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Your User Reviews Are Your Key to Optimizing Your Google Search Rankings

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

Why are user reviews an asset to enterprise tech marketing strategy? Not only are user reviews a brand awareness tool that allow your users to illustrate how and why your solutions are impacting their workflows, user reviews can maximize your SEO rankings and get more eyes on your product.

The SEO Success Factor: Just ask VMware vSAN

When “hyper-converged infrastructure reviews” is typed into Google, VMware vSAN’s blog post, entitled “Advice from Real Users Who Have Transitioned to Hyper-Converged Infrastructure” is the second result out of 698,000.

vmware virtual san

How did VMware vSAN succeed in being Google’s #2 search result for those looking for “hyper-converged infrastructure reviews”? On IT Central Station’s website alone, the Hyper-Converged Infrastructure category boasts 25 different vendor solutions. In other words, the competition is fierce.

The Real Answer: User Generated Content

Potential buyers of Hyper-Converged Storage solutions turn to peer reviews written by real users, or in search engine terms, they search for “Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Reviews”.

These reviews from real users are effectively firsthand accounts and sources of feedback for all the product details that enterprise consumers are looking for — in a non-biased, informative, and helpful manner.

What Current Users Say About You = What Your Potential Users Search For

Because these reviews are written by real users who have tried out the solution and can speak of their experiences with the concrete terminology that consumers are searching for (i.e. “scalability”, “improvements to my organization” and “ROI”), review content also includes the exact keyword phrases found in the potential buyers’ search queries.

Integrating User Reviews Into Your SEO strategy

Not only does user review content make it easier for potential users to find the information they’re looking for about your solution, user reviews give potential users the type of information the seek. Going back to our initial example, when enterprise tech professionals embark on reading Hyper-Converged Infrastructure reviews, VMware vSAN’s user-generated review content is a go-to search result for Google to respond with. 

When it comes to decision-making, the more pointed, relevant, and useful information your existing users provide, the easier it is for potential users to have their questions answered about which enterprise technology is the best fit for their company needs.

What B2B Enterprise Tech Marketers Can Learn from Sean Ellis’s “Hacking Growth”

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

How can B2B enterprise tech marketers benefit from Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown’s latest book, Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success, in order to transform their enterprise tech companies into larger-scale, rapidly expanding businesses?

Early on in the book, Ellis and Morgan specify that growth hacking is not just a tool for entrepreneurs, as “it can be implemented just as effectively at a large established company as at a small fledgling start-up…it is designed to work on the largest scale (company-wide) or the smallest scale (a single campaign or project).”

Before we dive into actionable insight(s), how does Sean Ellis define his self-coined “growth hacking” term, and what does it mean?

Growth Hacking: “the methodical, rapid-fire generation and testing of new ideas for product development and marketing, and the use of data on user behavior to find the winning ideas that drive growth.”

At its core, the growth hacking process consists of a recurring, four-pronged cycle:

b2b enterprise tech marketers

(Image source: growthhacker.com)

As enterprise tech marketers, how can we maximize the power of growth hacking?

Which user behavior data should we look for, and how will it benefit our marketing efforts?

 

 

The Practical Steps of Growth Hacking

LogMeIn’s Conversion Success Story

Initially, Ellis shares that from its offset, LogMeIn was an “ingenious product”, which is what warranted his (implemented) suggestion to “pivot” LogMeIn “from a paid to freemium model in an effort to differentiate the service from its fierce competitor, GoToMyPC.”

But after the freemium model was exposed to potential customers via thorough marketing efforts, such as costly ad spending, (not to mention repeated testing of the ad copy, keywords, and advertising platforms,) the low numbers in customer acquisition, or as Ellis describes it, “woefully low conversion rates”, did not generate a positive ROI.

In order to figure out what was going wrong, how could behavioral data explain why users weren’t converting to a freemium, highly useful product? What’s more, how could the marketers and engineers involved leverage user data to not only raise the conversion rate, but to scale up their user base, too?

Ellis shows us firsthand how each step of the growth hacking method positioned LogMeIn to prove the real potential of its offering;

  • Get feedback from users:

When the decision was eventually made to ask users via email why they initially signed up for the freemium service but then weren’t using the service, the collective response was simple: “people didn’t believe the service was really free.”

  • Implement the feedback:

After many marketing and design iterations, one strategy finally worked: adding a simple link to “buy the paid version”, which resulted in the conversion rate tripling. 

  • Delve (deeper) into user behavior data:

Next, as more users were successfully converting, an even bigger drop-off rate among users was revealing itself; yes, more and more users were downloading, but this only increased the number of users who were downloading the LogMeIn service and then not using it.

