Digital marketing has become the way to communicate in the 21st century. Social media, email, search engine marketing, interactive marketing, blogs, wikis, and knolsā€”the list goes on... to include mobile marketing, podcasting, videos.

The first items that B2B marketers would consider cutting if asked to reduce their budget were print advertising and tradeshows (14% each), followed by advertising in general (12%) and direct mail at 8% (responses were open-ended), according to the "B-to-B Marketing in 2008: Trends in Strategies and Spending" study by MarketingProfs.

Also according to the same study: "Of those currently using each tactic, Online Video and Search Marketing budgets are expected to grow by a majority of respondents, with more traditional tactics (e.g., broadcast and print advertising, direct mail and tradeshows) expected to decline by 20% or more. Online Video and Search Marketing are expected to show the greatest increases (55-56% each) in 2008. Also, over half of respondents intend to increase spending on other Web 2.0 media (52%) and Webinars (51%)."

This paints a doom-and-gloom picture for marketing print collateral and augurs a huge surge in digital spending.

Other research reinforces the forecast of growth for digital marketing. According to an August 2008 forecast by eMarketer, despite the economic malaise "Internet advertising [spending] is expected to continue growing in the double digits for the next few years," as follows:

  • 2008: 17.4%
  • 2009: 14.5%
  • 2010: 17.5%
  • 2011: 20.9%
  • 2012: 23.5%
  • 2013: 18.0%

In addition, Internet marketing spending growth in the next 12 months will far outweigh traditional advertising spending, according to "The CMO Survey," conducted by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and commissioned by the American Marketing Association (September 12, 2008).

So, why focus on print collateral at all?

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel