The rise of B2B print media

Discover why B2B is one of the few areas of publishing and marketing that’s on the up. (Clue: it’s all about trust)

In these turbulent times, magazines and newspapers are fighting hard to maintain circulation and share of attention in an increasingly fragmented media landscape. But while the consumer titles chase after the increasingly elusive advertising and sales revenue, there’s one area of print media that’s thriving: business to business (B2B).

B2B media in all its forms is currently one of the most successful sectors of publishing and marketing. Whether it’s newspapers (the Financial Times was one of only two UK newspapers to increase circulation year on year), magazines (The Economist is now the UK’s best selling business weekly) or direct mail and door drop (the annual net spend by UK businesses on door drop was an impressive £263m in 2017). Clearly, businesses are seeing the value in print and investing both their attention and their budgets into the medium.

“Traditional print media provides consumers with a personal experience, something tangible they can interact with, take with them and go back to at their own leisure,” says Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director of the DMA. “Its unique nature makes it a robust advertising medium and the figures over the past few years reflect this.”

The commodity of trust

The benefits for companies in using print are well known: its pinpoint targeting, lean-back qualities and ability to stick around as a permanent reminder of a business offering all raise its ROI levels above those of other marketing media. But in the past 12 months, another factor in the success of B2B print has emerged – trust.

For a successful business, trust is one of the most important values it can possess. Trust in its products, trust in its service, trust in its people – it’s a commodity that’s difficult to build but easy to lose. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer has shown that traditional media has witnessed a rebound in public confidence, reaching a record high of 61%, an increase of 13% year on year. Taken with the fact that 63% of people turn to print for a deeper understanding of a news story (Two Sides, 2018), it’s clear that customers, whether business or consumer, have a closer affinity with print than online media.

“I think that the mass of digital information and the way it’s so instant is working against it,” says Phil Alexander, Joint Managing Director of paper merchant GF Smith. “We are realising that digital is a fleeting experience and we don’t get any feeling of ownership or any real connection with it.”

Building value and confidence

Another area in which B2B print media is thriving is customer magazines. Keen to make a personal connection between their business and their customers, companies from all sectors of industry are investing in high quality publications that not only keep key clients and prospects up to date with their services and products, but provides an exclusive insight into their business and its people.

The magazine created for Swedish mining and construction specialists Epiroc is a fantastic case in point. Simply titled Mining & Construction, the biannual publication tackles complex issues within the industry, giving the high value business reader a combination of industry trends, company news and key benefits for its customers.

“The magazine focuses on the bigger picture and how we would like to help our customers and partners to make good things even better,” says Anna Dahlman Herrgård, Global Communications & Brand Manager at Epiroc. “The M&C concept helps us to build trust. It allows us to share our expertise and show real examples of how our customers can rely on us as a partner.”

Reliability in an unreliable world

With stability in the business world unlikely to improve in the next few years, many companies are searching for ways to build confidence in their brand and products, demonstrating authority and expertise in their respective fields, and creating a long-lasting relationship with customers. And print has proved time and time again that it’s the perfect business partner.

Article written by Sam Upton

Image Credit: © Ollinka2 –