There's no question business media companies want to provide marketing services to their advertisers. But there is a question about how keen their advertisers are to buy such services from them.
To answer this question, BtoB and Media Business conducted an online survey in March in which 280 marketing executives were asked about how they use business media companies and advertising agencies as suppliers of marketing services such as lead generation, email marketing programs and webcasts.
The survey found that while there are several hurdles facing business media companies looking to expand their marketing services offerings, there is also a genuine opportunity. A full report on the survey, “What Marketers Want From Their Media Partners,” is available at www.btobonline.com/marketingservices.
One hurdle is that after years of providing direct mail lists and research as value-adds, business media companies need to convince marketers to drop the assumption that marketing services are free or deeply discounted.
Another hurdle is that the move into marketing services brings trade publishers into more direct competition with advertising agencies. The “What Marketers Want” survey found b2b marketing executives see more value in marketing services provided by a traditional agency than provided by a media company. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said advertising agencies provide more value with marketing services than media companies do. Just 32% said the opposite.
At the same time, the survey results showed a marketing services opportunity exists for business media companies. Certainly, companies such as Northstar Travel Media, Penton Media and Summit Media Group—all of which have launched marketing services initiatives this year—see a lucrative opportunity in marketing services.
In a positive sign for business media companies, the survey found the majority of b2b marketers already recognize media companies as marketing services providers. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they had used a media company for marketing services in the past 12 months.
The survey also indicated b2b media companies may benefit if they focus on their organization's strengths—particularly audience knowledge and content creation—to tailor programs for individual marketers.
In the survey, b2b marketers cited the key drivers for using marketing services from business media companies. Of the top four, three were related to audience: No. 2 was audience reach (49%); No. 3 was audience knowledge (36%); and No. 4 was audience composition (26%). (Return on investment, at 66%, was No. 1.)
The data from the survey show that b2b marketers tend to use business media companies for specific marketing services tasks, many of which seem to be related to a business media company's understanding of the audience it reaches and its ability to create content. For instance, 53% of respondents said they have used media companies for lead generation in the past 12 months; 51% for banner ad creation; 50% for print ad creation; and 47% for email marketing.
B2b marketers said the services that deliver the most value when offered by a media company are: lead generation (38%), print ad creation (32%), search engine optimization (32%), banner ad creation (31%) and email marketing (31%).
Marketers also identified the marketing services they would be most likely to switch to a media company as email marketing (50%), print ad creation (40%) and direct mail (36%).