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B2B Marketers Move Ad Spending Online

It's not a niche anymore. Nearly half of B2B respondents report that they have used online marketing tactics this year.

"The B2B Digital Marketing Shift" study, conducted for American Business Media (ABM) by Forrester Research, interviewed 867 B2B marketers from a number of industries to gauge their views, and current practices, on brand building, lead generation and market spending. The findings indicate that the online channel is continuing to grow.

First and foremost, B2B marketers feel that industry-specific marketing -- including trade shows, magazines and websites -- are more effective than general magazines or websites. No surprise there, perhaps, but when probed further, the marketers revealed a shift toward digital media, with 49 percent of them currently using that format.

The B2B marketers who are spending at least some of their budgets on the Internet report spending 24 percent of those budgets online. When it comes to the future of B2B marketing, respondents reported that the Web will soon surpass direct mail and general business magazines.

As for which channels were most effective for branding, in-person events, PR and trade magazines lead the way, and respondents felt the Internet was roughly equivalent to TV, general business magazines and newspapers.

When asked which vehicles were most effective for lead generation, in-person events, PR and trade magazines still lead, but the marketers rated online marketing equal to direct marketing and more effective than TV, general business magazines and newspapers.

The B2B marketing spending pie is cut into many pieces, with events, direct mail and trade magazine -- three of the most effective marketing tools as reported by respondents -- only getting 15 percent, 9 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Online and Web accounted for 21 percent.

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