XPRT Media

Online marketing and vertical business-to-business portals: new opportunities & benefits for exporting companies

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Online or internet advertising is growing at double digit annual rates and is expected to keep doing so in years to come. Within online promotion, sponsored keyword searches such as Google Adwords are in high demand. Also, online advertising on so-called business-to-business B2B marketplaces is a high growth area...

A recent survey amongst industrial marketers shows that 70% participate in online directories. Further, e-mail marketing, search engine optimisation, newsletter sponsorships and banner advertising are popular. Online B2B marketplaces often offer packages that are a combination of many of these tools...

Currently, online advertising spending as a percentage of total media spending is still relatively low considering the share the Internet has in total media consumption. While in 2008 Internet advertising spending is 8% of over all marketing spending, in 2012 this relative share is expected to more than double to become 18% (Forrester Research, 2008).

This factor, in combination with growth of overall Internet use, will strongly boost online advertising in the coming years. Part of this growth will be at the detriment of marketing spending in traditional venues and media, such as tradeshows and print media.

Why is this? Let us have a look at the main drivers of this growth.

Benefits of online advertising

Continuous exposure - Online marketplaces provide exposure 24 hours a day 365 days a year. This is an important advantage, as this creates a constant flow of leads all year round. These can be mixed into the normal sales workflow. A one-off presence at a tradeshow, apart from being discontinuous, can also generate undesirable workload peaks for marketing and sales staff.

Global Reach - Online advertising, for obvious reasons, has no geographical limits. Through online B2B marketplaces, international, exporting companies can get access to new geographical regions they look to expand in. Some B2B marketplaces and online media offer a truly global audience and presence. Recent developments allow advertisers to specify their geographical markets of choice and direct their marketing efforts accordingly.

Traceable Results - Online marketing tracking tools are getting ever more sophisticated. This allows sales and marketers to obtain complete and very detailed profiles from all visitors to certain content. This helps marketers to address their classic challenge of measuring effectiveness of budget spent. Further, recent IT developments allow personal details of prospects and other results to be imported into the client\'s own customer relation management system (CRM).

Convenience – With online advertising it is becoming easier to control, update and edit content and graphics. This allows for immediate changing of campaigns and content, as well as promote new product launches as they happen. Compared to traditional media, less manpower is needed for set-up and maintenance. In general there are few deadlines to be met and no travelling, organisational and set-up efforts are required.

Reach a larger, targeted professional audience of your exact choice - An additional benefit offered by B2B vertical portals is that they provide access to large, focused audiences. While this is also the case for some traditional media, B2B marketplaces can grow very large because of their wider geographical focus and the fact that they offer a wide, complementary range of content and information services. In the case of Environmental expert this goes as wide as: articles & news, books and magazines, events, recruitment, products, software, services, a company directory and buyer’s guides. 

High cost/benefit ratio – As a result of all the above, marketing money spent on B2B marketplaces tends to provide traceable lower costs per lead and costs per visitor

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