Coming off the recession, B2B marketing is poised to grow significantly in 2010. To get specific, according to a recent report from AMR International “B2B Online Marketing in the United States: assessment and forecast to 2013,” annual growth in U.S. B2B online marketing spend is forecast at 8% in 2010 and is set to reach 14% by 2012.
It’s good to see growth projected again, but more interesting is to take a look at exactly where that growth is going to be happening. The following are the three areas that are poised to grow the fastest, and their annualized growth rates:
- Social media: 21%
- Lead generation: 17%
- Online marketing services: 15%
Here’s why I think this is interesting. B2B marketers are planning on growing their social media spend dramatically, but the channels that they are going to have to use are seriously underdeveloped. Social media of all kinds is definitely maturing, as are the ways that marketers can use it to reach consumer audiences. But in the business-to-business markets, there are not a ton of social media channels to reach viable audiences.
B2B audiences don’t currently have a home when it comes to social media. LinkedIn is a nice professional network, certainly a viable tool for people who are looking to network in B2B markets, but it’s not a place where B2B audiences live, not a spot for marketers to increase their spending 17%. The B2B publishers, who have served the B2B audiences well over the years, haven’t yet launched viable social networks or communities to support those audiences.
So other than experimenting with Facebook and Twitter and YouTube – which I suspect will prove to be a moderate success for some small percentage of marketers - where are marketers going to spend their B2B social media dollars? This is a huge opportunity.
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