Top 100 B-to-B Print Advertisers

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Faced with a worsening economy and an increasing shift to digital media, the top 100 advertisers spent $814.3 million on ads in b-to-b publications in 2008, down 4.6% from $853.3 million in 2007, according to spending estimates from Inquiry Management Systems.

The top advertiser in b-to-b magazines last year was IBM Corp., which spent $51.6 million, down 13.8% from $59.9 million in 2007, according to IMS. No. 2 was Microsoft Corp., which spent $37.2 million, down 22.0% from $47.7 million. The third-largest advertiser was Hewlett-Packard Co., which spent $30.3 million, down 5.0% from $31.9 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were: CDW Corp., American Power Conversion Corp. (APC), Dell, 1&1 Internet, Time Warner, Verizon Communications and Sony Corp.

IBM, while continuing to incorporate print advertising in its integrated marketing, is shifting more of its budget to digital, said Diane Brink, VP-marketing, global technology services at IBM. “The whole area of digital is our biggest expenditure,” she said. “While print is a factor, it's not a major one.”

IBM used print ads in several integrated campaigns last year, including “Voice of the Business Partner,” which was designed to help IBM's channel partners reach small and midsize businesses. The campaign, developed by Ogilvy North America, New York, ran in publications such as Channel Pro, CRN and VARBusiness.

IBM also used print ads in an integrated effort for its BladeCenter servers, called “Out With Cables, In With Blades.” The campaign, also from Ogilvy North America, ran in publications including Computerworld, eWeek and InformationWeek.

Microsoft also shifted more of its media budget to digital in 2008.

“Digital media is an increasing priority for Microsoft,” said Mich Mathews, senior VP-central marketing group at Microsoft. “Since 2007, we have been increasing our digital media spend as part of the marketing mix, with a goal to shift the majority of our advertising budget to digital channels by 2010.”

Microsoft used print advertising in broad branding campaigns as well as more targeted efforts last year.

To kick off the largest enterprise product debut in its history, Microsoft last year launched a $150 million integrated campaign with the tagline “Heroes happen here,” aimed at software developers and other IT professionals.

The campaign, developed by McCann Erickson, San Francisco, included print and online ads.

Microsoft also launched a print and online campaign called “Vista World,” to promote the features of its Vista operating system to small businesses. The campaign, developed by Bradley and Montgomery, Indianapolis, ran in print publications including BusinessWeek Small Business and The Wall Street Journal.

Some of the largest b-to-b advertisers dropped down in the ranking in 2008 as they slashed their print budgets.

Time Warner fell from No. 5 in 2007 to No. 8 last year, as it cut its spending 20.1% to $16.7 million. General Electric Co., which moved from No. 10 to No. 11, spent $13.7 million last year, down 11.0% from 2007.

Ad pages in b-to-b publications also dropped last year, though only by 1.5% from 2007. According to IMS, the top 100 advertisers purchased 69,358 ad pages in 2008, down from 70,449 pages in 2007.

The top advertiser in total number of ad pages was DART Transit (2,127 pages), followed by IBM (1,762).

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