The iPhone is good for checking email and sports scores, maybe playing a round of Angry Birds. It’s not the tool for researching a substantial six-figure IT purchase, right?
According to IT provider Softchoice’s recent survey of more than 1,400 people from over 1,200 companies, mobile quickly becoming a preferred method for researching IT purchases. The survey found that 60% of respondents that carried smart phones used them to research IT.
More jarring is how popular mobile IT research is among directors and executives. 44% of managers said they used their phones to research IT while 56% of directors and 54% of executives said they used them for research.
It’s not hard to see a correlation here. Many executives and directors are busy, constantly on the road. It’s not inconceivable that managers more tethered to the office are conducting a lot of research and then passing the sources onto their directors and executives, who in turn research on their Blackberries and iPhones.
Regardless, the high percentage of bosses using their smart phones for research has real implications for IT marketers, Softchoice’s Design and Delivery Manager Joel Marans told me over the phone. “A good percentage are checking their marketing email from their mobile devices,” he said. (Full disclosure: Softchoice is an Eloqua client.)
Indeed, executives and directors are twice as likely to read marketing emails on their smart phones, with 40% saying they do just that. With so many accessing content, data and marketing this way it’s vital that companies make their mobile experience easy and enjoyable, Jonathan Alge, Marketing Automation Lead at Softchoice, said.
The power of mobile isn’t the only useful finding Softchoice produced in its study. Some other key findings include:
- Social media is not for everyone. There’s a correlation in the popularity of social media and business size in the IT world. 34% of respondents from the SMB market said they followed IT brands on social media compared to 22% of respondents in the enterprise market. That makes a lot of sense when you consider that many large businesses block access to sites like Facebook and Twitter at work.
- Video is surging. 57% of respondents said they regularly watched work-related video. That number is even higher – 64% – among directors. “It’s always easier and particularly more entertaining to sit back watch,” Marans said.
- Don’t count out the traditional press. “From an IT perspective, traditional media still contains a good deal of credibility,” Alge said. The numbers prove him out. 25% of respondents said the IT media is the most useful source of information, 17% claiming IT media articles were there preferred means of learning.
Softchoice is already implementing lessons from their research. The company has increased experimentation with video. The organization also added a blog covering Microsoft technology issues since many of its customers use that software, Alge and Marans said.
A way of determining the value of research is whether or not the business producing it is also acting on it. So kudos to Softchoice for taking that all-important step.