  • Implement the findings:

Now that they had the behavioral data in their palm of their hands, the experimenting began:

The marketing and engineering teams kept repeatedly changing the steps of the software’s installation process and sign-up steps, and testing the outcomes.

Finally, when the teams landed upon an installation process that proved to work best, the search ads that were once ineffective had now become cost-effective — scaling the software’s profitably at over 700%.

Not only were the company’s low conversion rates nursed back to health, its growth was scaled beyond expectation.

As Ellis concludes, “the solution had been found in just weeks, using a recipe that included healthy doses of out-of-the-box thinking, cross-company collaboration, and problem solving, real-time market testing and experimentation (conducted at little or no cost), and a commitment to being nimble and responsive in acting on the results.”

No User Left Behind

Once an enterprise tech marketer can gather enough user feedback that will identify why a marketing campaign isn’t performing well enough, he must do all he can to reap every possible fruit of this insight;

He implements the feedback and digs into the behavioral data as deeply and as quickly as possible. He’s made it his duty to notice everything about his users — and act on every finding.

As a growth hacking marketer, his motto has become: ‘No user left behind!’

Fine-tuning Growth Hacking for B2B Marketing

This past May, Observer Innovation’s Ryan Holiday interviewed Sean Ellis in “Dropbox’s Growth Guru Sean Ellis on What Everyone Misses About ‘Growth Hacking”. One of Holiday’s final questions to Ellis was:

“Growth hacking is pretty straightforward for B2C companies. How do you apply the framework to B2B businesses?”

Ellis answered:

Growth hacking is important for both B2B and B2C. In both cases, you have a customer journey that generally crosses multiple teams and a process of experimentation across that journey is important for driving customer and revenue growth.

One important difference is that B2B usually has a lower volume of prospective users in the funnel so you generally can’t run as many lower funnel experiments...

Often B2B experiments will be to drive distribution for content or a free version of a product, and then additional experiments are needed to drive prospects from these funnels into the premium product funnel or to figure out how to turn new customers into long-term users.”

Growth Hacking Long-Term Users

Keep Users. Happy. Repeat.

Ellis also brings the example of Evernote’s Smile Graph, which “shows that the longer people use Evernote, the more likely they are to continue using it.”

Image source: techcrunch.com

Way back in 2012, Nir Eyal described Evernote’s Smile Graph as ‘building behaviors instead of building apps.’

Evernote’s Smile Graph is built on the premise that “your service’s usefulness improves over time” — the longer you use Evernote as your note-keeping product, the more of your information is stored there, and the more inclined you are to re-download it to access your ideas and notes, as well as add to your existing collection.

The Power of Stored Value

Otherwise known as “the opportunity to capitalize on the power of stored value” in order to “increase retention over time”, whether B2B or B2C, companies cannot solely rely on the smile graph’s intrinsic growth pattern to guarantee that “customers will continue to be actively engaged.”

Growth Hacking User Feedback

So how can you get the user insights you need to growth hack your B2B Enterprise Technology offering?

Start by gathering user feedback in the form of case studies, user testimonials, and product reviews, and use it as your basis for digging deeper into your users’ experience.

Beneath the surface lies your users’ behavioral data — indicating patterns and guiding you towards identifying what your offering’s stored value is, and how you can leverage (aka growth hack) these experiences.

Growth hacking tools in hand, the ultimate duty of the B2B enterprise tech marketer is to be constantly giving his users a reason to keep coming back to what he’s offering — and to always be sticking around for more.

Read now:
  • 17 B2B Tech Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2017Read our post.
  • How to Leverage Social Media to Amplify Your B2B User Reviews — Read our post.

17 B2B Tech Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2017

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

Our list of 17 B2B tech marketing influencers handpicks industry pioneers of 2017. These influencers specialize in areas such as revenue-building strategies, community-building, customer advocacy and engagement, content strategy initiatives, and product marketing.

  1. Lynn Vojvodich @lvojvodich ‏ 

Lynn Vojvodich is the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Salesforce, where she has developed and led growth and innovation strategies for more than 20 years, primarily in the enterprise software industry.

In her current role as CMO, Lynn leads the global marketing organization and is responsible for driving market leadership, global awareness, demand generation, strategic events and communications for salesforce.com.

  1. Roland Smart @rsmartly

Roland Smart is the VP of Social & Community Marketing at Oracle, where he oversees Oracle’s user communities and advocacy program and manages acquired marketing technologies (e.g. Compendium) for the Corporate Marketing group.

