Word of Mouth, Web Influence SMB IT Purchasing, IDC Finds

Under increasing economic pressure, small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the United States are using more diverse information sources to first learn about IT products, technologies and suppliers. Despite the growing use of the Internet as a source, word of mouth still receives high mentions by SMBs, according to a new study from IDC.

Word of mouth was most often cited by SMBs surveyed as how they initially become aware of IT products, technology and suppliers. However, vendor Web sites and word of mouth tied for first place as a source of more detailed information.

SMBs 2.0 companies, however, were most like to mention online sources for becoming aware of and gathering information.

“A major challenge for providers of advanced technology products and services is how best to reach the 7.9 million SMBs in the United States,” said Merle Sandler, research manager for SMB Programs at IDC. “SMBs use multiple information sources, so technology providers need to develop an effective promotional portfolio to ensure visibility in the places where SMBs turn for IT information, bearing in mind that their preferences vary by business size, vertical industry, and attitude cluster.”

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