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B2B Advertising: How Associations Can Compete for Ad Dollars!


As an association that publishes, you know that competing with mass market publications and their companion websites is a challenge. B2C advertising sales often go to the largest consumer publications, and even B2B advertising prospects may choose larger publishers because of preconceived notions about associations.

For example, advertisers may believe that:

  • Association audiences are small, and thus reach is limited.
  • Advertising with a trade publication is too expensive.
  • The association audience is too niche and not diverse enough.

As you approach advertisers directly or through an ad sales agency like AdBoom, it’s important to address these preconceptions and to educate advertisers about the benefits you provide. In the following paragraphs, we’ll address each and show how we answer a potential prospect’s concerns.

In B2B Advertising, Less Is More… More Targeted Advertising, That Is

Mass market publications usually have a significant advantage over associations: very large reach. That means more readers and a larger circulation.

On the surface, this may be attractive to an advertiser since it offers more exposure for that company’s B2B advertising. However, advertisers should question the value of this exposure, especially if the people who are seeing the advertising are not the people most likely to buy.

Advertising through your association can allow these same companies to segment their audience more thoroughly. While mass market publications may reach a large, diverse audience of business professionals, your association may provide greater focus on the actual readers advertisers want (e.g. project managers, engineers, hedge fund managers).

Your ad sales manager can make targeting your members easier for advertisers by:

  • Including a demographic breakdown of your members (age, income, education, position) in your media kit, e-mail blasts, and online information.
  • Polling members on the types of products they buy and including that information in your marketing.

Marketing to Association Members Can Lower the Cost of B2B Advertising

Mass market publications may demand more for their advertising since their circulation and readership is larger. Take print ad sales for instance. The cost for one full-page ad in a national magazine can range from $3,000 to $25,000, not counting production costs to create the ad. Association publications are less expensive and pricing is usually more negotiable.

AdBoom explains this benefit to association advertising prospects as well as related advantages, such as:

  • Higher ROI. Because association audiences are more targeted for the advertiser’s products or services, advertisers aren’t just spending less; they are reaching an audience that is more inclined to buy.
  • Greater frequency and exposure. Less expensive ad rates allow prospective advertisers to buy more ads and/or invest in premium ads with more visibility.

Association Advertising Can Turn Viral

Niche communities–like those that belong to associations–tend to share information about products and services. They also may rely more on recommendations and endorsements that come from their community.

This word-of-mouth offers potential advertisers reach beyond just the individual reader who sees the ad. AdBoom regularly promotes this advantage as part of its B2B advertising sales efforts.

Advertisers Face Lower Competition

In mass market advertising, advertisers with smaller budgets may not get the first-class treatment that larger budget advertisers will. Alternatively, companies making an ad buy in association publications and websites rarely have to compete with mega brands for ad space or for the attention of ad sales reps. These associations may offer a more supportive experience because ad sales are so vital to their operation.

The Value of B2B Advertising

Not all advertisers will be lured away from mass marketing publications, but understanding the benefits association marketing offers may open their minds to diversifying their media mix. So, the next time an advertiser is comparing your publication to mass market pubs, remind the prospect about all of the value that your organization offers.


AdBoom Advertising is an ad sales partner specializing in marketing exceptional associations like yours. Contact us for a strategy to boost your non-dues revenue.

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