Peer Influence In The CIO Decision-Making Process

There is a lot riding on each decision a CIO makes. This is especially true when it comes to IT investment decisions, because one wrong move can mean the difference between achieving productivity gains and a competitive edge, and a setback that’s hard to recover from.

Naturally, peer influence plays an important role in all areas of the CIO decision-making process. And the degree to which that influence is becoming more and more relevant is staggering, as discovered in a recent study of social media use in the decision-making process.

“IT Purchasing Goes Social”

“IT Purchasing Goes Social,” By Forrester Research and LinkedIn, gathered input from more than 400 CIOs and other IT decision makers across North America. These respondents were active in a wide range of different industries, and no matter the business area one thing is clear: a full 85% of them reported using at least one social network to help make a purchasing decision at some point during the prior 365 days. And this is not just to ask for advice from colleagues.

According to the report, IT decision makers are now turning to social networks for four key reasons:

  • 58% of respondents indicated that they want to learn from trusted peers, and social networking is the most efficient way to do it.
  • 40% of respondents indicated that they had a desire to not only find out information, but to do so quickly.
  • 37% of respondents indicated that social networking sites were an efficient way to generate a new opportunity to connect with trusted vendors.
  • 49% of respondents indicated that social networking was an ideal way to access a broader network to help influence their decision-making process.

Additionally, 71% of survey participants indicated that LinkedIn was their preferred social networking site for these purposes, even beating out sites like Twitter and Facebook. With its position as a business-centric social networking site, LinkedIn is often seen as more credible than others. Even better news for vendors: 73% of people who responded to the survey indicated that they have engaged with one or more vendors on social networks like LinkedIn.

The Role of Content Marketing in the CIO Decision Making Process

The study uncovered another valuable insight about the deeper relationship that CIOs are forging with chief marketing officers. Experts agree that the search for credible information creates a unique opportunity for marketers to help reach out to those IT decision makers and purchasers in a way that is much more direct, intimate and organic — perhaps more than at any point in the last several decades.

The study also pointed to the important role that content marketing plays across all points in the decision making process.  It indicated which specific types of materials that CIOs are looking for at any given moment. Other studies back this up. For example, case studies are often the most relevant materials at the beginning part of the sales process. The IDG Enterprise 2016 Customer Engagement Survey reports that 74% of IT decision-makers rely on case studies to learn about potential solutions.

Product information IT Decision Makers rely on Click for larger image

Product reviews and demos are at the top of the list of most relied-upon information — especially during the product or service selection process. After the sale, how-to guides are seen as mandatory resources once a decision has been made and final implementation is going forward full speed ahead.  Content continues to be a valuable marketing tool through the buying cycle, right through to customer service.

Image source: IDG Enterprise 2016 Customer Engagement survey



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