Crain Communications recently announced that it would no longer be publishing BtoB, its magazine covering the BtoB marketing industry. The company has decided to fold its BtoB content into Ad Age, the sister trade magazine covering consumer marketing. For those of us involved in the BtoB industry, this has come as somewhat of a shock. And possibly to some, a slap in the face.
The company reconciled this move by saying that the tools and processes of marketing are the same whether you are a BtoC or BtoB marketer. So why not cover it in one magazine. Pshaw. We all know it was really a cost-savings measure in a tight economy.
A recent Forrester study says that e-commerce in BtoB will reach $559 billion by the end of 2013. In comparison, consumer e-commerce is only $252 billion. About 10 years ago, I made a presentation at the annual meeting of the Business Marketing Association and in an attempt to bolster the attendees’ feelings about the BtoB industry, I presented the fact that in 2003 the estimated value of BtoB shipments was $6.7 trillion while consumer was $7.9 trillion. Almost 50/50.
This is all a point to say that BtoB is BIG.
Yet it is not big enough to support its own trade magazine and website?
The pizza industry has two publications covering the US, but BtoB will soon have none. The restaurant business has a whole slew of trade magazines covering the industry, but BtoB will have none. The computer industry still has numerous magazines serving its BtoB sales, yet BtoB as an industry will no longer have even a single magazine.
Those of us who have spent a long time in BtoB marketing tend to have a chip on our shoulder. BtoC marketing has always received more press coverage. BtoC marketers are the ones (usually) with the Super Bowl budgets. BtoB has always been the poor stepchild, the Cinderella of marketing. We do all the work to get the box of Wheaties on the food shelf. The average consumer has no idea that 5-7 BtoB transactions happened to get that box on the shelf.
So as BtoB Magazine and its online property fades into obscurity at the end of the year, I want to announce that contrary to public opinion the BtoB industry is alive and well. In fact, it isn’t even undead. We are strong, vibrant and we will continue to make the world go ‘round.