Examples of Roland’s work include The Agile Marketer: Turning Customer Experience Into Your Competitive Advantage, as well as publications on rolandsmart.com, Forbes.com, iMedia and other publications. Roland speaks at industry events such as the ad:tech, The Social Media Optimization Conference, Modern Marketing Experience, Oracle OpenWorld, and SXSW.

  1. Richard Millington @RichMillington

Richard Millington is the Founder & Managing Director of FeverBee Limited. Founded in 2007, FeverBee is a team of “community veterans” consultants who have developed a training course, and published the most popular community-building book, Buzzing Communities, which is “widely cited as introducing best practices into developing successful online communities.”

Since 2004, Richard has “helped to develop over 150+ successful communities, including those for Google, The World Bank, Oracle, Amazon, Autodesk, Lego, The United Nations, Novartis, and many more.”

  1. Ardath Albee @ardathalbee

Ardath Albee is the CEO and B2B marketing strategist for her consulting firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. Ardath’s modus-operandi is to help her clients “create persona-driven, digital content marketing strategy with compelling content platforms that contribute to downstream revenues.”

Examples of her work include eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, and Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results.  

  1. Carter Lusher @carterlusher

b2b tech marketing influencersCarter Lusher is an analyst relations (AR) professional at Informatica, where his main focus is driving top-line revenue growth. Carter is also a co-founder, Chief Research Officer, and Master Strategist at SageCircle.

Carter earned the “Analyst of the Year” honors twice during his seven-year tenure with the Gartner Group. At Gartner, Carter developed services for support strategies, where he “concentrated on all aspects of delivering customer service and technical support for both outside customers and internal end users.”

  1. Sam Whitmore @SamWhitmore

Sam Whitmore is the founder and editor of Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey, where he provides tech media analysis and consulting to tech PR pros and media buyers.

Recent examples of Sam’s work include Inc.com’s Inc. Wants Contributors and Invests in Them, The Next Web’s “Contributed Content Challenges at the Next Web”, “Contributed Content: Copy Tips”, Media Survey’s “Contributed Content Gatekeepers: The Directory”.

  1. Emily Miller @Emily_S_Miller

b2b tech marketing influencersEmily Miller is Senior Director of Brand & Audience Marketing at NetApp, where she directs integrated marketing campaigns and programs “built upon a centralized content model.”

Examples of Emily’s marketing campaigns and programs include Brand Strategy & Research, Integrated Marketing Programs, Account Based Marketing, Content Development & Distribution, and Creative.

  1. Lawrence Hecht @lawrencehecht

Lawrence Hecht is an Analyst, Research Director and Infomediary at Lawrence Hecht Consulting, where he produces research reports about IT markets.

In 1999, Lawrence created the Internet Public Policy Network (IPPN), a network of subject-matter experts that provided customer research, white papers, and advice about technology-related public policy issues.

Lawrence’s most recent work includes “voice of the customer” surveys for the 451 Research and TheInfoPro, which address enterprise IT B2B markets such as Cloud Computing, Data Analytics and Information Security.

  1. Davin Wilfrid @dwilfrid

David Wilfrid is the Senior Manager of Customer Advocacy at QuickBase, an app development platform whose value proposition is to “unify IT and business to quickly and easily build and maintain scalable productivity apps.”

At QuickBase, Davin drives “strategic initiatives through customer engagement, customer success, sales, marketing, and product development.”

Recent examples of Davin’s publications include How to Develop The User-Generated Content (UGC) Your Brand Desperately Needs, among others.

  1. Ann Lewnes @alewnes

Ann Lewnes is the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Adobe.

At Adobe, Ann is described as having led the marketing organization’s pioneering to digital, as she enabled them to deploy a “comprehensive set of digital marketing solutions, establishing an insight-driven culture, and setting a template for marketing’s strategic impact on business.”

Ann currently serves on the boards of Mattel and the Ad Council. In 2015, Ad Age named Ann to The Creativity 50, a list honoring the most creative people of the year.

  1. Bill Lee @bill_lee

 

Bill Lee is the Founder of the Center for Customer Engagement, a “community of top-tier corporations” built around customer advocacy and engagement. The Center for Customer Engagement’s clients include: Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com, CA Technologies, and more.

Bill’s book The Hidden Wealth of Customers, published by Harvard Business Press, was called “one of the most insightful business books I’ve read this year” by Forbes Online’s Dorie Clark. His annual Summit on Customer Engagement is the longest running, most respected educational conference in the world in the field.

