How Groundswell helps Business to Business Marketers

Business-2-Business profile tool, was built after 1217 business technology buyers were surveyed on their levels of social engagement

Forrester research is one of the world’s leading firms helping business grow online through effective free profiling tools, webinars, research papers and now the book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. The correct term that Forrester resegroundswell novelarch have labelled this data is Social technographics.

The Forrester research Business-2-Business profile tool, was built after 1217 business technology buyers were surveyed on their levels of social engagement with the primary purchase categories chosen:

  • Software
  • Services
  • Networking & Telecom
  • Hardware

Breakdown by product category
forrester-researchWhat is interesting is the the social participation between the different product categories did not change substantially but is different enough to be able to run different campaigns for hardware or software technology solutions.

Creators – This segment is surprisingly higher but this might be based on how-to blogs and the presence of product evangelists.

Critics – Social engagement is higher in this area likely based on the wealth of knowledge available on technical blogs and the technology companies encouraging product ratings and reviews.

Collectors – They show higher engagement likely based on the ease of using rss feeds for finding out about new products, updates and new solutions.

Joiners – This is lower for buyers of hardware solutions as social networking site may not be the ideal platform and there maybe a lack of hardware companies represented on such sites.

Spectators – Make up the the most engaged segment for social participation for both company size and category.  This high level of engagement is because of the resources been allocated and the quality of material available on company blogs and webinars.

Inactive – This segments social media engagement is quite low which indicates that social media is a good option for reaching the technology buying audience.

Breakdown by Company Size
Social technographics discovered that the size of business seems to show correlation between a few key segments. With large differences in social media participation between the small business with 100-499 employees and the massive corporations with 20,000+ employees.  This difference is likely related to the ability of owners/directors to influence within small organisations and how they can mould organisational behaviour where owners/directors lack the same circles of influence within large corporations.

Creators – This segment of social technographics shows that creators who typically publish or maintain a blog, and upload video to sites like YouTube, are less likely in companies with more than 20,000 staff. This is likely that larger corporations have higher quality requirements and

Critics – The segment who comment on blogs, post ratings and product/service reviews has the most participation in companies with 1000-4999 employees, but not substantially higher than other company sizes.  The interesting point is that the larger companies with the 20,000+ staff show substantially lower participation which maybe related to company policy prohibiting or discouraging such public reviews.

Collectors – The segment who typically subscribe to your blog or website through RSS feeds and often tag web pages with social media services like Delicious are reasonable constant.  The level of social participation also shows a large drop again for the 20,000+ companies but is the second highest area for social participation.  We assume that larger corporates may have more advanced tools such as Meltwater to monitor news/rss feeds and have marketing departments or digital agencies that deal with social bookmarking services such as Delicious as part of a overall web marketing campaign.

Joiners – This segments uses social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter with a slightly lower for small 100-499 employee companies and slightly higher for large 20,000+ companies. The difference in larger corporations is likely because of the scale it is possible small niche groups form who use social networking sites to build and maintain relationships among workmates.  In larger corporations it is likely that departments or teams can be split among multiple locations and social networking is an easy platform for sharing, commenting and interaction on decisions such as purchasing.

Spectators – The segment who read blogs, listen to podcasts/webinars & watch peer-generated video.  The participation levels are reasonably constant but show a decent 10% drop for large companies with more than 20,000 staff. This segment has the highest level of social participation across all the segments and is the best segment to target for Business-2-Business technology buyers.  The larger 20,000+ employee companies likely have their own internal resources and these sources while valuable may show decision makers for these larger companies maybe time poor or have limitations on network/bandwidth resources required to best access this information.

Inactives – These typically do not participate in social media is lowest among small 100-499 businesses and much higher amount 20,000+ staff.  This is likely to be the higher level decision makers that require access to marketing material through traditional channels but can still be digital such as downloading forms/material, click to callback buttons, contact forms and online requests forms for materials to be posted.

If you want to learn more about Groundswell we suggest buying the book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.