B2B vs B2C PR: What’s the difference?
PR comes in all shapes and sizes
Ever compared notes on PR with a business contact, only to find you’re receiving two very different styles of services and campaigns?
Don’t sweat it. There’s no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to tech PR.
The PR and comms approach that’s right for you will depend on many things, but especially your target audience. As we’ve mentioned before, your target audience is probably the most important factor when it comes to shaping your PR campaign strategy.
It makes sense then, that your PR approach will be very different depending on whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand. Keep reading to find out why…
What do B2B and B2C mean?
Without insulting anyone’s intelligence, let’s get the obvious out of the way first.
We like the following definition from Small Business Trends:
“B2B stands for Business-to-business. In a B2B setup, the products and services are sold to other businesses… A B2B transaction occurs when a business needs to source raw materials for its production process or when it needs operational assistance.”
And here’s how they define B2C:
“A B2C, or Business-to-consumer company, is one that sells products and services directly to the consumers. Restaurants, retail chains, housekeeping services are all examples of B2C businesses.”
So, the difference between B2B and B2C is who you’re selling to – businesses, or consumers.
What buyers want
Different buyers – whether business or consumers – want different things. This means their buying decisions are motivated by different sets of thoughts and feelings.
Speaking in general terms, consumers buying for themselves are motivated to buy products that will improve their lives in some way. We’re simple creatures, really. We want to be happy, healthy, and perceived as ‘cool’ and successful. Oh, and we like stuff that tastes good.
Even fairly un-sexy products like insurance use this principle to market themselves. You’re not just buying ‘insurance’ – you’re buying peace of mind and a worry-free lifestyle.
The motivation for B2B buyers is different. These consumers are only concerned about making the right purchases to ensure the best for their business. Even products or services that might be seen as a ‘perk’ by employees make good business sense for a company. Happy employees are productive employees, after all!
How do B2B and B2C goals differ?
Not only do B2B and B2C customers typically want different things, but business and consumer brands typically have different goals, too.
Usually, the main comms target for a B2C brand is simply to increase sales of their product or service.
However, the goals for a B2B brand may be a number of different things, including recruitment, thought leadership, and seeking investment or partnership opportunities. What a brand is trying to achieve will also shape their PR campaign and comms messaging.
Tailor your messages to the right audience
Once you’ve established who your target audience is, what they want, and what you want from them, it’s time to expose them to your messaging. How you target your audience with your messaging depends specifically on who you’re trying to reach.
For PR to be successful, you need to get your brand placed in a media outlet relevant to, and trusted by, your target audience. Otherwise, there’s simply no point.
For example, consider a B2C brand targeting young professional women. Their target audience tends to favour media such as women’s lifestyle magazines, online news, free newspapers like the Metro, and online blogs and vlogs. If you were trying to target mums that worked from home, on the other hand, it’d be more beneficial to get your brand featured on daytime news features, and parenting blogs or vlogs.
B2B brands may still be keen to target national publications (who isn’t?) but are usually better placed in the business and finance section, business titles, and sector-specific professional publications.
While social media is a must-have for both B2B and B2C brands, consumer offerings can afford to be more light-hearted and fun, and can play off human experiences. B2B doesn’t need to mean stuff, but there is definitely a level of professionalism that must be maintained.
It’s also worth remembering that B2B brands may be targeting several individuals, as there is often more than one person involved in business buying decisions.
Know your niche
As you can see, the distinct target audiences in B2B and B2C PR necessitates distinct approaches. As such, you’ll find that many PR agencies specialise in either B2B or B2C PR.
If you’re considering teaming up with an agency that purports to do both, our best advice would be to check out their case studies first. That way, you can see what exactly they’ve done for brands like yours in the past.
If in doubt, just ask!