U.S. ad spending down 9% in 2009 COMDEX to return as virtual event Most direct marketers boosting their budgets Pro-Comm Awards rebranded as B2s RBI merging Mardev, DM2-DecisionMaker Morgan Stanley selects Martin Agency as AOR Small businesses up use

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U.S. ad spending totaled $117.0 billion last year, down 9.0% from 2008, according to a report from Nielsen Co. Fourth-quarter ad spending declined 2.0% from the same period in 2008, reflecting a slowing of the decline, Nielsen reported. “Most of the top advertisers showed increased spending late in the year,” said Terrie Brennan, senior VP-new business development at Nielsen. “These are encouraging signs for an ad market that's still trying to stop the bleeding.” Categories showing increases last year were Spanish-language cable TV (up 32.2%), cable TV (14.8%), free-standing-insert coupons (11.5%) and Internet display advertising (0.1%). Those hardest-hit were local Sunday supplements (down 44.9%), b-to-b magazines (down 32.7%), national magazines (down 19.3%), national newspapers (down 13.7%) and network TV (down 9.9%). United Business Media announced last week that it plans to relaunch the famed technology trade show as a virtual event that will take place Nov. 16-17. UBM purchased the COMDEX brand as part of its acquisition of MediaLive International in 2006. Before it was shut down after the 2003 event, COMDEX attracted about 200,000 visitors and 2,300 exhibitors annually. UBM's Everything Channel unit will oversee the virtual COMDEX. More than half (51.2%) of direct marketers plan to increase their marketing budgets this year, according to the Direct Marketing Association's Quarterly Business Review. The report, published in conjunction with Winterberry Group, was based on an online survey of 451 direct marketers conducted in December and January. Just over one-third of marketers plan to keep their budgets flat this year, the survey found. Also, marketers continue to shift dollars into digital marketing channels, with both e-mail and search showing stable or growing invest-ment in the fourth quarter, compared with the same period in 2008. The survey also found that 68.3% of direct marketers kept their staffing levels even in the fourth quarter, compared with the third quarter. The Business Marketing Association has rebranded its annual Pro-Comm Awards as the B2s and has expanded the scope of the awards program. The awards recognize business marketers for innovative global brand strategy, customer marketing strategy, integrated internal and external marketing communications strategy, e-business strategy, new media strategy and successful new product and service introductions. The awards will now also honor marketing activities targeting audiences, including employees, sales forces, channel partners, government, consumers and financial analysts. Business publisher Reed Business Information announced it will merge its Mardev data services division and DM2-DecisionMaker list management unit. The new database and marketing analytics unit will be called Mardev-DM2. Morgan Stanley has selected the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., as its agency of record, following a review. The previous agency was Ogilvy & Mather New York. The account is estimated at $40 million, according to a report in Advertising Age, a sibling publication of BtoB. Small businesses are adopting social media marketing at twice the rate of a year ago, according to a study by digital marketing services company Network Solutions and the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. According to the organizations' most recent “Small Business Success Index,” social media usage among businesses of fewer than 100 employees increased to 24%, up from 12% a year earlier. R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. agreed last month to acquire Bowne & Co., which offers digital printing service for the health care, financial and other industries, for $481 million in cash. Bowne generated about $675 million in revenue in 2009. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.
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