I'm astonished -- according to research firm IDC, the corporate world is embracing instant messaging with a fervour. Just 5.5 million businesspeople used IM in 2000 (probably all interns and webmasters), this year the number has increased nearly four-fold to 20 million business users. IDC expects that to climb sharply to 60 million next year, and 120 million the year after as it hits the corporate mainstream.
Roughly 50% of Americans use instant messaging from their home computers now, so this makes sense.
I see this as an exciting opportunity for a B2B marketer to break through email clutter and get their message out in a whole new way. Advertising via instant messaging... perhaps offering a branded "instant alerts" service for stock changes or a personalized biz headlines service ... Or maybe just having your customer service/tech support reps be available through IM to show how responsive you are for the customers who buy big ticket items. Way cool.
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