IDC on B2B Social Marketing and Crowdsourcing

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Leading analyst firms now pay more attention to the impact of crowdsourced reviews and social media marketing on B2B, tech-buying processes. Earlier in the year, Forrester cited our innovative crowdsourcing model, and yesterday IDC tackled the subject. IDC_Logo

A new article on the IDC website by Christine Dover, Research Director for Enterprise Applications and Digital Commerce at IDC, covers the impact of community sites such as IT Central Station where you can do your research before jumping into a more formal sales cycle with a vendor representative.

As Christine points out in her new post, we’re all familiar more than ever with Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and other sites for information on restaurants, hotels, contractor services, and more in our personal lives.

What’s happening in the B2B world? The same thing. She highlights Proformative Exchange, focused on the CFO, and IT Central Station, focused on IT products.

Here are a few things she likes about IT Central Station:

  • Reviewers are validated based on their LinkedIn profile to ensure that they are a qualified to provide a review (meaning they are in an IT or professional role at a company using the product and not an employee of the software vendor). You will see consultants providing reviews of products they have implemented.
  • Reviews include links to other reviews written by the reviewer (always helpful to me when validating a credible resource), as well as the ability to add comments, identify the review as helpful or not, and so on.
  • Searching is easy by products, vendors, or categories. The standard searches always start with the most popular (meaning most often reviewed), but the search bar is accessible for specific searches. Plus you can click on the product categories and vendor names to see expanded lists.
  • Because CMOs are controlling more IT spend at many organizations, product categories such as e-commerce, lead management, enterprise social software, customer data analysis, and web analytics are available to help them find relevant products and services.

Here’s her advice to others:

  • Buyers – these sites provide useful information from your peers, so add them to your pool of resources when looking for a new product or service. If you can, and some companies don’t allow their employees to do this, add a review.
  • Software Companies – review your product information on the site and make sure it is current.  Consider encouraging your customers to provide a review. If there is a negative review, consider it an opportunity to engage with the customer and correct a problem or fix a misperception.
  • Analysts and Media – these are great tools to hear from customers who are actually using the products. These sites provide an invaluable research tool.

Read her complete post on the IDC website: Crowdsourcing and Social B2B Marketing for CFOs and CIOs: Proformative Exchange and IT Central Station

If you’re looking for enterprise-level software like business intelligence tools, check out these vendor pages and reviews. Write a comment, start a review and get involved in what the Wall Street Journal calls “The Yelp for Enterprise Tech.”


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