 

  1. Scott Brinker @chiefmartech

Scott Brinker is the Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer at ion interactive, an interactive content platform that “provides the scalable foundation to grow from one interactive experience to one thousand interactive experiences.”

At ion, Scott oversees product development and technical operations, where he also specializes in helping marketers “implement innovative post-click marketing.”

Scott also runs the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog, which “covers the intersection of marketing and technology” and boasts an audience of 40,000 readers, mostly mid-to-senior level marketers, and marketing technology experts.

Mark is also the program chair of the MarTech conference series, an international conference series for “senior-level, hybrid professionals who are both marketing- and tech-savvy: marketing technologists, creative technologists, growth hackers, data scientists, and digital strategists.”

  1. Wendy Perilli @wendyperilli

Wendy Perilli is VP Corporate and Digital Marketing at Druva Software, a cloud data protection and information management solution.

Previously, Wendy worked as the Senior Director of Global Campaigns and Americas Marketing at ServiceNow, where she onboarded and led a marketing team who delivered 134% of the pipeline number across nine campaigns worldwide.

Wendy has also served in various executive positions across corporate, channel, product and demand generation marketing at HPE Enterprise, OpTier, VMware, and Mercury.

  1. Jack Marshall @JackMarshall

Jack Marshall is a Marketing & Media Reporter at The Wall Street Journal. Jack was previously a staff writer for Digiday and a reporter for ClickZ.

Some of Jack’s latest Wall Street Journal stories include: Ad Blockers Say They Won’t Be Replaced By Google Chrome Ad Filter, Google Will Help Publishers Prepare for a Chrome Adblocker Coming Next Year, and Facebook Tool Handles Media Companies’ Video Ad Sales.

  1. Yuval Dvir @DvirYuval

Yuval Dvir is Head of EMEA Online Partnerships at Google Cloud. Yuval has been at Google since 2014, where he served as Head of Strategy, Change & Product Operations, Ads.

Since January 2016, in his role as Head of EMEA Online Partnerships, Yuval has been helping “organizations change and transform by adopting a lean, agile and modern way of working, powered by Google’s Cloud and App infrastructure.”

Yuval previously worked as Director of Business Transformation at Microsoft, and as Senior Manager of Product Strategy & Operations at Skype.

  1. Robert Rose @Robert_Rose

Robert Rose is the Chief Content Adviser for the Content Marketing Institute.

Over the last five years alone, Robert has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100. He’s provided marketing advice and counsel for global brands such as Capital One, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, and others.

Robert’s most recent book, co-authored with Joe Pulizzi, Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing has been called a “treatise, and a call to arms for marketers to lead business innovation in the 21st century.”

  1. Mark Organ @markorgan

Mark Organ is the CEO at Influitive, where he helps “companies mobilize their advocates to produce massive increases in referral leads, reference calls, social media participation and more.”

Previously the founding CEO of Eloqua the “world leader in marketing automation software which was acquired by Oracle for $871M, Mark has helped over a dozen companies “successfully go to market in asymmetrical or disruptive ways.”

If you’re interested in B2B tech marketing, follow IT Central Station CEO @RussRothsteinIT and IT Central Station’s Twitter feed @ITCenSta for up-to-date news and user reviews.

Looking forward to connecting!

 

Did we leave anybody out?

Tweet us @ITCenSta to let us know if you think we missed a B2B tech marketing influencer.

Read now:
  • ‘What is IT Central Station?’ — Learn about us here.
  • What B2B Enterprise Tech Marketers Can Learn from Sean Ellis’s “Hacking Growth” Read our post.
  • How to Leverage Social Media to Amplify Your B2B User Reviews — Read our post.

How CA Technologies Leveraged IT Central Station to Increase Brand Awareness and Generate High Quality Leads

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

Why Peer Reviews Matter To CA Technologies

CA Technologies, formerly known as Computer Associates International, Inc. and CA, Inc., is an American multinational publicly held corporation headquartered in New York City. It ranks as one of the largest independent software corporations in the world. The company creates systems software (and previously applications software) that runs in mainframe, distributed computing, virtual machine and cloud computing environments.

B2B Reviews in Enterprise Tech Marketing Strategies

CA Technologies sought to solidify the role of B2B reviews into their marketing strategies, recognizing the importance of peer recommendations in driving product awareness, consideration, and user conversion.

They chose to engage with the enterprise technology community of IT Central Station, a crowdsourced social platform where users write in-depth product reviews and discuss technology solutions they use.

Why IT Central Station?

