The internet has profoundly changed the way that American’s shop. Not only do we have the option to buy on line, we also have the ability to research products and services like never before. Even shopping for a used car isn’t what it used to be because it is so easy to find out what similar vehicles are selling for nearby. We’re also less dependent on advisers like realtors and insurance agents because we can access much of the same information that they can.
Of course this doesn’t just apply to our consumer purchases. The way we research and buy things that we need for work has changed as well. This is particularly true for enterprise technology purchases. I’ve always been a little bit jealous of Gartner’s business model, but the days of $20,000 a year subscriptions for technology research may be numbered.
Peer to Peer
Today’s technology buyers have many ways to get information about software solutions and vendors. There are a host of review sites including G2Crowd, GetApp, TrustRadius, Spiceworks and Serchen, that take a “Yelp” like approach to software decisions.
"Just as review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and Amazon have become ingrained in consumer decision making, business software review sites are becoming a critical information source for technology buyers who crave unbiased insights,” said Vinay Bhagat, CEO of TrustRadius. It's easy to foresee a future where accessing in-depth peer reviews will be an integral part of every software evaluation process."
People are also very well connected to peers through social networks and can easily seek advice from those that they trust. Wisegate takes this to the next level, using social and matching technologies to connect members with the most relevant peers and content with an algorithm that predicts and recommends the most relevant content and peers for members based on their projects, profile and interactions on Wisegate.
Another factor in the diminishing influence of analysts is that more and more technology buying decisions are made by departments other than IT. In fact, Gartner even predicted that by 2017, CMOs would spend more on technology than CIOs. We’re well on our way to that reality already. Leaders in other departments are less likely to turn to research organizations that are considered to be focused on IT.
What does this mean for PR professionals? Analysts are still trusted sources of information for some decision makers, so they shouldn’t be ignored. However, it might be wise to start worrying as much about how to encourage your customers to recommend you to their peers as you do about where you sit on the magic quadrant.
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