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If you think that only printed trade media are of significant importance in the reading mix of your target group, then you'd better not read this blog post on the results of an Austrian decision-maker study. If, on the other hand, you want to know how the reading behaviour of B2B decision-makers has obviously changed in the meantime, we recommend this post.

For the readers of trade media, the digital has long ceased to be a mere journalistic accessory. This is now clearly shown by a study of Austrian B2B decision-makers conducted by the Austrian opinion research institute IFES. The IFES researchers asked a total of 500 decision-makers from the private and public sectors about their preferences for reading specialised media and the importance of B2B magazines for professional decision-making. The most astonishing finding: the decision-makers surveyed now attach greater importance to online editions for satisfying certain information needs than to printed editions of specialised media. For marketing decision-makers, the results of the study are one thing above all: a fierce challenge because the tableau for impact-optimised campaigns is becoming even more fragmented. The campaign goal defines the channel selection even more than before.

Thus, 64 percent of the study participants answered that they use the websites of trade media to "read neutral product comparisons and tests". The printed editions of the media, on the other hand, are only used by 61 percent of the respondents to read such comparisons and tests. Newsletters from trade media, however, are read with particular pleasure to "keep up with current developments in the industry": 72 percent of the respondents read newsletters to receive such information, 83 percent inform themselves about such developments primarily in the print editions.

Also as a trend barometer and compass for relevant market developments, the digital editions of the trade media have meanwhile overtaken the printed editions. For 78 percent of respondents, websites are now "very important" or "important" for learning about market trends or innovations, while printed editions are "very important" or "important" for such topics for 77 percent of respondents.

Apparently, the efforts of the publishers to push credibility and journalistic independence and distance on their online portals and thus create real information value for the readers have also been registered by the readers in the meantime. For 45 per cent of the participants in the IFES study, the digital offerings of the trade media are now "very important" or "important" for creating market transparency; the printed editions, on the other hand, are only important for 43 per cent when asked this question.

And finally, digital trade media are now also likely to be a stronger source of impetus for purchase decisions than printed media: 50 percent of the study participants think that the online editions are "very important" or "important" in providing impetus for purchase decisions. In contrast, only 45 percent of the respondents say this about printed trade media.

You can download the whole study here.

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