Nearly Half of B-to-B Marketing Spending Now Online, Says New Survey
A joint survey by Hearst Electronics Group and Goldstein Group Communications (GGC) of business-to-business marketers indicated that nearly half of all b-to-b marketing spending -- 47 percent -- is spent today on online marketing techniques.
The survey was conducted via e-mail this past August and September with b-to-b marketing executives throughout North America.
"The survey's goal was both simple and straightforward," said Hearst VP Publishing Director William Barron. "Identify how companies are allocating dollars, what's working and, most importantly, why. The most advanced marketers today build balanced programs that incorporate multiple points of contact with their targets, from print to online to shows to direct. The survey reinforced that budgeting shouldn't be a search for the 'magic bullet' but instead must follow a disciplined and proactive strategy."
Barron added that print advertising remains the "single largest program in the budget for an important reason. Research from all the main trade publishing companies, including Hearst, Reed and the online firm Techinsights, shows that prospects spend a majority of their time in print when researching products and suppliers. The key point for marketing today is that it is an 'and' not 'or' world, meaning that customers use both print and online tools."
"This type of data reveals best practices among business marketers at a time of tremendous flux," said GGC President Joel Goldstein. "The sense of urgency to move to online marketing has been felt by leading marketing organizations for some time now, but the extent to which budgets have been re-defined is dramatic. While traditional media still play a role in building a balanced program, clearly online spending for webcasts, search engine marketing and generating online content are now seen as the primary drivers of branding and lead generation for most companies." Goldstein noted that it's likely the increased pressure for program measurability and accountability in 2009 budgets is also a factor in pushing programs to more online spending.
Ninety-nine e-mail questionnaires were completed. One-quarter of survey respondents were from large corporations with revenues of $151 million or greater; nearly a third, or 31 percent, were from smaller marketers with annual revenues at $10 million or less.
While the survey queried marketing executives on sales channels strategies, barriers to growth, and other 2009 plans, the survey's main conclusions centered around budget patterns for marketing communications expenses.
"When Web development, search engine marketing and webcasts are combined, marketers today are spending 47 percent of total budgets on online tactics," said Goldstein. "This includes online video and social media, which are very small portions of the budget today but are expected to grow rapidly during the next few years."
Search engine marketing currently consumes 11 percent of budgets, when including organic as well as pay-per-click programs. Direct marketing is still a player in b-to-b spending, at 12 percent total, evenly split between e-mail and direct mail marketing. Trade shows continue to represent a large portion of marcom budgets at 17 percent, according to the survey.