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B2B marketers continue to shift their marketing mix away from traditional marketing vehicles toward social media and digital channels: 67% plan to increase spending on social media over the next two to three years and 64% plan to increase spending on digital and online marketing over the same period, according to a study by Booz & Co.

Meanwhile, 67% of surveyed B2B marketers say they plan to decrease spending on print advertising in the next two to three years and 74% plan to decrease spending on TV and radio advertising.

Marketing leaders, however, are shifting to social and digital channels faster. Roughly 39% of surveyed marketers are identified as "marketing leaders," defined in the study as those who perform well across four foundational capabilities (event marketing, direct marketing, customer training and development, and sales/marketing collateral development) as well as across leading-edge capabilities (multi-platform media campaigns, customer insights, data/lead management, and post-sales engagement).

Given the strengths of their capabilities, marketing leaders are more moving faster than non-leaders into emerging channels, such as social media (71% vs. 64%) and digital and online (66% vs. 63%).

Below, other findings from Booz & Co's 2010 B2B Marketing Leadership Study.

B2B Marketing Objectives

Ranking the importance of B2B marketing objectives, 87% of marketers agree or strongly agree that building deeper insights into their client base is an important marketing objective, while 82% cite developing custom content and 76% cite building client contacts for sales.

Similarly, marketing leaders are more focused on digital as a means to meeting their objectives. A significantly larger percentage of leaders than non-leaders are focused on building customer content they can leverage across digital platforms (90% vs. 77%), investing in innovative marketing activities around e-platforms (78% vs. 53%), and engaging with clients via social media (57% vs. 41%).

Rounding Out Capabilities With Partnerships

To achieve such objectives, marketers recognize the benefits of partnerships with preferred vendors: 52% of B2B marketers view partnering with marketing services and media firms over the next two to three years as more or much more important. That level is more than double the number of firms who plan to partner more with their traditional agency of record.

About the data: The 2010 study was conducted jointly by American Business Media (ABA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and consulting firm Booz & Co, and is based on an online survey of 132 marketing executives, in such industries as energy, manufacturing and technology. Some 71% of the respondents were from the services sector and 29% from the manufacturing sector. 

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