ABM/ANA study: Marketers to cut print, boost social media spending

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More than two-thirds of b-to-b marketers plan to decrease spending on print advertising in the next “two to three years,” according to the recently released “B-to-B Marketing Leadership Study.” On the other hand, the same study found that 67% of b-to-b marketers plan to increase spending on social media in the same time frame. Additionally, 64% said they planned to boost digital spending. The study was conducted jointly by American Business Media, the Association of National Advertisers and consulting firm Booz & Co. The research is part of ABM's strategic plan, which calls on the organization to work with other associations in the “media and information services ecosystem.” One of the specific goals of this research is to help b-to-b media companies grow their businesses in this time of transformation of the industry. The study was conducted online earlier this year and included the responses of 132 marketing executives in such industries as energy, manufacturing and technology. Marketers such as Con-Agra, FedEx Corp., IBM Corp. and Siemens participated in the study. ABM said 71% of the respondents were from the services sector and 29% from the manufacturing sector. A previous ABM study, known as the ABM/Booz study, developed the theory that most b-to-b media companies should choose between two paths to generating revenue: Marketer-driven solutions involve b-to-b media companies in generating most of their revenue from advertisers, while end user-driven solutions create revenue by charging end-users for access to information. The “B-to-B Marketing Leadership Study” is aimed at b-to-b media companies following the marketer-driven solutions path. The report shows that print advertising revenue is not a growth area for b-to-b media companies, but the research also indicated that there are areas where marketers are increasing their budgets. Matt Egol, a Booz & Co. partner who led the research, identified several places where those intersected with the services offered by b-to-b media companies. In the study, b-to-b marketers identified a handful of marketing objectives that Egol believes fit well with the offerings of b-to-b media companies. In particular, 87% of study respondents agreed or strongly agreed that “building deeper insights into their client base” was an important marketing objective. A large percentage of marketers also agreed that the following were important objectives: * Developing custom content (82%). * Building client contacts for business development (76%). * Engaging regularly with clients to build relationships (74%). Egol said b-to-b media companies are well-positioned to help marketers achieve these objectives. The study found that marketers identifying themselves as leaders in b-to-b marketing are moving into digital efforts faster than self-identified laggards. For instance, 78% of marketing leaders agreed that developing innovative marketing activities around e-platforms was an important objective, while 53% of nonleaders agreed. Similarly, 57% of marketing leaders agreed that engaging with clients via social media was important, but just 41% of nonleaders agreed. •
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