Yenra : Marketing : Online Marketing : Technology advertisers will spend 45% of their marketing budgets online in 2004

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Bitpipe concludes that lead generation again will dominate the tech marketing agenda in 2004, and online generation of sales leads is stronger than ever, according to the 2004 IT Marketing Trends Study recently released by Bitpipe and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

The study measured the spending plans for over 350 technology advertisers.

2004 expenditures for online lead generation will rise to 45 percent of the total IT marketing budget, from 40 percent last year. Online advertising's share of the budget will rise from 14 to 16 percent, while online sales lead generation will increase its share of spending from 26 to 28 percent.

Webcasts and email newsletters registered the biggest jump in popularity during 2003 and are poised to become even more important tools next year as the use of online lead generation tools grows, the survey indicated.

Seventy-three percent of respondents said they'll use webcasts in 2004; only 55 percent said they'd use them in 2003. That represents a 25 percent increase year-to-year. Similarly, advertising in email newsletters is set to grow 27 percent within the companies surveyed. In 2003, only 44 percent of respondents planned to advertise in email newsletters, while in 2004, 60 percent expected to utilize email promotions.

"The data on 2004 spending plans for technology companies indicates a strong trend toward online sales lead generation, 73% of the companies surveyed are planning to do more online sales lead generation programs in 2004 than in 2003," said Jay Habegger, CEO, Bitpipe, Inc.

Tried-and-true lead generation tools also are poised for growth, even though so many tech organizations already rely on them. Email promotion ranked as the number one lead generation tool, with 85 percent of the respondents (up from 83 percent in 2003) saying they'll rely on it next year. Eighty-two percent of respondents said white papers were critical to their lead generation plans, up from 75 percent in 2003.

"IT buyers increasingly turn to white papers, especially in the early stages of the purchasing process," said Sam Whitmore, editor of Sam Whitmore's Media Survey in Beverly, Massachusetts. "In fact, I know many editors who read white papers to frame technical issues before they set out to write about them themselves. They're often the deepest and most technical resources available."

Marketing expenditures for online now rival those spent offline. In 2003, 59 percent of the marketing budget was allocated to offline marketing including print advertising (16 percent) and direct mail or telemarketing (43 percent). That combined total is set to drop to 56 percent in 2004, the survey said.

The 2004 IT Marketing Trends Study, completed in November 2003, was distributed to a combined list of technology marketing professionals provided by Bitpipe, Inc. and SWMS. This survey was powered by Bitpipe's partner, InsightExpress, a professional market research firm.

Bitpipe syndicates in-depth information technology (IT) content including white papers, webcasts, case studies and product literature.

Sam Whitmore's Media Survey provides tech media analysis and consulting to PR agencies, media buyers and tech vendor marketing pros, helping them decide where to pitch articles and place advertising.