CA Technologies started working with IT Central Station in order to drive their potential buyers to the authentic, valuable feedback given by peers in the tech community.

IT Central Station is the leading review site for enterprise technology buyers. All reviews are in-depth and include both valuable features and room for improvement. All IT Central Station reviews are triple validated to ensure authenticity.

Within days, CA Technologies found that buyers were leveraging IT Central Station in their decision-making.

CA Technologies on IT Central Station

Currently, CA Technologies has 91 solutions listed on IT Central Station, with a total of 1,066 CA Technologies product reviews. These reviews have been viewed over 150,000 times this year, impacting thousands of buyers on their user journey.

In-depth Product Reviews

b2b reviews

CA Technologies product reviews entail user input such as ‘How Has this CA Technologies Solution Improved Your Organization?’ and ‘Where Do you Suggest Room for Improvement in this CA Technologies Solution?

Comprehensive Video Reviews

IT Central Station attended CA World in both 2015 and 2016 to collect quality user reviews in video-interview format:

CA Technologies

CA Product Rankings

In IT Central Station’s category rankings, which are compiled based on number of views, comparisons, number of reviews, and product scores based on user feedback, CA Technologies solutions rank as the #1 solution in the following categories:

API Management

Mainframe Management

Mainframe Security

Mainframe Application Development

Event Monitoring

Test Data Management

Release Automation

Workload Automation

Service Virtualization

Project Portfolio Management

Network Troubleshooting

Network Management Applications

Infrastructure Capacity Planning

License Management

“IT Central Station is an extension of our marketing efforts.”

This statement was made by Cameron Von Orman, SVP Product Marketing at CA Technologies.

Von Orman elaborates on how CA Technologies leveraged IT Central Station to “confirm the capability of our products in the Enterprise IT market” —

“The IT Central Station peer review platform creates a no-pressure environment for our customers to provide honest feedback that their peers in the technology industry are much more inclined to trust. Peer reviews are an increasingly valuable part of a buyer’s journey.

CA is now well represented on a neutral and unbiased channel where the capabilities and quality of our solutions are demonstrated through the reviews of our users, who are solving real, complex business challenges.

The reviews and competitive comparison reports have not only helped us confirm the capability of our products in the Enterprise IT market, but have also helped with our lead generation, making these services an extension of our marketing efforts.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with IT Central Station, and utilizing the range of complementary services that they have to offer.”

Interested in learning more about IT Central Station?

Click here for more information about how we can help your marketing efforts in 2017.

Free Webinar- How User Generated Content is Changing the Marketing Game

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

Missed our free webinar? IT Central Station is delighted to have hosted a free webinar with three of the biggest names in enterprise technology marketing. Our three guest speakers gave actionable insights into how to incorporate user generated content into your marketing strategy.

On Wednesday 29th March 2017,  our CEO, Russell Rothstein was joined by:

  • Roland Smart, VP of Social and Community Marketing at Oracle
  • Emily Miller, Senior Director, Brand and Audience Marketing at NetApp
  • Wendy Perilli, Senior Director, Global Integrated Marketing Programs at ServiceNow

Missed it? Register now to listen for free 

 

Meg Whitman, Dianne Green, Ginni Rometty, And Others Who Rocked It This Week in Enterprise Tech

by Russell Rothstein Comments: 0

I’m just back in the office after a knock out week in the Bay Area last week. Spent it meeting a number of our customers in the valley and also at the Summit on Customer Engagement which IT Central Station sponsored. Besides that, there was a whole lot of other interesting developments in the enterprise tech space, many of which were announced by some of the female titans in tech today. Fitting for a week that included International Women’s Day:

Meg Whitman, CEO of HPE, announced that HPE bought Nimble Storage for $1B. Great move by HPE as the enterprise flash storage market is on fire, and Nimble was trading at a low price due to some recent earnings misses. Whether this was an opportunistic move or a strategic one, I think this will be considered one of Meg’s top moves at HPE to date. Among the top enterprise all-flash array vendors, Nimble Storage has a 9.1 ranking (based on 35 Nimble Storage reviews), which is higher than EMC, NetApp, or HPE 3PAR.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty announced with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff a “landmark” strategic partnership between Salesforce and IBM. It’s all about adding predictive intelligence from IBM Watson into the Salesforce platform which sounds to me more about vision than short term business for either company. After putting on this PR show, Salesforce announced shortly thereafter that it missed its expected earnings and sales forecasts, due to greater competition from other cloud software providers.

Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud, and Bernd Leukert, an executive board member for SAP products and innovation, announced that SAP has partnered with Google to deliver SAP HANA on Google Cloud Platform. It’s a big win for both SAP and Google. It gives SAP more credibility in its movement to cloud, and it gives Google enterprise chops as it doubles down on the enterprise market (for example, Google’s new Hangouts for Enterprises.)

CA Technologies continues its acquisition spree in the DevOps market. CA President and Chief Product Officer Ayman Sayed announced that CA had bought Veracode. Veracode is most often compared to HPE Fortity, Checkmarx, and WhiteHall Sentinel by IT Central Station reviewers. In a review of Veracode, an IT Central Station member writes “Veracode is not cheap, but it is a tool capable of giving dynamic, static and even manual scan results in one platform. Veracode is one of very few options out there, and the very best.” In terms of room for improvement, he writes that it is lacking “to be able to upload source codes without being compiled. That’s one feature that drives us to see other sources.” Read all Veracode product reviews here.

 

Why Peer to Peer Content is King for Enterprise Technology Marketing

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

According to Forrester, 74% of B2B buyers are doing more than 50% of their purchasing research online. A recent study done by Gartner also revealed that 68% of a customer’s buying time is spent away from the actual vendor.

Prior to making a purchase, shoppers and potential buyers look to sources other than the company bio or sales rep to get their product information. This is why peer reviews are the major source of information for most consumers today, and have become the ‘smart shopper’s’ “man on the inside.” Peer reviews enable buyers to get a firsthand view of how a product works, its level of quality, and the various features or components being offered — all without actually buying the product.

 

Why Peer Reviews Resonate with Enterprise Tech Professionals

Consumers see peer reviews as their filter between what the companies want you to believe and what’s accurate about the products or services being sold. This is particularly true for the technology sector, where services or products can easily be hyped up by a skilled marketer, neglecting the buyer’s need for an accountable assessment of features such as speed, integration, and functionality, each of which can only be accurately evaluated through actual experience.

The Gartner research was conducted with enterprise buyers, and indicates that while the peer review trend may have started in the B2C sector, this reality is now just as relevant for B2B companies, and enterprise buyers are regularly using peer reviews as their major purchasing influencer.

Peer reviews are not flawless, though. More prevalent among the technology industry than in the consumer world at large, customers scrutinize online reviews before accepting the material provided as fact. For this reason, there is a growing demand for peer reviews that come from trusted sources, and represent factual and helpful input.

 

peer reviews

 

What IT Central Station Provides to Software Buyers

In our current data-driven and content-consuming generation, the tech industry is steadily adapting to expectations for information that’s not only available on-demand, but is also filtered and validated before readers start devouring it. Peer reviews written by like-minded, authentic users are well-aligned with the standards had by software buyers today.

IT Central Station is the leading enterprise technology review site, the “Yelp” of Enterprise Technology, with a community of 160,000+ technology professionals. Our user reviews are collected from enterprise tech events, conferences, and one-on-one interviews with tech professionals. With an average of 400 words per review, all reviews and user-generated content are validated by our triple-authentic process, and manually assessed for relevance and usability to the enterprise tech professional.

 

Enabling Well-Rounded Decision Making

With relevant information, accurate reviews, and concise reports, buyers are more equipped with the tools they need to make a well-rounded purchasing decision.

Additionally, IT Central Station distributes your content across relevant social media channels, forums, and industry blogs where your potential buyers are actively browsing. This way, your products are seen in several places, expanding your reach, increasing brand awareness, and giving each of your reviews/products more credibility in the enterprise tech industry.

IT Central Station is Proud to be a Media Partner at the Green Data Center Conference

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

The 8th annual Green Data Center Conference is now open for registration.

Register Now for Early Bird Pricing at #GDCON 2017

IT Central Station is proud to be a media partner at the Green Data Center Conference, taking place Feb. 21-23, 2017 in La Jolla, CA.

Early bird registration is now OPEN for the 8th annual Green Data Center Conference 2017 until January 27th. This event is being held on February 21st-23rd at the San Diego Supercomputer Center in La Jolla, CA with the option to attend two live data center tours – free of charge.

Every year, the Green Data Center Conference gathers the best and the brightest speakers in the data center industry to present best practices and featured corporate case studies, including eBay, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Cox Communications, EnergyStar, Groupon, and Ecolab.

#GDCON is the leading data center conference for energy efficiency and green building, with a program saturated with high profile case studies, valuable networking opportunities, and complimentary live facility tours. This conference assembles engineers, analysts, architects, facility designers, sustainability managers, researchers, corporate executives, investors, and industry thought leaders to discuss latest trends in data center retrofits and how to measure innovate strategies for improved efficiency.

