In a sign that the ad economy is recovering, the top 100 advertisers spent $6.2 billion on b-to-b ads in 2003, up 17% over 2002, according to a BtoB analysis of data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
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Telecommunications companies led the pack of top b-to-b advertisers in 2003. Verizon Communications maintained its No. 1 ranking, followed by Sprint Corp., SBC Communications and AT&T Wireless. All four of these companies boosted their ad spending in 2003 over 2002.
"I think we are beginning to see a turning point for the telecommunications industry in general," said Joe Laszlo, senior broadband analyst at Jupiter Research. "The big telecom companies are increasing their marketing to business customers, and they are trying to find ways to take advantage of other services."
Laszlo added, "It's not surprising that Verizon is at the top of the list. They have been very aggressively moving into the enterprise market."
Verizon increased its b-to-b ad spending by 10.5% in 2003, to approximately $353 million, according to data from TNS/CMR.
"The business customer is an important segment for us," said Monte Beck, VP-business marketing communications at Verizon.
In 2003, Verizon launched b-to-b campaigns for data services, bundled services and broadband services. The data services campaign was aimed at the enterprise market and was developed by ad agency McGarry Bowen, New York.
The bundled services and broadband services campaigns were aimed at the small- and midsize business market and were developed by Draft Worldwide, New York.
All the campaigns used Verizon's corporate tagline "Make progress every day," and included TV, print, online and direct mail.
"We believe we benefit from an integrated media mix," said Beck, noting there were no major shifts in media allocation between 2002 and 2003.
Computer hardware and software companies also dominated b-to-b ad spending in 2003. Microsoft Corp. moved into the No. 5 position from No. 7 in 2002, followed by Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp. Microsoft boosted its b-to-b ad spending by roughly 31% in 2003, to about $253 million.
Rounding out the top 10 advertisers were InterActiveCorp, United Parcel Service of America and American Express Co.
American Express moved up from No. 18 in 2002 to No. 10 in 2003, increasing its b-to-b ad spending by 55% to roughly $121 million.
Other financial services companies that boosted ad spending in 2003 were Visa International (up 8%), Citigroup (up 107%) and Mastercard International (up 24%).
Cisco Systems was another strong b-to-b ad spender during the year, boosting its spending to $60 million, a 284% increase from $15.6 million in 2002. Cisco moved from No. 101 in 2002 to No. 27 in 2003.
The top b-to-b Internet spender in 2003 was InterActive Corp., which owns Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Ticketmaster.com, LendingTree.com and other e-commerce sites. InterActive spent $44.5 million on Internet advertising in 2003, up 64.1% from 2002.
Other top Internet ad spenders in 2003 were Hewlett-Packard, which boosted its online ad spending by 32.6% to $33.5 million; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which increased online spending by 15.2% to $33.3 million; and Orbitz, which spent roughly $23.4 million on online advertising, up 18.6% over 2002.
Microsoft decreased its Internet ad spending by 3.2% in 2003, according to the TNS/CMR data. Other computer hardware/software companies that cut their Internet ad spending in 2003 were Gateway (down 9.4%), Intel Corp. (down 23.1%) and Oracle Corp. (down 50.7%).
The leading media category for total b-to-b ad spending in 2003 was local newspapers, with $1.3 billion in b-to-b ad revenue, up 33.9% over 2002. The second-strongest media category was network TV, which generated nearly $1.1 billion in b-to-b ad sales in 2003, up 3.5% over 2002.
B-to-b magazines generated a total of $841.5 million in 2003, up 4.2% over 2002.
In terms of growth, the strongest media categories were syndicated TV, which saw b-to-b ad sales grow 73.6% in 2003 to $78.7 million; Sunday magazines, which grew 63.4% to $40 million; and the Internet, which grew 25% to $440.4 million.