B-to-b media companies from International Data Group to Northstar Travel Media to Penton Media are betting heavily on marketing services.
The question remains, however: How desirable do b-to-b marketing executives find marketing services offered by media companies, especially when compared with those offered by advertising agencies?
A recent study by Media Business, “What Marketers Want from their Media Partners,” set out to answer this question. The research was presented last month at the ABM annual conference in Austin, Texas, where marketing services was the main topic of discussion.
Ultimately, the study found that b-to-b marketing executives place more value on the marketing services they receive from traditional advertising agencies than they do on the marketing services they receive from media companies. About seven in 10 (68%) of b-to-b marketing executives said agencies offer more value in this area than media companies, according to the study.
The survey, conducted online with 280 b-to-b marketing executives in April, found b-to-b media companies, many of which are readying campaigns to move more aggressively into marketing services, will have an uphill battle wrestling business away from traditional marketing communications agencies.
At the same time, the survey revealed a genuine opportunity for b-to-b media companies if they focus on their strengths—particularly audience knowledge—and tailor programs for individual marketers.
More than half of b-to-b marketers recognize business publishers as marketing services providers. The study showed that 55% of marketers have used b-to-b media companies for marketing services in the past 12 months.
Of the top four drivers marketers cited for using marketing services from publishers, three were related to audience: No. 2 was audience reach (49%); No. 3 was audience knowledge (36%); and No. 4 was audience composition (26%). (No. 1 was return on investment at 66%).
The data show marketers tend to use business media companies for specific audience-related marketing services tasks. For instance, 53% of respondents said they have used media companies for lead generation in the past 12 months; 51% for banner ad creation; 50% for print ad creation; and 47% for email marketing.
Marketers say the services that deliver the most value when offered by a media company are: lead gen (38%), print ad creation (32%), search engine optimization (32%), banner ad creation (31%) and email marketing (31%).