
  • Blogs – 24%

A story in eWeek about this research said, “…while business buyers may be using social networks and other tools in their enterprise and personal lives, Web 2.0 social technology isn’t affecting their decisions when it comes to purchasing business solutions.

Do you agree with eWeek’s conclusion? Please share your thoughts.

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