by Association Adviser staff
With the exception of electronic media, spending on conventional business-to-business media will continue to decline this year, according to the “VSS Communications Industry Forecast 2004-2014,” which was released recently by New York-based private-equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson. But the forecast is not as gloomy if you examine the association-produced media component of the B2B sector.
The VSS report indicated that overall spending on B2B media will drop to $24.4 billion this year, a decline of 3.6 percent compared with last year. The trade show sector is expected to drop 3 percent, to $12.4 billion. The B2B magazine sector will dip 11.2 percent, to $7.2 billion. But spending on e-media in the business-to-business sector is expected to jump 8.7 percent this year, to $4.8 billion, the report predicted.
But, many Naylor-affiliated clients are seeing either outright improvement or modest single digit attrition in their print ad pages and increasing trade show attendance on top of e-media growth. This was also the prevailing sentiment at the recently completed American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting & Expo in Los Angeles, where attendance was up more than 30 percent over 2009, the number of exhibitors was up 5.3 percent and the ratio of buyers to sellers increased to 60/40 from 55/45 in 2009. The ASAE Annual Meeting, which attracted 5,500 association professionals and industry partners, is believed to be North America’s largest annual gathering for association thought leaders and suppliers.
“The VSS data may be directionally correct, but only in the macro sense,” said Naylor President and CEO Alex DeBarr. “I believe that strong media brands will outperform the industry averages regardless of whether they are print, electronic or event. I also think overall marketing dollars will not decline and they will be focused on quality media brands that stand out from their competition via well executed print-electronic and event options.”
VSS said that B2B media between 2010 and 2014 will return to growth, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.5 percent. Most of that will be fueled by double-digit increases in e-media spending and solid growth in the event segment.
Additionally, VSS said that the B2B media sector as a whole will not reach the spending levels it reached in 2008 until 2014, when B2B media spending is predicted to reach $30 billion.
“Associations now have an enormous opportunity to claim their spot as the leading source of information for their members and markets,” said DeBarr. “They can be more successful than the struggling B2B media brands. Associations can and should outperform the VSS projections over that span.”
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