Marketers operating in the business-to-business (B2B) realm have seen a steady uptick in dollars dedicated to marketing over the past year. According to April 2013 research from American Business Media (ABM), a B2B industry association, 29% of US marketers reported increasing their B2B advertising budgets over the preceding 12 months, while 59% said outlays had remained about the same. Only 9% indicated they had decreased at all.
These decision-makers saw no significant change forthcoming in the near future. Almost half of marketers expected B2B advertising budgets to increase in the next year, while almost the same number thought spending would remain roughly the same.
B2B marketers now rely on three main channels in order to reach their audience: traditional print media, newer digital avenues and trade events. Marketers responding to ABM’s survey saw a clear trend towards an increase in budgets for digital channels. For example, 45% expected to increase search engine advertising spending, while 43% foresaw an increase in mobile advertising, and 41% an increase in e-newsletter ad spending. In comparison, only 27% anticipated an increase in face-to-face event sponsorship, while 32% anticipated a decrease in print advertising.
That’s not to say that B2B marketers are abandoning print and event-based marketing for digital avenues. In fact, digital channels still take a back seat to in-person events in substantial ways: Marketers rated face-to-face event attendance and face-to-face event sponsorship as the top two methods of developing awareness of new products and services, as well as generating targeted leads.