After a relatively flat couple of years, advertising and promotional budgets among business-to-business marketers are on the rise again – at least according to a recent study by eMarketer, which notes that B2B media spending in the U.S. has increased an average of 6 percent each year since 2005. The report projects a continued progression at that pace through 2010. We agree with this perspective and see a number of reasons for it:
Overall, the economic train keeps on chugging. Despite the relatively high price of fuel compared to recent years, growing trade deficit, housing market drop and uncertainties surround the war in Iraq, the American economy keeps moving along – and B2B marketers are, like all consumers and purchasers, along for the merry ride.
We at NOISE don’t think it’s so much cheery optimism that’s increasing budgets as much as it is the sense that, after taking a lot of punches that were assumed would be haymakers (remember how much media doom and gloom surrounded the notion of $3-a-gallon gas?), our economy is pretty resilient. So roll up your sleeves and get back to work.
The greening of business. There’s a whole new line of marketing in the green movement, and a lot of new, green business opportunities from real estate development (Green Building) to retail (Free Trade clothing). Turning green is an initiative that many marketers are embracing, be it for the many right reasons or for pure posturing. Either way, there’s budget required to do this and every little bit helps. In the end, many businesses are realizing that going green is good business (read: profitable).
The explosion of new media. Probably the most direct cause of the increase in B2B spending is the wave of new media opportunities, some of which aren’t even that new anymore. From pay-per-click to e-blasts, constantly-evolving web sites to the blogs, virtual communities to e-commerce. B2B marketers, like all marketers, need to play in these many sandboxes. Specifically fueling this growth is online ad spending, which has increased approximately 25% annually over the last two years, giving more traditional media a real run for their money. Projections point out that online media spending will continue to increase roughly 20% each year through 2010.
Make sure you’re shooting at the right target. Another reality of B2B Marketing is targeting the right people on the corporate chain who are making the buying decisions in a very fragmented market. In can be argued, that many decisions in this realm are being made by the C-Suite. So, marketers are being forced upstream and understand that it can take a wide net to impact an executive vs. middle management.
In the end, the conclusion is simple – B2B Marketing is more competitive than ever and it’s being lead by savvy marketers at some great companies who are able to cast a wide net and utilize a litany of media channels to do so. Just remember, strategy and quality can defeat size and perceived strength – so, be smarter than the competition, do something different and do it the very best that you can.
John Sprecher is chairman and chief creative officer of Noise Branding Communications, a multi-media branding communications agency with offices in Milwaukee and Sanibel, Fla.