The main conclusion of the research, conducted for Reed Elsevier by Martin Akel & Associates, Chester, N.J., is that magazines, their Web sites and vendor Web sites play major roles as sources of information at different stages of the purchasing process.
"These media are not in opposition to each other; they are complementary to each other," says Martin Akel, president of the research firm.
Along the buying spectrum
Specifically, in the early stage of the purchasing process, defined in the study as when buyers are becoming aware of suppliers and forming perceptions, magazines play the dominant role as an information source for buyers looking to stay current on suppliers and technology.
Trade magazine Web sites take on importance as buyers/specifiers move into the middle purchasing stage, or the time when companies are defining specific project initiatives. The research shows that buyers visit magazine Web sites to identify a range of products and suppliers for their current project.
Vendor Web sites play an important role in the middle phase as well, but their real value comes in the advanced stage of the purchasing process, when companies are ready to buy. At this stage, buyers are looking for product line specs and applications.
This study is a follow-up to research conducted in 1996 for the Chilton Manufacturing Group, Radnor, Penn. Last year, Cahners Publishing Co. merged with Chil-ton Business Group to form Reed Elsevier Business Information, Newton, Mass.
Among other findings in this month's survey:
The mailed survey was conducted in July 1997 of 1,500 people in the Chilton Engineering MasterFile. There were 531 returns with three undeliverable for a response rate of 35.4%.
Reed will hold two free seminars on the new research March 16 during the National Manufacturing Week Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. To register, contact Reed Elsevier's Jim McMenamin at (610) 964-4493.