How Content and Social Media are Transforming IT Marketing [VIDEO]

December 14, 2012

Complex, crowded, and competitive ... all adjectives that apply when you’re talking about the technology industry, where marketers vie for the attention of IT decision makers. Content and community hold the key to engaging and influencing these IT decision makers, as marketing experts discussed at the recent LinkedIn TechConnect:12 event, held November 29 in Menlo Park.

As Kim Celestre, Senior Analyst for B2B social marketing at Forrester and myself explained, IT decision makers “jump in and out of the process of studying and choosing technology solutions. They access multiple digital touch points along their purchasing journey.” 

But what these decision makers have in common, as Kim and I said in our presentations, is that social media influences the entire buying process, regardless of when and where the decision makers dip into it. They turn to social media to learn from peers, quickly find information, and connect with vendors in a relevant context.

Given these IT decision makers’ need to glean knowledge from their peers in a community setting, traditional campaigns are falling by the wayside. As Rishi Dave, Dell’s Executive Director of Enterprise Solutions and Business Digital Marketing put it, marketers need to shift away from periodic big campaigns to a constant stream of content. “Content, content, content is the theme of the day,” Rishi said. “You have to reorient your marketing thinking away from the campaign mentality.”

The Value of a Content Ecosystem

These experts agreed that a big part of the solution to the IT marketing challenge is content that’s expertly packaged and shared within a social media framework. Information from brands is the second most-expected content type from LinkedIn members, explained Meera Bhatia, Head of Product Management for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions – so technology companies should feed this need by sharing compelling insights and information.

The beauty of a “content ecosystem,” said David Hahn, LinkedIn’s VP of product management, is that it makes it easy for brands to create and share content and get it to the right people. Not only can executives (and their marketers) highlight their thought leadership on their own Company Pages, Hahn explained, they can dive into conversations on LinkedIn Groups and talk directly to current and potential customers. Content and social connections, David points out, attract buyers and decision makers.

This move away from one-time campaigns and toward social content is all part of what keynote speaker and social media expert Clay Shirky calls “the end of the audience.” Instead of brands talking to audiences, Clay said, we now have social communities where everyone’s interacting. He explained, “In the 20th century, the model of media was that ‘we produce, and you consume.’ Now we’ve got a world where people can produce, consume – and share.”

See more from TechConnect:12 on our SlideShare channel.