Struggling with the worst economy in decades, the top 100 advertisers in b-to-b print publications cut their ad spending 17.6% last year to an estimated $589.2 million, down from $714.8 million in 2008, according to data from IMS.
IBM Corp. held its place as the No. 1 b-to-b print advertiser last year, despite decreasing its print ad spending 19.3% to an estimated $40.9 million, down from $50.7 million in 2008.
IBM ran an extensive print campaign as part of its “Smarter Planet” initiative, created by Ogilvy & Mather, New York, which debuted in November 2008 near the onset of the financial downturn.
“We at IBM do not believe as a marketer in making a choice of one medium over another,” said Matt Preschern, VP-marketing, demand programs at IBM. “You have to take advantage of all the marketing vehicles available to you. You have to find the right balance between everything—it doesn't mean one or the other.”
IBM's “Smarter Planet” campaign was a 360-degree effort that included TV, print, online and out-of-home. (The budget was undisclosed.) The campaign kicked off with a series of print “Op-Ads” designed to look like editorial opinion pieces, which ran in major national newspapers and addressed topics such as how technology can improve energy, health care, retail, banking and transportation.
“The "Op-Ads' provided a content-rich point of view about what is happening on the planet,” Preschern said. “It was very different from anything we have ever placed in major publications.”
The second phase of the campaign, which ran last year, included more-targeted ads in b-to-b publications serving vertical industries such as health care, financial services, technology and retailing.
Microsoft Corp., which held its place as the No. 2 advertiser, spent an estimated $20.6 million on b-to-b print ads last year, down 41.6% from an estimated $35.3 million in 2008.
“We go where our customers are, and we go to the media that lend themselves to a particular engagement with our customers,” said David Webster, chief strategy officer at Microsoft. “Print publications continue to be important to our audience, because they engage with [print] a little differently than the way in which they engage with digital media.”
Microsoft usually uses print as part of an integrated program, Webster said. “We are continuing to be aggressive with digital, because you can pull people further through the sales funnel with digital,” he said. “Most of the print publications have robust digital offerings, so we have opportunities to have synergy.”
Last year, Microsoft ran several print campaigns in b-to-b publications, including a broad effort called “It's Everybody's Business,” developed by JWT New York, as well as product-specific campaigns for Bing, its new search engine, and Windows 7.
The No. 3 advertiser last year was Sprint, which increased its ad spending in b-to-b print publications to $19.3 million, up 60.8% from $12.0 million in 2008. The company introduced ed an extensive campaign last year called “The Now Network,” created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, promoting its 4G network launch, as well as more targeted ads for products including Sprint Mobile Integration and wireless data services for small businesses.
Rounding out the top 10 were: CDW Corp., Forest Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer Inc., Verizon Communications, Prudential Financial, Hewlett-Packard Co. and American Power Conversion Corp.
“Print is very important by virtue of the amount of reach and impressions we get,” said Becky Carr, VP-global marketing at Verizon Business. The telecommunications company spent an estimated $14.3 million on b-to-b print ads last year, down slightly from $14.4 million in 2008.
Verizon Business recently introduced a new b-to-b campaign with the tagline, “Altogether better,” developed by McCann Erickson, Salt Lake City. The campaign, aimed at global IT and business decision-makers, was designed to show how Verizon's technologies work together to help solve business challenges for multinational corporations.
Print ads ran in business publications such as BusinessWeek, Forbes and Fortune, as well as trade magazines including CIO, FleetOwner and Healthcare Informatics.
Last year, total ad pages bought by the top 100 advertisers in b-to-b print publications totaled 49,451, down 19.9% from 61,779 ad pages in 2008, according to IMS.
The top advertiser in ad pages was Forest Pharmaceuticals, which bought 1,588 ad pages last year, followed by Dart Transit (1,580), Pfizer (1,495), IBM (1,140) and Alcon Inc. (998).