Don’t Miss the Boat on Product Reviews

5 Reasons Customer Reviews Are Essential to Your Marketing Strategy

Product reviews, peer content, and professional social communities are rapidly taking over the $3 trillion enterprise technology industry.  Here at IT Central Station, we’re leading the way with our crowd-sourced platform that allows real users to share their opinions about tech products.

IT Central Station currently has over 140,000 users, discussing and reviewing all the major enterprise technology solutions.

Research from Forrester, Gartner, IDC, LinkedIn, and Google all validate the greater importance that tech buyers place on peer experiences and product ratings than on any other type of content.

Our latest infographic illustrates this, visualizing the data that make customer reviews at IT Central Station essential to any enterprise technology company’s marketing strategy.


Yelpification

The Yelpification of Enterprise Tech: 5 Reasons Customer Reviews Are Essential to Your Marketing Strategy

Download our infographic in PDF format.


 

Interested in learning more?  Learn how leading marketers at HPE, VMware, Salesforce, Oracle, and IBM use peer reviews by visiting marketing.itcentralstation.com, or contact me at ceo@itcentralstation.com.

SharePoint vs Yammer—Jousting on Social

We assume that Microsoft bought Yammer (for a lot of money) to joust as a complement to SharePoint and against other vendors.Yammer vs SharePoint

Over a year ago Kevin McLaughlin from the Business Insider had said about the acquisition: “It’s Been A Year Since Microsoft Bought Yammer And Ballmer’s Grand Vision Has Yet To Materialize.”

Any way you look at it, most big-time vendors are betting on the fact that enterprises need social apps and hosting them in the cloud or as a service is the way to go. No one wants to manage a homemade file-server system anymore or some patched together intranet that gets outdated quickly.

Here’s a nifty rundown from consultants featured on IT Central Station about the differences between Yammer and SharePoint as they go head to head against other vendors:

Choosing Between SharePoint and Yammer

Add_srichardson
Sharon Richardson

SharePoint vs Yammer. What’s the difference?

Add_chrisradcliffe

Chris Radcliffe

Checking out what others are saying about vendors can be critical to your success as a decision maker for your vendor solutions. Heck, just being informed about what “experts” are saying in the field might just give you enough oomph to your thought leadership credentials to help with whatever solutions you’re discussing. Keeping up with what’s going on is probably half the battle.

Read reviews of Sharepoint, Confluence, and Yammer!

HubSpot vs Marketo—Marketing Matchup

Marketing tools provide promise for scalable and efficient ways to get your content to the right audience. The better you do this, of course, the more prospects you get and ultimately more sales and revenue.

But at what cost and what is your return on investHubSpot vs Marketoment (ROI) for using these resources?

There will be some initial ramp up costs for certain. Make sure you also consider the “cost” to your employees in terms of usability and even job satisfaction.

No one likes to be mandated to use some tool that is hard to figure out while training might be sparse. We’ve all been there and it can be very frustrating. This cost could be higher than you think depending on how broad the scope, success, or failure of the tool manifests.

Here’s a quote about Marketo from a real user on IT Central Station,

“Pros:
Marketo gives me the toolset necessary to create automated drip email campaigns to my customers and prospects. HUGE ROI! Great customer service and still (relatively) nimble dev team always willing to help, even in special, or “one-off” scenarios.”

Quotes like these can help you make decisions and might help you get motivated in spite of any training hurdles. Selling to internal audiences for some solutions is very important if you’re the decision maker for IT tools.

At IT Central Station, you can begin your search for marketing tools such as Marketo and compare them to others. You can find out how others in your peer group are using specific aspects of the solutions you’re interested in adopting. You can also have your colleagues who you need to convince to take a look at reviews.

A matchup between Hubspot and Marketo is on the horizon. If you’re a real user start the reviews to establish yourself as a thought leader in marketing automation or enablement—or in another category depending on your role.

Or you might want to reach out to an established real user who contributed a review for any of the products on IT Central Station.

Here’s two ways you can do that, you can comment on the review and get into a dialogue of Q and A with the reviewer or even someone else who commented.Question

Or, you can “inbox” the reviewer directly from the site. Just push the Ask Me a Question button shown to the right.

For more information about becoming a contributor. see Become a Contributor.

Be a part of the “Yelp for Enterprise Tech” as referred to by the Wall Street Journal on IT Central Station.

 

IT Pros Looking for Enterprise Solutions . . . “S-h-o-pp-ing . . .we’re shopping!”

Remember the 80’s song from the Pet Shop Boys?

Ok, even if you don’t, it was a big hit and LinkedIn and other community sites like IT Central Station are now becoming a big hit for finding what works and doesn’t work for enterprise-level solutions.

[A bit of a stretch with the shopping song but might get us in the mood.]

Check out this post from Julie Bort in the Business Insider IT Pros Are Using LinkedIn In A Surprising Way: To Shop For Enterprise Tech.

A quick summary here is that IT pros now use social media to vet and verify what they hear from vendors because of the following reasons: Trust, Relevance, Efficiency, and Access—the key drivers pointed out in a Forrester study that Julie highlights in her article.

