The No. 1 advertiser in b-to-b publications last year was IBM Corp., which spent an estimated $92.9 million on b-to-b print ads, up 12.9% from $82.3 million in 2005, according to TNS.
No. 2 was Microsoft Corp., which spent an estimated $67.4 million, down 16% from $80.2 million in 2005.
The third largest advertiser in b-to-b magazines last year was Hewlett-Packard Co., which spent an estimated $47.3 million, up 10.8% from $42.7 million in 2005.
Rounding out the top 10 advertisers in b-to-b magazines last year were General Electric Co., United Business Media, Sony Corp., Time Warner, CDW Corp., United Internet and AT&T Inc.
"Trade magazines are very important to us," said Noah Syken, manager of U.S. media planning and sponsorship advertising at IBM's corporate marketing group.
"They are playing an increasingly important role as we build capabilities across different industries."
In addition to IT publications, IBM advertises in magazines reaching finance and banking, government, supply chain and human resources professionals.
For example, its "What Makes You Special" campaign, which launched in March 2006, ran in publications including Computerworld, Information Week, HR Executive, Stores and Federal Computer Week.
"This year, many of the trades we have been using will continue to play important roles," Syken said.
However, he added, "The evolution of the digital media landscape will help shape our plans. We want to tap into some of the online communities that are forming around industries and where some of our targets exchange ideas."
He said IBM will look for media partners that are leaders in their categories and can deliver a full range of integrated platforms.
Microsoft also said it is looking for media partners that can provide print, online, events and partnership activities.
"It has become more than just a transactional ad buy," said David Grubb, global media director at Microsoft. "Increasingly, we're looking at what kind of strategy each printed publication has in the digital space. That is a really big piece for us."
Also, he said, "One area we are focused on is extending the impact of the media investment to benefit other areas of the communications mix."
For example, Microsoft is increasingly looking for media partners that can provide lead generation and relationship marketing activities, such as lists, audience research and access to specialized communities.
While trade magazines will remain an important part of Microsoft's marketing mix, the company is shifting more money to digital. According to Mich Mathews, senior VP of Microsoft's central marketing group, the company plans to shift the majority of its ad spending to digital media over the next three years.
Other top advertisers also decreased print spending last year.
GE, the No. 4 advertiser, spent an estimated $30.5 million on b-to-b ads in 2006, down 5.0% from $32.1 million in 2005, according to TNS.
Sony Corp., the No. 6 advertiser, spent about $27.7 million on b-to-b ads last year, down 38.3% from $44.9 million in 2005.
Time Warner, No. 7, decreased b-to-b print spending by 26.7% to $24.7 million last year, from $33.7 million in 2005.
However, there was one huge leap in print advertising by No. 10 advertiser AT&T, which increased its spending on b-to-b print ads from $5.4 million in 2005 to an estimated $23.2 million last year, up 330%.
Following its merger with SBC Communications, AT&T launched a major rebranding campaign with the tagline, "Your world. Delivered," which had a heavy print component.