Marketing services drive B2B publisher growth, study finds
Business-to-business publishers that excel at marketing services are outperforming their competition, according to a new research from American Business Media, Booz & Company and the Association of National Advertisers.
ABM members that provide marketing services saw more revenue growth from 2007 to 2008 than those who didn't. And B2B marketers and media buyers are looking to put more dollars into marketing services.
The B-to-B Marketing Leadership survey (a summary is available here for ABM members), conducted last quarter, drew responses from 132 marketing executives across most major industries. The study rated the marketers in two categories of marketing: "foundational" (event marketing, direct marketing, customer training and development, and sales and marketing collateral) and "leading edge" (data/lead management, customer insights, multi-platform media campaigns, and post sales engagement).
The majority of marketers don't excel in the leading edge category yet, but those who do tend to outperform their counterparts and outgrow competition. About 60 percent of the “leaders” grew revenue in the last three years, compared to about 40 percent of non-leaders.
B2B publishers have an opportunity to help marketing clients with more "leading edge" functions, said Matt Egol, parter at Booz & Company, speaking at an ABM event in New York yesterday. For instance, publishers can build a business around event planning to help clients develop custom events or they can also help them get better at direct marketing. Custom publishing is also a hot area, having moved beyond advertorials to include broader media services.
"Your customer, the marketer, is now also a publisher,” Egol said. “They're building content themselves and that's something you can help them with."
Promise for publishers
Providing innovative marketing services already seems to be helping some publishers. Survey respondents that offer marketing services had twice the revenue growth of ABM's full membership from 2007 to 2008. What's even more interesting is that they also grew print revenue (an increase of 5 percent versus a drop of 2 percent across the whole membership).
Egol said those numbers demonstrate that not only can publishers generate new revenue streams when adding marketing services, but they actually strengthen their print business. Advertisers might buy more traditional advertising with the companies that also do marketing services for them.
Publishers are faced with the choice to continue to focus on advertising-focused services and more minimal marketing services, or add more full-service marketing services to their business. "If you're on this marketing path, you can continue to focus on doing well in integrated marketing, which will only get your growth so far, or you can build additional marketing solutions that serve the full agenda of the marketer," Egol said.
A growing interest
As publishers put more effort into marketing services, they're finding increasing demand from marketers, who plan to put more dollars toward more “leading edge” marketing services. The study found that while foundational marketing priorities will remain important, leaders and non-leaders both expect leading-edge capabilities to grow in importance. And when it comes to the top marketing objectives, “developing custom content” (82 percent) ranked No. 2 across all respondents. “Building deeper insights into client base” is still the most important (87 percent).
In the next few years, more than half of all surveyed marketers expect to spend more marketing dollars on areas such as social media, digital and online, public relations data analysis, business development and marketing collateral, and direct marketing. By contrast, more than half expect to decrease spending on print and TV/radio advertising.
Marketers are definitely looking to media companies as a potential partner. Half of leaders and 41 percent of non-leaders said media companies will grow in importance in providing marketing services in the next few years — but will remain slightly behind digital agencies and marketing-focused firms.
The value media companies might offer over marketing services agencies and other vendors is in customer data. Marketers show the most interest in purchasing data and lead management (46 percent) and customer insights (60 percent) from media companies.
As Egol put it, "we have both a threat and opportunity here.” The threat is that advertisers want to build it themselves rather than buy it. The opportunity is that publishers can build it for them.
"[Marketers] recognize their gaps and their capabilities and they want help," he said.