NEW YORK: The influence of word-of-mouth on purchasing decisions at b-to-b technology companies has grown by 30% in the past three years, according to a study from Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
The firm's Technology Purchase Decision Study, which surveyed 813 technology decision-makers in the US and UK, found that word-of-mouth from peers and industry analysts is increasingly the top driver of sales in the b-to-b technology industry. Additionally, nearly half of respondents said word-of-mouth can also shift business decisions.
Joshua Reynolds, EVP and co-head of the global technology practice at H+K, said tightening budgets and the rapid pace of change in technology have made word-of-mouth more important to decision makers.
“The pace of change in the tech sector is accelerating so quickly, and the stakes are higher than ever to use diminishing budgets more wisely,” Reynolds said. “With more change and more at stake, you would double-check your decisions more frequently with peers and experts.”
Traditional media is most effective in driving awareness in the b-to-b technology sector, according the study. However, 77% of US survey respondents said they share comments or contribute ideas online about b-to-b technology a few times a month or more, and 74% said the same in the UK. These statistics counter the common perception that social media is only effective for consumers rather than b-to-b professionals, Reynolds said.
The survey also found that the best way to engage technology decision makers is to pose compelling questions on web-based or social media channels rather than make statements.
“It's more powerful to ask your audience why something matters and what they want to do with it next,” Reynolds said. “You can get a conversation going by asking the right questions and telling the right story. When you do that, you can drive purchase decisions and even change business priorities.”