By Peter O'Neill

Last week, I held my quarterly Forrester Teleconference and discussed my April report on how European tech buyers use social media. Usually, we Europeans are asked to speak twice in the day – once at a convenient time for European audiences and once for our clients in North America. Unusually for an analyst, I hate repeating myself. So I elected to present the European slot in German and present specifically about Germany. This was, I think, a first for Forrester. Of course, we also leveraged the opportunity to get a few prospects listening in and even had several journalists collecting information. Now, not every Forrester analyst can present in German, so don’t expect all of us to do this, but the fact is: We actually have more German-speaking analysts than that other research company. 

Our B2B Social Technographics data shows that German social media activity is really quite heavy: In some categories, the numbers we report show more aggressive behavior than in the US or other countries. After several client meetings where our data was questioned – especially by more experienced marketing executives who themselves are not using social media and expect the same backwardness from their peers – I am now well equipped with backup data that proves our points. So here is what I told the audience about German social media usage by tech buyers:

  • The Information Network Engram (INE) data from Strategic Oxygen, our new subsidiary, supports this data. It is continually researching which information sources buyers are using at different points in the sales cycle, and its latest data includes an impressive list of Web 2.0 sources named by German tech buyers.
  • Germany’s local-language Computerworld, Computerwoche (also run by IDG), also publishes a glossy CIO Magazine. CIO Magazine has a German language social network that includes over 10,000 members. Even if 60%/70% of these are not CIOs but “voyeurs” like you and me, 3,000 CIOs or equivalents is quite impressive. And the 11 different CIO Newsletters are subscribed to by over 100,000 professionals.
  • The German-language equivalent to LinkedIn is called Xing ( with many millions of members. Just browsing among the groups in Xing reveals that there are 3,006 groups under “Internet and Technology.” These include an “SAP” Group with over 22,000 members, one called “IT-Connection” with over 43,000, and “IT Service Management” with nearly 10,000 members.

The curiosity is – most tech marketers do not know this and are not considering the possibilities in their marketing plans for Germany. The tech vendor that develops an effective POST strategy reflecting the German-language behavior of their target audience is going to reap great benefits.

What do you think? Perhaps you represent a company that can show success with social media in Germany. Then I would love to know about you.

Always keeping you informed! Peter