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May 21, 2003

Survey - 729 B-to-B Marketers Reveal 2003 Results & Plans: Email & PR are Winners; Rented Lists Lose

SUMMARY: Thanks to the 729 MarketingSherpa readers who shared their data for this exclusive report. They revealed fascinating info on:
-> Specific tactics: What is working and what is not
-> Budgeting and spending for the second half of 2003
-> Online vs. offline: Where is the money going?
Note: We were surprised by how popular PR is again. It is a true renaissance for the tactic. We were also stunned to discover how tiny a percent of marketers have "set" their plans for the next six months. Everything in the marketing world...
What is really working in business-to-business marketing in 2003? According to MarketingSherpa's survey results gathered over the past 48 hours from 729 participating marketers, not much of anything.

Sad but true: Not a single one of the 15 most-common marketing tactics used today, from ads in trade magazines to search engine marketing, is generating "great results" for a majority of marketers surveyed.

Lots of tactics are working "moderately well" and a few just plain stink.

Here is our report on results:

-> Specific tactics: What is working and what is not
-> Budgeting and spending for the second half of 2003
-> Online vs. offline: Where is the money going?

-> Specific tactics: What is working and what is not

While no one single online, email, or offline marketing tactic was voted a big winner by the majority of 729 marketers responding, the top three most successful tactics were:

#1 Email marketing sent to a house list
45% of marketers using this said they get great results

#2 Public relations
36% of marketers using say they get great results

#3 Direct postal mail to your own list
28% of marketers using get great results

Plus, when we split out results based on what each marketer's end goals were, a few more winning tactics emerged in addition to the results above:

o 38% of marketers focusing on sales lead generation said
Webinars or Webcasts got great results. 35% said outbound
telemarketing was also a winner.

o 29% of marketers responsible for direct sales said paid
search engine ads were doing great, and 31% said outbound
telemarketing was working above average.

o 37% of PR and branding pros said online PR was a winner,
and 30% of them said radio ads are working exceptionally

Now for the bad news. List rental brokers beware: Business marketers overwhelmingly agreed that campaigns to rented lists were producing disappointing results.

56% said email list rentals produced bad results
46% said postal mail list rentals produced bad results

The lesson seems to be that while online and offline campaigns to house files are working exceptionally well, campaigns to rented lists are underperforming.

Our suggestion: Instead of sending your regular creative to a rented file, try partnering creative with the original list owner where they recommend your offer to their house file. You might use their name in the "from" line (or outer envelope) and even an endorsement-style letter introducing your offer to their list.

Generally in these deals you give their list a special offer ("As members of the XYZ association, you'll get 10% off..."), and produce the creative yourself with final sign-off from the list owner's side.

-> Budgeting and spending for the 2nd half of 2003

Survey results made it clear that the recession has not lifted enough for business marketers to leap forward into bigger spending again. Although 23% of marketers surveyed said they had more money to spend in the second half of 2003, hardly anyone is planning to spend "substantially" more money on any tactic online or off.

Only one tactic really stood out: Email marketing. 37% of surveyed marketers said they would be increasing their email budget "a bit."

The other two most popular tactics to spend a little more money on were search marketing at 28% and PR at 27%.

Things could change, for good or bad, quickly. Marketers revealed their budgets are *not* engraved in stone. In fact, it feels like everyone is holding their breath right now, waiting, waiting, waiting, ready to change plans when the economy changes.

19.8% of marketers said their plans may change week to week
34.1% said their plans may change monthly
40.5% said their plans may change quarterly
Only 7.6% said plans were set through the end of 2003

This is bad luck for anyone selling big ticket items, especially long-term media buys. Marketers are not willing to commit yet.

It is good news for freelancers, contract workers and consultants. 49.4% of survey respondents currently rely on freelancers to help out in place of hiring more permanent staff. 24% of survey respondents plan to hire more freelancers this year. Plus, an additional 20% of marketers really wish they could hire some freelancers, but just do not have the budget now.

As the economy improves look for freelancing and contract opportunities to increase. The habit of filling in with part-timers rather than hiring more staff seems to be situation normal in corporate marketing departments now.

-> Online vs. offline: Where is the money going?

The recession has also made a huge difference in online versus offline marketing expenditure.

98% of business marketers surveyed are devoting at least part of their budget to online and email marketing; many because, as one respondent said, "It's cheaper."

More data:

o 23% of respondents are spending 71-100% of their budget

o PR & branding marketers are spending the least; 71% of them
are spending 1-30% of their budget online, with the majority
falling around the 10% mark.

o Sales lead generation marketers are spending the highest
portion of their budgets online; 44% are spending 50% or
more of their budgets online now.

-> If your CEO handed you an extra $50,000 for marketing...

Coming up in Part II of our Survey Results next week, what would most business marketers spend the money on if their CEO handed them an extra $50,000 to play with?
See Also:

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