Michelle Han April 21, 2016 | 08:09:41

Shooting Down Misconceptions About B2B PR

Working in B2B public relations probably isn’t what idealistic young people dream about, but that doesn’t mean misconceptions about it are true. B2B PR has endured as a successful part of many a company’s growth strategy, and it can be an exciting field for PR professionals. Here are some of the misconceptions that shouldn’t hold anyone back who might be thinking of it as a career.

Lesser known doesn’t mean less impact. If B2B is your game, you know you’re not speaking to the public at large in the same way a mass-market brand would. B2B PR pros strategically work with the publications and influencers who make a difference for their companies — regardless of how well known they might be to the general public. For example, few people outside the industry would be familiar with a publication like Convenience Store News, but scoring a placement there can be a big win if your target includes customers in the $700 billion convenience store sector.

B2B doesn’t have to be dull! We’ve touched on this topic before, but it’s worth repeating. Some may yawn, but we’ve had fun and fascinating experiences working on B2B campaigns: We’ve set up on-site media briefings with company execs ahead of a product launch that included Olympic snowboard champion Shaun White followed by a performance by the Alabama Shakes and Snoop Dogg; we’ve placed stories in top tier media with a tie-in to a key NFL player in the Super Bowl ahead of the big game; and we parlayed the drama of this year’s Presidential election into some generous news coverage for a B2B client by conducting an original survey. With a little creative thinking and connecting the dots, B2B programs can have the same flair as the sexiest of consumer brands.

Embrace, don’t ignore, creative content. Some 60 percent of B2B customers ultimately make decisions based on some type of content they’ve encountered in the sales funnel process, so it behooves PR practitioners to take advantage of this trend. In today’s content-driven marketing world, PR teams must inform and own creative content for B2B programs to help drive business success. 

B2B is about people as much as products and companies. There are passionate, funny, intelligent people working in B2B marketing – and they’re humble. Especially as media spokespeople — trade journalists will thank you, and it might drive more, better, and deeper coverage for the brand. For an advertising technology client, one exec speaks about technology with such fervor — and such color — that listening to him is like a cross between an inspiring TED talk and a stand up comedy set. Offering him as a spokesperson typically drives more trade media interviews than any other pitch, because of his depth of knowledge and sheer passion. B2B companies are full of such characters — learn to identify them, media train them, and use them well.

Social media is just as important, if not more, than in B2C. In fact, because the audience segment is harrow, the “advocacy impact” of each B2B customer is amplified. A recent study showed 86 percent of B2B technology buyer used social media in their purchase decision process. A robust social media campaign – going beyond just LinkedIn and Facebook — is something that can’t be ignored.

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