The B2B Media Landscape Continues to Evolve

In a new study released last week by Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), e-media spending in the B2B sector is expected to finally surpass print by 2013.  Titled “Communications Industry Forecast 2004-2014,” the VSS report projects print spending will drop another 11.2% to $7.22 billion this year, and will continue to drop at a compounded annual rate of 4.8%.  By 2014, B2B print spending is expected to be just $6.36 billion, down a whopping 38.5% from 2004’s $10.34 billion.

Conversely, e-media continues to increase, with 2010 spending expected to total $4.78 billion – an increase of 8.7% over 2009. Growth is expected to increase on a CAGR of 12.8%, reaching $8.03 billion in 2014 (26.3% more than projected print spending).

Despite all the doom and gloom and talk of trade shows being dead, VSS predicts renewed growth (4.2% CAGR) beginning next year, with spending reaching $15.53 billion by 2014.

Overall, B2B media is expected to experience a CAGR of 3.5% between now and 2014.  Good news, but barely good enough to make up for 2009’s collapse.  VSS predicts it will take every bit of that time for overall B2B media spending to reach 2008 levels.

Although most of this seems to simply confirm the trends we’ve all been experiencing, I have to say a couple of the reports findings actually surprised me.  First, I’m rather shocked that print media is still expected to outpace e-media by more than 50% this year, particularly given the fact that print currently represents less than 10% of our clients’ combined media spend.

I’m also a little surprised to see that trade show spending is expected to rebound as well as predicted.  It seems everyone we speak with is having more and more trouble justifying the expense.  That said, marketers do still seem to allocate large percentages of their budgets to trade shows.  Looking at two big shows that are just around the corner, BtoB Magazine reports that despite being down between 3% and 13% respectively, show management for the upcoming IMTS Show and Pack Expo think things could be a lot worse.  According to Jim Pittas, VP of Trade Shows at the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (which runs Pack Expo), “We’re working a lot harder to get the same results. But getting the same results, or even being 1% down, is a big win. I don’t think I’ve worked harder in my life than the last two years.”

I guess regardless of how media dollars get allocated over the coming years, the real themes are the same for all of us: working harder to do more with less; justifying every expense; creating new ways to combine news marcom tools with the old ones to engage customers more deeply.  These are challenging times, indeed.  But that’s what makes this fun, right?  The rules are changing, and we can all have a part in changing them!


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