Marketing to IT Buyers: 2 Key Insights

April 25, 2018

Research finds that IT buyers believe they’re contacted by marketers and sales reps more than 20 times per week on average. As such, understanding what influences purchases both inside and outside the workplace is paramount for B2B marketers wishing to break through to this hard-to-reach group. New research from Spiceworks offers some insights.

1. Trust in the Brand is Critical

More than 8 in 10 IT decision-makers, regardless of age group, agree that they need to trust a tech brand before making a purchase, according to Spiceworks’ survey of 638 IT buyers in its network. This aligns with prior research from LinkedIn, in which B2B buyers pointed to trust as the top reason behind strengthened relationships with vendors.

For some IT buyers, this trust has to be gained through previous experience: one-third of Millennial buyers need to have a previous experience with a tech brand before making a purchase, as do one-quarter of Gen X buyers and one-sixth of Baby Boomer buyers.

There are two other important considerations for B2B marketers selling to tech buyers identified in the Spiceworks report.

First is that a majority agree that they technology they purchase for personal use influences their technology purchase decisions for their organization. This is a notable finding as it bolsters the results of other recent research, in which more than 8 in 10 B2B buyers admitted being more likely to consider or buy a brand for their business if they have a preference for it in their personal life.

The second consideration relates to how the vendor relationship is structured: a majority of respondents agree that they prefer to purchase from tech brands that focus on building a relationship versus securing a transaction deal. Again, this has been borne out in recent research: two key frustrations cited with B2B vendors in a recent study were their acting more like vendors than partners, and their being too transactional and not interested in a relationship.

2. Brand Reputation Counts

B2B firms have been upping their brand investments in recent years, and the Spiceworks study indicates that this is a wise route to be taking.

Fully three-quarters of the IT buyers surveyed said that a strong brand reputation is either an important or critical company attribute when they’re evaluating tech vendors. In fact, a strong brand reputation is more important when evaluating a business purchase than a personal purchase, per respondents. (That makes sense considering that buyers face challenges – such as the loss of internal credibility – from making the wrong buying decision.)

While buyers want their vendors to have strong brand reputations, that doesn’t mean they need to be established market leaders. Only half say that it’s important or critical that a vendor be a leader in the market, and even fewer (29%) care that much if a brand has been established for at least 10 years.

It’s worth noting that a vendor’s brand reputation and market establishment are slightly less important to Millennial buyers than to their older counterparts. By contrast, Millennials seem to place more emphasis than others on the vendor’s mission aligning with their values.

Overall, the results indicate that tech vendors would do well to invest in their brand reputations, which should have a knock-on effect on buyer trust, too.

The full results are available to view here.

About the Data: The report describes its methodology as follows:

“The Spiceworks survey was conducted in March 2018 and included 674 IT decision makers in organizations across North America and Europe. Respondents are among the millions of IT professionals in Spiceworks and represent a variety of company sizes, including small- to medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Respondents also come from a variety of industries including Manufacturing, Healthcare, Nonprofits, Education, Retail, Government, and Finance. The generational data includes Millennials born 1981 to 1997, Generation X born 1965 to 1980, and Baby Boomers born 1946 to 1964.”

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