Engage Business Media, the online business-to-business advertising division of Engage Inc., is providing Internet marketing solutions for B2B advertisers and publishers trying to reach so-called blue-collar industries, such as agriculture and automotive. The company represents a network of 165 Web sites specifically focused in 12 vertical markets.
Engage Business Media, Cambridge, MA, sells banner ad space and ad space in e-mail newsletters. The services enable business-to-business marketers to advertise via the Internet, a cost-effective upgrade from marketing at trade shows or through magazines, which are traditional forms of BTB marketing for most of the industries in the network.
Trade magazines, for instance, are expensive, said Joanne Currie, general manager at Engage Business Media. On average, she said, ad space in trade magazines can cost approximately $9,000 and generate only three leads. By contrast, the Internet, because of its targeting capabilities, can cost a BTB marketer far less, she said.
“You can hit exactly your target customers,” she said. “So you've got a 100 percent hit rate for talking to your customers.
“Instead of $3,000 per lead,” she continued, “you're talking more like $3 per lead.”
The 12 vertical markets that Engage Business Media represents — which also include healthcare, chemical and construction, among others — are indeed shifting toward the Internet. In fact, revenue generated by online health and medical advertising is projected to reach $265 million by 2002, according to Jupiter Communications, New York, an online research firm. In another example, according to online research company Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA, BTB global e-commerce in the chemical industry will grow from $20 billion in 2000 to $180 billion in the next three years.
Engage Business Media targeted the 12 verticals after six months of research, Currie said, when it found that the move to the Web for these industries would require heavy reliance on BTB Web sites. The company also discovered that a lot of BTB agencies and marketers were looking for ways, via the Internet, to directly reach business customers in these industries, she said.
360i.com, Atlanta, an interactive advertising agency, which has three active clients that work with Engage Business Media, has used the company's services as a component in its marketing campaigns since Engage Business Media's inception in March.
One of the benefits of using Engage is that it is a very effective and efficient way to reach small businesses or small-business consumers on the Web, said David Williams, co-president and vice president of media services at 360i. “They can also offer very high-quality sites within their network.”
Williams referred to Engage Business Media's ability to serve rich media advertisements. Some sites in other networks are “constrained by just being able to serve basic, animated GIF images,” he said. “Through the Engage network we can serve rich media, incorporating sound into the advertisement, very rich animation and rich interactivity within the ad as well.”
In one of 360i's most recent online drives with a client, Williams said, the company is running its campaign through Engage Business Media's small-office/home-office network and will use superstitials, a pop-up window that serves the purposes of a standard banner ad but is five times larger. Click-through rates of superstitials record five to 10 times more hits than typical banners, he said.
360i is also able to optimize campaigns for its clients with Engage Business Media's advertising network based on the performance of ads, Williams said. Its optimization process allows 360i to migrate media purchases from one Web site to another, for example, depending on the ad's productivity.
“That's one of the advantages of buying over a network,” he said. “We can test a lot sites within the network at a fairly low cost.”
Optimization is only one of the reasons Currie thinks Engage Business Media's services are more effective than its main competitor, B2BWorks, Chicago. Although B2BWorks has approximately 70 vertical markets, she said, it has only one or two Web sites in all of those markets, making its audience horizontal to marketers. By contrast, Engage Business Media has only 12 verticals, but 165 Web sites make up those verticals, she said. The chemical and agriculture verticals, for instance, have nearly 14 Web sites apiece, she said.
“The difference is [Engage Business Media] is completely focused on endemic audiences,” she said, “which we think will yield higher click-through rates.”