Business Pros Still Turn to Print

Business professionals who plan and buy for new projects are twice as likely to turn to the Web or search engines as their first source than they were one year ago.

A study by Cahners Business Information found that 12 percent of the business professionals that buy or set the specifications for projects look to the Web first, compared with just 5 percent last year. Fifteen percent turn to broad-based search engines, compared with 8 percent a year ago, the survey found.

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Business-to-business magazines remain the most popular place to seek out information on products and vendors, Cahners found. When starting new projects, 39 percent of professionals look to magazines first, this number is unchanged from last year. Sales representatives were listed by only 12 percent of those surveyed, according to Cahners, down from 20 percent a year ago.

The importance placed on magazines will not diminish in the near future, according to the survey findings. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of those responding said their reliance on professional magazines will intensify through the year 2002. One-third (33 percent) said they will rely on professional magazines in the 21st century as much as they do now. Only 2 percent predicted a decrease in magazines’ importance.

“The trends have been consistent over the three years we’ve sponsored these studies,” said Andy Weber, executive VP at Cahners. “This research has consistently shown the Web and business-to-business magazines to be synergistic, not competitive, media.”

The surveys have shown that the Web is used more in the back end of the process, closer to the sale, while magazines are used in the early and middle stages, Weber said.

Magazine editorial content now routinely drives readers to the Web for more information, and now serve as directional aids, according to Cahners. Magazine advertising is drawing a response from 89 percent of those surveyed on “frequently/very frequently basis” either by phone, fax, or email. Electronic responses to advertising are up to 40 percent from 14 percent a years ago, and are now used as frequently as reader service cards.

The survey was conducted for Cahners by Martin Akel & Associates of New Jersey and was based on interviews with 2,705 business professionals in 11 business-to-business markets.

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