Has B-to-B Print Advertising Finally Hit Bottom?

According to figures released today by American Business Media and reported by BtoB Media Business, B2B ad pages declined 27.94% in December 2009 compared to December ’08.  Year-end totals fell 28.56% from 2008.  Should we be surprised by this news?  I can’t imagine why we would.  Our clients’ programs certainly reflected the trend.  Virtually all the media we placed on their behalf in 2009 was online.

Throughout 2009 and entering 2010, B2B marketers have been looking for results.  Tangible, measurable and bookable results, primarily in the form of lead generation.  Results more likely to be generated by paid search and online advertising than by print advertising.  But don’t count print out.  Although we seem to hear about another print magazine title failing with each passing week, there are some indications the situation is stabilizing.  In a study released last week by Forrester Research, spending with B2B print magazines is actually expected to increase by a single percentage point this year.  While this doesn’t compare to the 9.2% growth expected for interactive spending, it may indicate B2B print advertising has finally hit bottom and may be poised for some sort of rebound, or at least stabilization.  

The Forrester results also indicate that B2B marketers do still believe in an integrated approach to marketing, with 72.5% of the respondents saying that multiple media formats used together were “extremely or somewhat effective.”  Roughly half that total indicated that a single media format was equally as effective. Adventive Marketing has been promoting the benefits of integrated marketing communications for more than 25 years, and we believe in it now more than ever.  

So, as the economy stabilizes and business improves for B2B marketers, objectives will likely shift from strictly short-term survival to long-term positioning and growth – objectives better suited to a print effort.  We suspect print advertising too will stabilize and experience some degree of re-birth.  Heck, we’ve already placed as many print ads in 2010 as we did in all of ’09.  It’s a start!


Love the article, Jude! Below is a link to research that supports what our readers have been telling us for years.



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