20 of the biggest influencers on US CIOs

Chief Information Officers in the US spend billions of dollars on IT products and services every year. Just about every IT company from across the world are trying to sell to them and yet we know so little about the places they go and the people they turn to get information. A basic Google search such as “which media is read most by US CIOs?” reveals very little.

At Apollo Target we have just completed a research program that has identified the top 300 people, media and organisations that grab the most attention from over 3,000 US based CIOs. We’ve compiled the research into a 43 page report which is essential reading for anyone whose job involves selling or marketing to this high-spending audience.

This blog reveals some of our top-line findings all of which are explored in much greater detail in the report:

Within the report we break the 300 down into 20 separate categories. The table below shows:

  • The categories – arranged in order of the number of CIOs they reach.
  • The number of influencers in each category
  • The top influencer in each category together with the percentage of CIOs that follow them (the report includes full rankings for each category).
  • Target Relevancy Index (TRI) – the higher the number the more likely that the content is designed specifically for the CIO.

Using this information you can see that Harvard Business Review is read by more CIOs than TechCrunch. On the other hand, looking at their respective TRI scores we can see that CIOs regard HBR‘s content as being slightly more relevant to them than TechCrunch‘s content.

One surprise (until, that is, you see the quality of the content she publishes) is Martha Heller, the CIO recruitment expert. Martha has the second highest reach of all the people listed in the report reaching an exceptionally high 9.3 per cent of the CIOs in the sample and she is only beaten to the top spot by Vala Afshar at Salesforce. Again the TRI scores offer a further (and unique) perspective, which will be of huge value to marketers. While Vala Afshar merits a more-than-respectable TRI rating of 7, Martha Heller scores a maximum 10. This reflects the fact that her content output, Twitter follower / following base and day-to-day focus revolve around the CIO community.

Perhaps surprisingly, there are only 10 technology analysts that make the top 300, but leading the way is Michael Krigsman of CxO Talk. Michael’s published content is heavily directed towards the CIO which is why they are so attentive to his output.

The biggest group in the 300 are the ‘CIOs and IT Management’ category. Led by Chris Curran, Chief Technologist at PwC. There are 59 other CIOs followed closely by their peers. The Target Relevancy Index (TRI) scores in this group are very high, and experienced CIOs like Russ Finney at itmWEB not only have a bigger following than more well known names such as, for example, Robert Scoble at Upload VR, but also publish content which is more targeted to the CIO.

So how does all this translate into CIO mind-share?

Below is a diagram showing which of the categories that Apollo Target monitors occupies the biggest part of the CIOs mind. We’ve left out all the fun stuff like politics, sport, celebrities, etc. (you can see these in the report), but it gives a good indication as to what the CIO pays attention to in their professional lives.

As you can see, the greatest attention is given to technology news and news coming out of technology organisations. These two, when combined with technology writers, account for 22.6 per cent of the total mind-share. Business, general and other (mainly verticals) news sources account for 16.1 per cent of mind-share.

Bearing in mind the increasing importance of security to the enterprise, we were surprised by how few security specialists the typical CIO follows. An explanation for this could be that serious security issues and news find its way into the technology press pretty quickly, so the imperative to follow people like Brian Krebs is probably not as urgent as it would be for the CISO.

The report is an essential information source for anyone involved in selling to CIOs based in the USA. Whether your role is comms, marketing, social media, advertising, sponsorship, events organisation, etc. this report will make your life easier and help you do your job better.

The report is available from our website but please feel free to email me at richard [at] apolloresearch.com or leave comments here if you have any questions regarding this research.