What Sources Do IT Execs Trust?

3 08 2009

Where to IT Executives look for brand information when looking to make a technology decision?  There is an interesting survey done by PJA, and advertising and marketing agency, in late 2007.  PJA IT Social Media Index results.

Which Sources are Most Trusted

First, PJA found that when asked what sources of information they trust the most (ranked either #1 or #2 most trusted), IT executives chose:

  • 47% chose User-generated content (blogs, discussion groups, online communities, wikis)
  • 44% chose Vendor Web sites
  • 41% chose Trade magazines and editorial Web sites
  • 36% chose paid analyst research

Source:  MarketingCharts

A couple of observations

  • It’s interesting that UGM/CGM has surpassed the professional opinions of editorials and paid industry analysts.
  • It’s also interesting that vendor Web sites are still one of the most trusted sources of information.  Vendors should take this trust seriously.  Once lost, it can be difficult to impossible to regain.

What’s Missing Here

It seems odd that the advice of professional friends and peers is not on this list.  Most other surveys of this type suggest that advice of peers is the most trusted and  influential source of all.  In fact, the survey results go on to say that:

  • IT Decision Makers and Influencers spent the most time online per week with: Discussion Groups, Peer-to-Peer Networks, and Profiles/Social Networks (over things like blogs, wikis, podcasts)
  • More than half of IT Decision Makers and Influencers consider it important or valuable to reach out beyond personal contact to peers.

I’m guessing that the advice of peers and professional contacts was considered a separate category for some reason in the methodology of this survey.

Conclusions

  • The word of professional peers and industry contacts is very important in IT decision-making.
  • UGM/CGM has surpassed the traditional media (at least according to this survey).
  • Vendor sites are still trusted.  This makes it all the more important to keep the discussion factual and honest with minimal spin.

As always, it is important to “trust but verify.”  Check with your customers and customer prospects.  What do they trust?  What do they spend their time reading?

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