Wednesday 24 July 2024      
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Marketing To Manufacturing Industry

This report assesses research evidence about the value of advertising in business-to-business (B2B) magazines in order to reach purchasing decision-makers in manufacturing industry.

The evidence is drawn from a wide range of sources including Findlay Publications, the sponsors of the report. In places it draws upon or takes extracts from my report ‘The Vital Investment’ written for the PPA. The PPA report was concerned with business magazines of all kinds, serving all markets; this report focuses instead on manufacturing industry, and includes considerable fresh material.

The report shows how business magazines are the core marketing investment for companies promoting their products or services to manufacturing industry, and the particular value of the leading publications within a sector.

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The report’s 14-point Summary is reproduced below.

1. In recent years manufacturing industry has been facing major changes and pressures, such as the growth of outsourcing, small specialist firms, job mobility, the internet, and product differentiation. These have modified the way companies make purchasing decisions, which in turn has made it harder for suppliers to communicate with all potential decision makers. The only effective means of reaching them all is through business magazines.

2. Significant purchasing decisions involve decision makers in several job functions, with the importance of each varying at different stages of the process. Marketing campaigns need to reach all these types of decision maker.

3. A central function of business magazines is to enable readers to keep in touch with their own industry or profession in a general overall way. Readers use the magazines to find out what’s going on, and often say they couldn’t work properly without business magazines.

4. The other core function of business magazines is to keep readers informed about highly specific job-related topics of particular interest to the individual reader. The kinds of topic mentioned in research include technical information, new products, information about prices, company news, sales leads, people in the industry, legal updates, and so on. Few readers are equally interested in every one of these, but almost every reader has one or more kinds of must-have specific information which the business magazines provide. While much of this must-have information is supplied by the editorial content of the magazines, some of it comes from the advertising.

5. Audits of magazines’ circulation numbers are essential, but it also important to verify the quality of distribution. ABC’s Profile Audit achieves this.

6. Almost everyone reads at least one business magazine regularly. Typically, any sector of manufacturing industry will be served by a range of publications, of which one or two titles will be market leaders; these will be natural must-use ‘bankers’ for any media schedule.

7. B2B magazines are regularly shown to be readers’ No. 1 information source when comparisons are made with other media. In rankings featuring B2B magazines, national newspapers, the internet, direct mail, conferences, exhibitions, television and various other media, B2B magazines consistently emerge in first place, usually by a wide margin. This applies whether the criterion is regular usage, thorough coverage of your sector, news of product launches or new suppliers, useful advertising, or a summary measure such as helping you to do your job better, or overall usefulness in your work. In these and many other respects, B2B magazines achieve the highest scores.

8. Since business magazines are so targeted to the readers’ specific industry or profession, the advertisements in them are also of great relevance to readers. They are widely considered by readers to be more useful than ads in other media, including the web.

9. Websites and business magazines are seen and used as complementary to one another, each enhancing what the other can do on its own, but magazines are clearly the dominant medium, with the web in a supplementary role.

10. B2B magazines and advertisers’ websites work together very well. Magazine readers can use the URLs published in the advertisements to go straight to the advertiser’s website and obtain the latest product specifications, prices, contact details and other kinds of information. The web has significantly enhanced B2B magazines’ already impressive ability to generate sales leads. While for some titles the readily visible sales leads from reader response cards may have declined because of the web, there is evidence that ‘read and click’ has already become the biggest boost to a publisher’s ability to deliver sales leads for advertisers since the invention of the reader service card.

11. A survey of advertisers’ attitudes to B2B media of all types shows that not only are magazines the most heavily used medium but also they are regarded as the most useful. Magazines are usually the first port of call when selecting advertising media. The main reasons are that they provide the most suitable environment for the advertising, are best for reaching the right audience, are an established marketplace for the advertisers’ own industry, are the most effective medium for raising the image and profile of the advertiser, and generate the most interest among colleagues and customers. They are also regarded as the best value for money, with the exception of direct mail. In addition there is a widespread view among advertisers that their target audience is at its most receptive when reading their B2B magazines.

12. Advertising in business publications builds brand awareness. The greater the weight of advertising, the greater the awareness is likely to be. The greater the awareness, the stronger the brand preference tends to be among those exposed to the advertising. Good advertising can also enhance the target group’s perception of the brand’s quality.

13. High levels of activity are sparked by seeing advertisements in business magazines. Activities include going on to the advertisers’ websites to find more information (i.e. sales leads), looking elsewhere for information, cutting out ads and/or discussing them with colleagues, contacting sales people, and making purchases.

14. It pays to continue advertising during a recession.


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