I once had “CIO Influencer Marketing” in my title and people used to ask me “What’s that?” and my cheeky response was usually “Buying CIO’s a few drinks at the bar.”  The conversation then always went down the path of talking about who actually influences a CIO.

I recently had a series of conversations with the members of a CIO Advisory Council I run.  We had a discussion around who (besides the obvious members of the decision making unit and other C-level folk) they turned to for advice.  Did they listen to industry analysts?  The said yes, but mainly for context or to back-up a decision they had already made.  What about industry pundits, journalists, experts, did they go to them for advice?  Again, the answer was that they would use them if needed to support a decision they had already made.  “So who do you talk to?”, I asked one of them.  “Those guys over there” was his response as he pointed to the other CIO’s on the council.

OK, it’s hardly a scientific study but I did read a great post by Don Bulmer at SAP on how Influencers rank by size of company that backs this up.  For larger companies, peers have the most influence.

As a person who’s getting new technology out to market, I took away a key point about how this applies to getting a meeting with a CIO.  CIO’s don’t want to talk to you but they might talk to another CIO.  If you’re at a big company, get your own CIO on board and have him or her get you some sales meetings.  If you’re at a startup, figure out how to get a CIO (or two) to help you.  That could be the CIO of a customer you already have or someone on your advisory board or board of directors.

And when it comes to Influencer Marketing, Duncan and Nick over at Infuse that know way more about this stuff than I do.   Check them out.