Social media vs. traditional marketing

When it comes to making the best use of your marketing time and resources, should you:

  • Send more emails or post more content to your blog?
  • Create a direct mail campaign or run ads on LinkedIn?
  • Host a webinar on your website or a Hangout on Google+?

With so many options, it can be hard to know which marketing methods will keep you top of mind, so IT pros think of you when they’re ready to buy.

The Spiceworks community tackled the traditional vs. social media marketing debate. The marketing and IT pros who responded to this question generally think you need a balance of both to engage IT buyers.

As one Spiceworks IT pro said, “I have never found that a one-dimensional approach in marketing works over a multi-prong approach where you use multiple touch points to reach customers and prospects.”

IT Buyers Use Social Media When Researching Products 

A recent survey from IDG Connect found that 86% of B2B IT buyers use social networks and content when they make purchase decisions. These IT buyers want educational – not promotional – content in their social streams.

The IDG Connecting Conversations to Content study states, “Vendors who are posting only promotional content are not going to be considered in the buying process. Even worse is presenting transactional content as educational because doing so calls into question the validity and accuracy of all education insight offered by the vendor.”

This sentiment was reflected in the Spiceworks discussion. IT pros aren’t likely to respond to Facebook ads asking them to like a company for a chance to win a prize. Instead, IT buyers use social media to get advice and recommendations from their peers.

According to an IT pro, the most effective way to market on social media is to “provide value without being salesy”. He stated, “When you provide people with answers, they will always remember you and will most likely become a fan, friend or follow you.”

Traditional Marketing Must Help … Not Sell 

In today’s age of tweets, likes and shares, traditional marketing still plays an important role.

“I pay zero attention to social media marketing,” says one IT pro.

IT pros think most advertising is noise. However, they may respond to an ad if it’s funny, makes them think or offers useful information.

Just like social media, traditional marketing works better if it aligns with the buyer’s needs and focuses on helping over selling.

One IT pro turned marketer stated that he only buys from companies that use traditional marketing best practices – particularly sending customers handwritten thank-you notes. These small touches can go a long way towards building relationships with customers.   

What Most IT Marketing Is Missing …

Several IT pros in the Spiceworks thread stressed that IT marketers must answer customers’ technical questions … both in social media and in traditional marketing.

“As a marketer to technical people, you need to understand the technical side of the product you are selling,” says one IT pro. “If we don’t get technical answers, we consider the product fluff and not worth our time.” 

This doesn’t mean that you need to know every technical detail about your product. However, you should be able to answer your customers’ top technical questions.

One IT pro said if he saw a marketer post an in-depth technical response, he would “pay attention to that company for my future needs.”

3 Ways To Leverage This For Your Business:

1. Read the post Why IT Buyers Aren’t Responding to Your Content [Insights from SpiceWorld] to see how to make content engaging.

2. Download The B2B Call to Action Cheat Sheet to create a compelling call to action is key to getting your audience to take the next step and move further along your sales cycle.

3. Click to share this article on Linkedin. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.