No longer the poor relation – why I’m backing B2B PR for the long-haul
When I started out in B2B PR, plenty of people told me that it was the ‘unsexy’ side of the profession. For a long time, no one chose B2B as a career, saying, “You know what, I have a passion for promoting products and services with a long, convoluted procurement process, and where the return on investment is tricky to measure.”
Instead, consumer PR was where the glitz and glamour lay – the fast moving, sexy campaigns that promised to change behaviour, make money, and shape markets.
But thankfully, that’s all changing, and the value of B2B is not only becoming clear, it’s driving the future of the PR industry.
A look into the future
I truly believe we are in a golden age for B2B PR. And crucially, it’s where the real innovation lies. In the tech industry, for example, the start-ups we’re promoting to investors are those who are coming up with the brightest new ideas, which won’t hit the consumer market for years. In the energy world, the smartest firms are building green solutions which will ultimately protect the planet – and, in PR, we get a sneak peek into what’s happening, before anyone else.
And we get to be experts too. While many consumer brands call on PR professionals to be a jack of all trades, B2B allows us to develop a real area of expertise – specialising in a topic or area that we’re particularly passionate about and providing the opportunity to interact with (and learn from) leaders in the field.
Harnessing the most exciting tactics
And when it comes to tactics, the reality is that the B2B and B2C worlds are fast merging, and channels and content once reserved for consumer campaigns are now important in the business world. Indeed, we’re now likely to do all the cool stuff that we might once have envied B2C marketers for: digital marketing, data-driven audience analysis, content marketing, multi-channel communication, cut-thru creative and more.
What’s more, we also get to cover multiple decision makers, varying personas and conflicting needs. Forget trying to tug the emotional strings of a parent, persuading them to buy fabric conditioner. You try instilling confidence in a CFO, a CEO and a CMO that you have a dependable, reliable business service that will drive growth and deliver a customer experience that engages their customers. Now, that’s exciting.
What could we do better?
For the sake of balance, I think there are some things we can learn from B2C PR that will make B2B even stronger. For example, Coke doesn’t stop comms for two months each year while the next year’s budgets are agreed!
And one big advantage that B2C PRs have is they tend to be the ultimate owners of the audience relationship/insight. The good news is that this is changing, but B2B professionals need to get closer to their markets and be better at understanding what makes their audiences tick, if they want the same level of influence as their consumer counterparts.
And the final thing we could learn from B2C might be to be prouder of what we do. B2B offers interesting, valuable, market moving, work – let’s be proud of it!
One more thing…
The PRCA’s B2B group has launched a new campaign to celebrate excellence within the industry. Coming off the back of what has been an incredibly challenging time for many businesses, the need for good communications with customers and partners has become more important than ever.
Dedicated to helping PRCA members working in the business-to-business sector improve the quality and scope of their practice, the role of the PRCA B2B Group is to identify best practice, highlight new trends, and encourage communication and collaboration between members.
The #LoveB2B campaign will focus on three core moments for B2B PR professionals: -
To get an up-to-date view on what is influencing our professional lives, from salary, to greenwashing, to recruitment, the Group is launching a survey for B2B professionals within the industry.
Please do share your thoughts here, to guide the conversation of the Group over the coming months.
Check out some of our exciting PR Case Studies working in the B2B Tech Sector.
How we achieved dominant share of voice and exceptional engagement for InsurTech firm, Concirrus, at the cutting edge of marine insurance.
How EC-PR built brand visibility in key target markets for tech communications company Blu Wireless and achieved #1 Share of Voice in the UK amongst competitors.
How EC-PR transformed cybersecurity firm Socura‘s proposition into a compelling media narrative, delivered outstanding thought leadership and valuable marketing outcomes.
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