Lauraramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

On Friday, Forrester published new research on one of the most active groups of people ever seen when it comes to social participation — buyers of technology products in the business-to-business (B2B) sector.

I teamed up with Oliver Young to write the report, "The Social Technographics of Business Buyers," based on a survey conducted online between December 2008 and January 2009; you can access the full report if you’re a Forrester client, or arrange to buy it if you are not. You can also register to download the slides or hear the replay of our Webinar on the topic.

I very much like how Josh Bernoff summarizes our approach to this research in his recent post: "Just as Forrester surveys consumers, we also survey business buyers. We use the POST method and the same Social Technographics Profile to review buyers’ behavior — in this case it’s over 1200 buyers in American and European countries. But the difference here is, we can ask, not just how people participate in these social technologies, but whether they use them to make buying decisions.

The results were startling, to say the least."

B2b_st_figure_2When we started thinking about this survey, we believed that technology buyers (a techie-sophisticated crowd on their own) would show a greater propensity to engage in social activity.  We were surprised, pleasantly so — after an initial double take, to see that business buyers at all levels, executive on down, participate in a wide range of social activity on a monthly basis or more often.

What does this mean for B2B marketers? I’ll echo what Josh had to say first, "If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, this report means you’re late. We’ve seen a lot of excellent activity here from the likes of Dell and National Instruments (both won Forrester Groundswell awards) but a lot of the blogs, communities, and other social outreach from business to business companies is less than mature, to say the least. This is your chance to stand out. Take this report and show it to your boss to convince her that it’s time to get started."

You can visit my blog where I outline three main reasons why B2B marketers should care about this data. Oliver Young is also blogging about this research; he delves deeper into the differences between social participation while working versus for personal use. We see this as evidence of how social activity as a lifestyle trend will continue to bleed over into the business world.

I’ve already heard from a couple of press folks — and have been avidly watching the twitters — about this research.  Hope to hear from you too. Comment away or contact me at Forrester; either way I hope to hear your reactions and impressions.

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