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Issue Date: May 2004

The power of B2B magazines

May 2004

Business-to-business magazines earn their position as the vital core marketing investment for companies promoting their products or services to businesses. The major reason is the high degree of trust between B2B magazines and their readers.

In research released recently by Sappi and the Magazine Publishers Association of South Africa (MPASA) in a publication called 'The Power of Print', it was noted that 81% of UK board directors believe business publications provide the best editorial coverage of their industry, while 80% of decision-makers think business publications are the most authoritative source of information. Ultimately, no other medium satisfies the needs of business people as comprehensively as the B2B magazine.
The information needs of business people are satisfied by B2B publications in a number of ways:
* Their markets: They wish to know what is going on in their particular markets. This includes both vertical markets (industry-related such as advertising, engineering medical, etc) and horizontal markets (by profession, such as accountants, nurses, etc). They are interested in trends, new product developments and new techniques, new suppliers, industry legislation and so on.
* Industry knowledge: This includes information about key companies and specific individuals - in particular, who is moving, who is succeeding and who is failing. There is a sense of belonging to a 'club', which helps to reinforce one's sense of identity and reaffirms one's status and value.
* Competitor information: Finding out what their direct competition is doing so that they can better prepare themselves and fight for their corner of the market. They can identify changes in strategy, new prices, etc.
* Job vacancies: How do their jobs or salaries compare with others - both on a practical basis (making sure they are in the correct job) and also on an emotional basis (making sure they keep a perspective on what else is out there, and the options that could face them). Every sector and every job within it has highly individual detailed requirements.
Business-to-business magazines reach the decision-makers: the decision to purchase is rarely made by a single individual. The bigger the organisation, the greater the number of people involved in the purchase decision-making process.
Well-positioned B2B magazines reach every decision-maker in the organisation. To ensure effective communication, different adverts should be created to speak to each decision-maker's specific need. For example, at operational level, the efficiency of a product may be of greater importance than, say, its return on investment, which is a point of interest at management level. In fact, research has shown that 87% of decision makers use B2B magazines regularly and read at least one in two issues, 96% of main board directors read their business press regularly and 93% of decision-makers agree that business magazines 'keep me regularly informed about my industry'.
Source: The Magazine Publishers Association of SA

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