Giants cut staff, not ad spending

Make way for CRM

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Uncertain economic times lead CFOs to pressure CMOs to justify their budget requests in minutiae. That could mean that this year, b-to-b marketers will increasingly opt for CRM software programs over less-quantifiable traditional advertising campaigns.

Both specialist b-to-b technology companies and big ad agencies will respond to the trend, said Denise Garcia, research director-interactive advertising at Gartner Group Inc. "Use of CRM tools will increase, and marketers will see more tools, not only from [major CRM vendors] but ad agencies as well," Garcia said.

Internet advertising usage will be spared some of the traditional advertising slowdown because it, too, is quantifiable, said Rudy Grahn, analyst of online advertising strategies at Jupiter Media Metrix. "I would expect that online advertising might face less cuts because it is more measurable," Grahn said.

What remains uncertain is whether the continuing economic downturn will lead b-to-b companies to scale back their advertising this year and beyond. If the experience from previous economic slowdowns is any indication, that is a real possibility.

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