This year's growth should be strong

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I have great news: 2006 has the potential for the largest growth since the bubble burst five years ago as all signs point to robust overall b-to-b marketing spending.

First, I cite BtoB's December study, which found 60% of 350 marketers surveyed plan to increase budgets this year, with over 40% increasing budgets by more than 10%. This marked the first time in four years of doing this survey that a majority said they would increase budgets. This is very big news, coming on the heels of gains in 2005.

Also, a recent Wall Street Journal study of economists found that most believe corporate capital investment will continue to grow this year, taking up the slack from an expected falloff in consumer spending.

What can be better news than the economy finally depending on growth in business spending?

Let's keep in mind that this means that more dollars will be spent on b-to-b marketing overall-not just print advertising, but in-person, online and direct mail. In fact, more than 70% of those surveyed by BtoB said they would increase their online spending. So clearly, further investments in online product and audience develop-ment are essential.

While none of this is surprising, it all confirms what most of us have said all along. B-to-b media will always come back, as we provide the best channels for reaching major customers.

My prediction is that b-to-b print pages will continue to grow at a moderate rate this year, and online will once again continue to grow at over 20% for most of us.

Bob Felsenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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