Social MediaIT Central Station conveniently provides you with LinkedIn Insider access to do your “shopping.” Well—let’s be clear—you need to get involved in the buying revolution here on IT Central Station as the “Yelp for Enterprise Decision Makers” according to the Wall Street Journal.

For example, review the enterprise products and services that you use regularly. You can influence tech buying and become an expert and show that you’re a thought leader in your area of expertise.

Check out the other reviews and comment on them. Do you agree or do you have more insight to help your peers in making a good decision about buying a solution?

 

                       Cisco                   Ibm                  Vmware_logo               

Quality Center   Enterprise Routers   QualityStage   VMware ESXi    Oracle Data Mining

 

Remember that you can just go to IT Central Stationjoin if you haven’t already—and build your profile.

Every review on IT Central Station has been verified to be an authentic review by a real user. You can count on the Station Master, Russell Rothstein and his team to continue to provide you with the kind of tech-buying community source that will shape the future. Take a look at how it all started here.

CIO.com—8 Tips and Questions for Choosing Software Vendors

In a recent post for IT Central Station’s Executive Interview Series with Diane Schwarz, we took an in-depth look at specific tech buying decisions for a specific industry. Now let’s take a look at the results of a survey of executives from a variety of industries by CIO.com.CIO.com

CIO.com asked dozens of IT executives for some answers about how to choose a software vendor.

They summarized the survey in a recent post on CIO.com and provided these eight suggested questions to ask yourselves when searching for an enterprise-level software vendor who best fits your needs.

  1. Figure out what it is you really need
  2. Check the software provider’s credentials and certificates
  3. What do other customers have to say? [Here at IT Central Station!]
  4. Can it scale?
  5. Check for hidden or additional fees.
  6. Who gets custody of your data in the case of divorce?
  7. Take a test drive.
  8. Agree to key performance indicators (KPIs) before signing a contract.

For more details about each question from CIO.com, click here.

4 More Questions to Ask Software Vendors from CIO.com

Will the software integrate easily with our existing systems? The last thing you want to find out after you have spent a lot of time and money on new software is that it doesn’t work with your legacy systems, especially when you thought it would.

How easy is it to set up and train users? “Most vendors will provide training,” notes Barbara Ware, Marketing Director, Bravepoint, a provider of business solutions. “Make sure it’s included with the implementation costs.”

How will you support me after the sale? “Do your homework and make sure the vendor has been around a while,” says Ware.

How are updates and upgrades managed? “Updates should be cloud-based for ease of installation,” says Ware. And they should not disrupt business

Check out what others are saying about these vendors and solutions on IT Central Station:

 

Cisco                   Ibm                  Vmware_logo

Quality Center   Enterprise Routers   QualityStage   VMware ESXi    Oracle Data Mining

 

 

Salesforce vs Microsoft Dynamics CRM—Vendor Rugby

Both Microsoft and Salesforce have been in a rugby match for the last 10 years for customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions.

In other words, poSalesforce_Microsoftssession of the “football” goes back and forth quite a bit. Both equally strong in helping enterprise vendors close the deals and meet revenue targets, they also have their fumbles and pitfalls.

Take a look at this comparison here on IT Central Station: Dynamics CRM vs. Salesforce.com

You can also view a real user who dedicated a specific review that you might consider as the characterization of “The Rugby Match” – Salesforce versus Dynamics… the death match!

Now that you know people are talking about this match without any vendor input but the real users telling you how the solutions work in the field, you might want to get involved instead of just being on the sidelines.

Here’s two ways you can do that, you can comment on the review and get into a dialogue of Q and A with the reviewer or even someone else who commented.Question

Or, you can “inbox” the reviewer directly from the site. Just push the Ask Me a Question button shown to the right.

For more information about becoming a contributor. see Become a Contributor.

Checking out what others are saying about vendors can be critical to your success as a decision maker for your vendor solutions. Heck, just being informed about what “experts” are saying in the field might just give you enough oomph to your thought leadership credentials to help with whatever solutions you’re discussing. Keeping up with what’s going on is probably half the battle.

For more information about IT Central Station, see About IT Central Station.

 

LinkedIn Meets IT Central Station and Oktopost for UnWebinar

On May 29th, The World’s First UnWebinar on B2B Tech Social Media takes place—are you in?

Ok, so what the heck is an UnWebinar? No slides, no boring presentations—just an open discussion via live video feed from a Google+ Hangout.UnWebinar

This Google+ Hangout for vendor marketing representatives will focus on:

The B2B marketing game field is changing dramatically. Social media and social marketing are at the vortex of the sweeping changes affecting B2B marketing professionals.

The lineup of “marketing ninjas” who plan to discuss the type of B2B marketing you need to hear includes:

                                      

Mike Weir                                   Russell Rothstein                Daniel Kushner
Global Head of Category          Founder and CEO of          Founder and CEO of
Development, Technology       IT Central Station                Oktopost
Industry at LinkedIn

Here’s what topics you can expect them to cover . . .

  • Directly tie social marketing programs to lead generation, CRM and the sales process
  • Demonstrate ROI from social media
  • Tap into the huge potential of customer advocates within social media platforms
  • Evaluate if your investments in LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are bringing in sales
  • Utilize online review sites and community platforms to influence prospects early in the sales process

You can register for the Google+ Hangout by clicking here!