This year’s event will focus on implementation of energy efficiency strategies, emerging design trends, renewable energy procurement, and strategies to meet green standards efficiently.

Featured Speakers Include:

  • Serena DeVito, Data Center Engineer, eBay Inc.
  • Brett Illers, Sr. Program Manager of Energy & Sustainability Strategy, Yahoo! Inc.
  • Kevin Donovan, Data Center Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Kelly Shea, Global Critical Sustainability Engineer, LinkedIn
  • Harmail Chatcha, Global Data Center Operations & Architecture, Groupon
  • Emilio Tenuta, Vice President of Corporate Sustainability, EcoLab
  • Richard Von Scherr, Sr. Director of Critical Facilities and Infrastructure, Cox Communications
  • Sara Cederberg, LEED Technical Director, U.S. Green Building Council
  • Tod Sword, Economic Development Consultant, Southern California Edison
  • Robert Huang, Data Center Design Specialist, Energy Star

Use IT Central Station’s exclusive discount code: ITGDCON20 for additional savings.

How to Get your Users to Write Awesome Reviews For You

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

Why Do You Need B2B User Reviews?

As the leading review platform for B2B enterprise technology reviews, we understand the importance of user reviews in the B2B space. Not only our own research, but research by the industry’s leading technology analysts asserts the importance of user generated content.

According to Forrester research, 74% of B2B buyers are doing more than 50% of their purchasing research online. A recent study by Gartner also revealed that 68% of a customer’s buying time is spent away from the actual vendor.

According to the Salesforce blog, “word-of-mouth recommendations from peers influence over 90% of all B2B buying decisions.”

But do buyers really trust peer content they read online? The numbers speak for themselves: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

Peer Reviews and the Buyer’s Journey

Are peer reviews only useful for top-of-the-funnel marketing, or can they play a part in other marketing strategies further down in the buyer’s journey? As you can see below, according to research by RO:Innovation, customer reviews play a huge part in influencing buyers through every stage of their journey.

b2b user reviewssource:roinnovation.com

How can software vendors rise to the challenge of providing potential buyers with B2B reviews that not only answer their questions of “Is this software right for my company needs?”, but also answer questions such as, “Why is this solution the best option among its competitors?”

How can you collect user reviews that help your prospects at every stage of their journey?

How To Collect Real User Reviews
Collecting real reviews for potential buyers can present some challenges. Not all users are willing to write a review, and dealing with internal compliance regulations can make the process difficult.

One of the big advantages of external review sites is that users can review your solutions without having to comply with company policy. This means that it is both easier to find users who are willing to share details of their experience, and also that users can be more honest and open than if they were providing a corporate case study.

What Potential Buyers Want to Know

Another challenge, once you’ve found users willing to give reviews, is knowing which questions potential buyers want answers for.

For example: Are readers most interested in your pricing model? Do they expect full disclosure of your technical support offering? Are scalability and stability the primary ‘must-have’s on their checklist?

Having helped many enterprise technology companies collect user reviews from their users, we’ve written up a quick and easy guide to help you get the best reviews from your users. 

How to Get Awesome Customer Reviews: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Where to Find Users 

At Your Conferences or User Events
By approaching users at your conferences or at events for reviews, you are targeting users who are already knowledgeable about your solutions and will have valuable feedback to share. You can also take down their feedback face-to-face, rather than rely on email or phone feedback, which can be more time consuming for your users.b2b user reviews
Via Customer Advocacy Programs
By tapping into your customer advocacy programs, you can connect with users who are not only experienced with your solution but also willing to share their feedback with others.

Via your Support Team 

Your users who have had positive interactions with your support team are a great source of positive feedback. They can also add room for improvement that your customer advocacy program users may not be able to give you.

Find happy users online

Monitor your brand online with tools like Google Alerts and Mention. Not only can it help you understand where users aren’t happy, but it can also help you identify users who love your solution and who you can potentially reach out to for user reviews.

Step 2: What to Include in your B2B User Reviews

Ask users what they find valuable about your solution. Their answers may surprise you and can provide invaluable information for your product team.

Example: When asked “What do you find valuable in IBM Spectrum Protect?”, CTO Carsten Dan Petersen writes:

“The smallest entry level sized installation can easily grow to large enterprise usages and be migrated across platforms.The product is very client-oriented which supports a lot of different platforms and products, and only have to be upgraded approx. every five years to maintain support.”

