Web Leads for Busy Execs

More executives reach for the mouse in the morning than the newspaper, according to research released by Forbes.com.

The business site found that executives rely on the Web for information, communication and research during their workdays, making it the best media vehicle to reach high-end advertisers.

According to the 2003 Forbes.com survey of 11,000 executives and senior managers, done in association with GartnerG2 and Survey.com, management-level workers actively use the Web in the early part of the day, with nearly half (46 percent) going online before leaving for work. In comparison, 38 percent said they read a newspaper before work. Of so-called “C-level” executives (CEOs, CIO, CFOs, etc.), the numbers were even greater, with 53 percent going online before work and 41 percent turning to the paper.

“Even I was surprised that as high a percentage of C-level executives were going to the Web before the local paper,” said Jim Spanfeller, chief executive of Forbes.com. “It’s pretty hard to ignore the Web.”

In 2002, Forbes identified the Internet as the most important media to C-level execs, measuring 16 hours per week of Web-time, excluding email. Television accounted for 8.6 hours per week, followed by magazines (6.6 hours), newspapers (6.6 hours), and radio (5.7 hours).

The more recent study found that the average workday for the high-level executive begins with email, as 82 percent reported checking their in-boxes before getting down to work. More than half (54 percent) used the Web for research.

In even better news for advertisers, executives are surprisingly willing to engage online advertising: nearly half of respondents (47 percent) said they click on advertising of interest. E-mail marketing fared less well, with 26 percent saying they read work-related promotional emails.

The Forbes.com survey is part of its effort to prove that the Web is not just a place to reach the average Joe but also to find the hard-to-reach busy executive. Recent research by Nielsen//NetRatings and washingtonpost.com concluded that affluent customers spend a good portion of their days online. Likewise, a study by eMarketer and The Wall Street Journal Online found that the at-work audience was 50-million strong, with more than half in households taking in over $75,000 annually.

These findings are consistent with the 2002 report that found that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of C-level executives preferred to find out about new products on the Internet, and 73 percent preferred to receive information about companies via the Internet.

C-Level Executives and Advertising
Web TV Magazines Newspapers Radio
Most Innovative Advertising 58% 65% 36% 11% 10%
Most Informative Advertising 62% 16% 62% 35% 3%
Helps Me Decide What to Buy 62% 28% 62% 35% 11%
Most Relevant Advertising 60% 37% 72% 46% 17%
Too Much Advertising 53% 74% 36% 33% 39%
Base: 246-271, multiple responses
Source: Forbes, 2002

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