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Online Channel Aids Tech Buyer Facilitation


Last year was the first time trade shows -- or face-to-face media -- surpassed business publications in share of total revenue. The emphasis on socialization -- and social media -- is growing for digital media, according to the latest market assessment by eMarketer.

Their "B2B Marketing Online" report tracks the tectonic shifts that are shaking up the once solid and predictable world of long, complicated sales cycles.

Of course, reaching the ultimate decision maker is still the key goal, but marketers also need to target researchers, technical advisers and negotiators at every stage of the buyer facilitation process.

In addition, online search-based research clearly plays a major role for buyers in every phase of the purchase process, and social media -- such as blogs, wikis, social networks -- are being consulted as well.

eMarketer projects that in 2008, U.S. B2B online advertising spending will increase almost 19 percent, to $5.2 billion. I believe that the technology marketing sector will continue to be the benefactor of this key trend.

That said, the corporate skills shortage in search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search will likely continue to be supplemented by online channel vendors, contractors and consultants. Online marketing expertise should be mainstreamed into every technology marketer's talent pool, but that's rarely been the case.

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