Tech Firms Plan More Online Marketing

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Spending next year for online lead generation will grow to nearly 45 percent of the total IT marketing budget, up from 40 percent in 2003, according to a trends study measuring the plans of 350 technology advertisers.

Online advertising's share of the budget will increase from 14 percent to 16 percent. Similarly, online lead generation will expand its share of spending to 28 percent next year from 26 percent in 2003.

The findings were part of the 2004 IT Marketing Trends Study released Friday by Boston-based IT content provider Bitpipe Inc. and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey. InsightExpress conducted the survey.

Seventy-three percent of respondents intend to use Webcasts in 2004, up from 55 percent this year. Sixty percent plan to use e-mail promotions, up from 44 percent this year who advertised in online newsletters.

The survey found e-mail promotion ranked as the best lead generation tool. It is expected to grow in use from 83 percent this year to 85 percent in 2004. Also, 82 percent will rely on white papers next year, up from 75 percent in 2003.

"IT buyers increasingly turn to white papers, especially in the early stages of the purchasing process," Sam Whitmore, editor of his self-named survey from Beverly, MA, said in a statement.

Confidence with the medium is encouraging marketers to allocate more money to online marketing. Technology advertisers earmarked 43 percent to direct mail or telemarketing and 16 percent to print advertising, a total of 59 percent. Offline marketing's share is now expected to shrink to 56 percent, the survey said.

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