Every B2B executive that wants media coverage from or desires to run ads in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and The New York Times should read this. I am not saying that these “elite” media outlets are not helpful, but it’s important that B2B companies not summarily dismiss the power of the trade press, websites and tradeshows.
It’s important to own your own back yard before you attempt to buy the entire neighborhood.
B2B Media and Trade Shows Most Important to Executives
A recently published study by Harris Interactive, a report on the importance of Business Media among executives in companies with $5 million or more in annual sales, found that B2B media are held in high regard among executives with a strong majority who consider B2B magazines and websites to be more informative and reliable than general media sources.
The study, conducted between February 2006 and April 2006 with 588 completed interviews, is said to be projectable to the entire B2B industry. A minimum of 40% of the sample was among senior executives who are Vice President level or higher at their company
Key findings include:
- B2B media have remained an important resource for executives who, on average, report reading 4.2 B2B magazines and visiting 7.4 B2B websites in the past month
- Senior executives report higher regular usage of B2B magazines than mid-level executives
- Attendance at trade shows continues to be important, particularly among senior level executives who report attending close to 3 trade shows per year, compared to mid-level executives who report attending close to 2 per year.
- When asked what source of information executives rely on to do their job best, B2B magazines (41%) comes out on top as the single most mentioned resource, well above any general business media.
Executives report they are more engaged/involved with B2B media than with general business magazines, television and newspapers. In particular, sales representatives and B2B magazines are the most engaging/involving (though four in 10 executives say they are spending less time with sales representatives than they did five years ago), followed closely by B2B trade shows, B2B websites and B2B conferences or seminars.
During all phases of the purchasing process, a synergy of different B2B media offers executives the guidance they want every step of the way. The most used resources throughout the research process, at each level, are:
Start thinking about purchase: B2B websites, B2B sales people, B2B magazines
Begin researching options: B2B websites, B2B sales people, B2B magazines
Narrow down choices:
B2B sales people, B2B websites, B2B magazines
Make a final decision:
B2B sales people, B2B websites, B2B magazines and trade shows
Review after purchase: B2B sales people, B2B websites, B2B magazines
Different B2B media are perceived by executives as having different strengths;
Executive Perception of Top Media Type Strength
Top Strength % Made or
due to advertisement in this medium
B2B Magazines Trust 57%
B2B Websites Immediacy 49%
Trade shows Raise awareness of products 70%
Source: Harris Interactive, June 2006
Advertisements in different B2B media spur different types of action on the part of executives, according to the study:
- B2B magazines are a great way to direct executives to the web, either to find additional information (79%) or to make a purchase through the Internet (39%). Almost six in 10 executives (57%) say that an advertisement in a B2B magazine prompted them to purchase or recommend purchase of a product or service.
- Trade shows also drive executives to seek additional information either on the web (77%), by talking to a sales person (73%) or calling an 800 number (40%). Trade shows, with their hands-on advantage, are great places to make a sale, with seven in 10 (70%) executives purchasing or recommending the purchase of a product or service directly as a result of advertising/promoting at a trade show.
- Advertising on B2B websites led slightly over one in three (35%) to directly make a purchase over the Internet and half (49%) to purchase or recommend purchase of a product or service.
Source: Center for Media Research