The Association of Business Information & Media Companies (ABM) just released their report The Value of B-to-B, in which they aimed to quantify two key metrics: how readers consume the copious amounts of content available from b-to-b marketers, and how those same marketers value and plan to use various content channels.
And there is a big disconnect between the two aspects, according to Bill Mickey of Folio:
“Print is at the center of an interesting dynamic between publishers, marketers and readers. It’s still the biggest revenue driver for publishers, says ABM’s report—a metric that’s confirmed by FOLIO:’s own research—and readers still value print. Sixty-one percent of respondents say that ‘print magazines will stay constant or grow in importance over the next five years,’ says the report.”
So the numbers – and the readers –tell one story: that print works as a platform to drive revenue and engagement in the b-to-b environment.
Now, I’m no Warren Buffett. Still, I am smart enough to know that if something works to drive revenue, do more of that thing. That’s what makes is it so surprising to hear Folio: say that only 11 percent of their b-to-b marketer respondents will increase their print ad budgets. Even more surprising is the third of those marketers who plan to cut their ad budgets.
What are they planning to spend their money on? The ABM report cites digital channels like search engine marketing, mobile ads, email and banner ads along with events will all increase.
It just doesn’t make sense. Has the digital drum been beaten so loudly that is drowns out common sense? For me, I’m thrilled to see that ad revenue dovetails so cleanly with reader preferences. Print ads work, and remain a critical part of any publisher’s marketing strategy, whether b-to-b or b-to-c. Digital has its place as a channel, yet we abandon print ads, our main source of revenue, at our peril.