(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Research from Wildfire PR shows UK IT decision makers are turning to social communities and search engines before online news sources and industry press when making IT purchasing decisions. Social networks and online communities (58%) were ranked top by IT decision makers when asked which information sources are most useful when researching an IT business purchase, followed by search engines (50%), online news sources (36%) and IT industry press (32%).
In a sign of the fragmenting digital media landscape, 18% of IT decision makers said they are reading fewer IT print publications than they did 12 months ago and 24% said they get most of their news online. The use of other digital media services is increasingly important, with 16% saying they use more video or podcasts than they did a year ago.
However, online news sources still come out on top when it comes to staying up-to-date with IT business news and industry trends, with 64% of IT decision makers saying they use online news sources, compared to 43% using social networks or communities, 28% using the IT industry press and 23% using TV.
When it comes to staying up-to-date with general, non-IT news, IT decision makers are even more likely to use traditional media sources, with 76% using online news services and 54% using TV.
“In these days of media fragmentation, it is interesting to see newer channels like search and social media are becoming increasingly important at a critical stage in the IT buying cycle,” said Debby Penton, Managing Director at Wildfire PR. “Our research shows that the trend towards peer recommendation is as prevalent in the B2B world as it is for B2C brands.”
“While it is still important to generate awareness through news generation, PR agencies need to educate their clients about the power of social media and the value of peer-to-peer communities. Tech brands who ignore this trend will lag further and further behind their peers, and will fail to get maximum ROI from their PR budget, however big their PR spend.”