Ask users which solutions they have also evaluated. This information can give you great competitive information, and can also influence the potential buyers reading your user reviews.

Example: When asked “Did you consider any other solutions besides VMware vSAN?”, an Infrastructure Manager answers:
We looked briefly at alternatives, but nothing stood out like vSAN. Nutanix was another solution, but surprisingly, it would have cost us more..

Ask users how and where you can improve your solution. Not only is this information very valuable for your product team, it also makes your reviews more believable. Users don’t trust five-star reviews that only say good things about a product.

Example: When asked “Where do you see room for improvement in Tableau?” Data Analysis Team Leader Yali Pollak answers:

Tableau lacks machine learning algorithms that you can implement using R, SPSS Modeler, and Python.It has clustering and time-series forecasting abilities which are helpful, but adding machine learning capabilities like decision trees, CHAID analysis and K-means would make this product perfect!”

What about users who wish to remain anonymous?
Some users may be happy to give feedback, but can’t because of their own corporate compliance policies. One way around this is to allow users to give reviews either with their full details or anonymously. By giving users this choice you will collect a wider range of user reviews, which can be used as a tool throughout your marketing materials.

What are your users saying about your solution?

Sign in to IT Central Station to read what real users have to say about your solution.

How to Leverage Negative User Reviews to Increase your ROI

by Julia Frohwein Comments: 0

At least 60% of technology software shoppers turn to product reviews for information during their buying process, which is why peer-based product reviews are so essential to a company’s success. What many marketing managers don’t realize is:

It’s not just the positive reviews that are yielding good results; negative reviews can boost your ROI, too.

In a recent study by the Journal of Consumer Research, negative feedback that is correctly-worded leads to increased higher conversion rates. One site noted that companies who had 10-30% negative reviews received 10% more leads than companies with solid, 5-star reviews.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should start scrambling for angry customers and poor reviews. As you can imagine – it’s not as simple as that!

So, how can you leverage negative user reviews into ROI?

Here are 3 lessons for enterprise level technology marketers to leverage negative reviews not only for boosting their customer feedback, but also for increasing conversions.

Lesson #1: Learn from the Best: Your Users

While nobody enjoys criticism, intelligent companies view criticism at face value: an honest and authentic appraisal of how their product is performing and received by users. Negative reviews give your marketing team invaluable insight into what you are doing right and into what you’re doing wrong — from the most influential and pertinent source of all: your users.

Business in today’s tech industry need to utilize agile marketing techniques for constant improvement of their products. In the technology sector, if you aren’t advancing, you are undergoing a speedy demise of outdatedness.

Because negative reviews are specifically generated by your niche audience, these reviews not only help your company by highlighting the areas that need improvement, they provide the most relevant and useful form of feedback.

Utilizing these insights will help you to:

  • Tailor your product to the changing demands of the public
  • Hone in on the shortcomings
  • Craft an applicable plan for improvement.
Lesson #2: Seize the Opportunity for Communication

Any comment made by a customer, even if it’s negative, opens a line of communication between your audience and your company. This is a golden opportunity for you to obtain brand awareness, positive PR, and product insight.

By responding directly to negative feedback, your company shows customers that they are being listened to. Contrarily, ignoring feedback of any sort can portray your business as one that that doesn’t value its customers.

Market research has shown that customers who were responded to ‘correctly’ after a negative experience were much more likely to recommend that business to friends later on.

‘Correct’ Responses to Negative Feedback include:

  • Validating the complaint
  • Asking questions for clarification
  • Apologizing (but without giving excuses or being defensive)
  • Offering solutions
  • (Always) thanking the customer for their time

An interaction that follows the above guidelines will generate positive feelings on the part of the customer as well as create a great image for potential customers in the future.

Lesson #3: Foster Authenticity

When looking to authenticate a brand, consumers look out for the negative comments that supplement the positive ones. When a potential buyer sees a company that boasts hundreds of positive reviews without a single negative comment, they automatically assume the feedback is fictitious. Why? Because no one product offering is flawless, and negative feedback indicates that companies are sincere in their efforts to honor their users’ perspective and improve their product offering.

Furthermore, seeing negative feedback on a website gives customers the impression that your company is an honest one. After all, you have the ability to reject or delete negative comments. By leaving up these less-than-flattering reviews, you show your potential buyers that you are prepared to deal honestly, even if there is a little discomfort on your part in doing so.

With a community of more than 190,000 reviewers, triple-validation for all user reviews, and multiple avenues for gathering feedback, ITCS provides the highest standard for enterprise technology reviews