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Does b-to-b media work anymore?

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The votes are in: B-to-b media works!

Yes, you knew it. I knew it. But lately, the buzz has been that business print media have been replaced, and that advertising in trade books, and even on Web sites, really doesn't work.

Well, that conventional wisdom is now debunked, thanks to Harris Interactive, which conducted a very thorough study of business decision-makers, looking into both their information reading habits and their product researching habits. American Business Media commissioned the study.

The study found that readership of b-to-b trade books did not take a dive since it was last studied in 2001. In fact, it went up among business executives, with the percentage of those reading more than four magazines in the past month increasing from 83% to 86%. Meanwhile, the percentage of executives visiting more than seven b-to-b Web sites in the past month stayed the same at 68%.

When it comes to researching new purchases, b-to-b Web sites ranked highest in early stages (66%); b-to-b magazines ranked third (50%), right behind salespeople (52%).

And finally, executives concurred that advertising works, with 77% stating that they used ads in b-to-b magazines to find out more about a product or service, and 57% saying the ads caused them to make a purchase.

So the next time someone says no one reads trade books anymore or that advertising doesn't work, send them the study. I urge you to go to www.americanbusinessmedia.com and download the complete study. Don't believe what you have been hearing.

Bob Felsenthal can be reached at bfelsenthal@crain.com.

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