The PR strategy you employ is dependant on various elements; the client, their products and services, their goals, etc. But one of the most important considerations should be who your client’s audience is — B2B or B2C.

So, what’s the difference between B2B and B2C businesses?

  • B2B businesses sell products and services to other businesses. A B2B transaction happens when a business needs to source raw materials for its production process, or if it needs operational assistance. This means that for a B2B business, their clients have a good knowledge of the industry and the products/services available.
  • B2C businesses sell products and services directly to consumers. Retail stores, restaurants and house cleaning services are all examples of B2C businesses. This means that their clients’ B2C businesses range from having little to no prior knowledge of their products and services to being extremely clued up.

How do B2B and B2C goals differ?

Generally, the goal of B2C brands is to see increased sales thanks to their PR. This means that the PR agency’s role for B2C clients is to highlight that their products and/or services are superior and to encourage people to filter through the sales funnel.

However, for B2B brands, there are many other objectives they may be trying to achieve with their PR efforts. For example, they could be aiming to be seen as thought leaders, looking for investment or partnership opportunities — as well as increasing sales.

What the brand is trying to achieve will shape the PR and communications strategies and messaging.

B2B versus B2C PR strategies

Depending on whether your client is B2B or B2C, your PR strategy can start to be formed. While there are some elements of a PR strategy that will be the same regardless of whether the client is a B2B or B2C brand, there are some elements that will, most certainly, differ.

Audience targeting

For B2C brands, consumers are often segmented by numerous demographic factors. Gender, age, location, income level and other factors are used to develop specific, targeted messages.

These messages are then used for specific media. For example, your press release published in a sporting magazine would be very different from your PR messaging shared on a pop culture YouTube channel. B2C brands traditionally have a wide variety of buyer personas and many media, networks and journalists to reach out to.

For B2B brands, however, segments are related to the industry, the role of the buyer and the size of the company. Relevant media are usually very easy to find and the pool of journalists to reach out to is fairly small — meaning that their PR efforts are usually very focussed.

PR messaging

B2C brands try to sell their products and services by appealing to consumers’ emotions. Consumers often make decisions based on how they feel about or perceive a brand or product.
This means that B2C PR efforts have to be emotive and make people feel something.

When it comes to B2B brands, buyers make decisions based on logic. This means that B2B PR efforts need to highlight the logical reasons to choose one brand over another — ROI, availability, security, etc.

Brand influencers

When it comes to buying a new appliance or car, B2C consumers will look to their community (both online and offline) for reviews. The reviewers don’t need to be industry experts, they just need to have bought and/or used the product before.

B2B buyers, too, look for reviews from past customers, but they also look at the opinions of key thought leaders, industry experts, neutral analysts, colleagues and peers.

PR professionals wanting to specialise in either B2C or B2B clients can utilise media monitoring services to understand the people and networks that influence the behaviour of their client’s target audience.

PR content

The type of client you have plays a huge role in choosing the type of content you share as part of your PR strategy. An Instagram post with a Boomerang video might be an effective way to create a buzz around a consumer product, but it would be useless when trying to sell accounting software.

By carefully considering the type of client you have — as well as the type of products or services they offer — you’ll be able to identify effective means of getting their message out there. The form of content you choose, the distribution channel and the tone of the content itself all need to fit the client’s brand identity.

Regardless of whether your client is selling to consumers or to other businesses, the bottom line is the same: your content should resonate with the right audience, on the right platform and at the right time to support their purchase decisions.

What are some of the other ways that B2B and B2C PR efforts differ? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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Whether your clients are B2B or B2C, you’ll need a killer strategy in place to keep them happy. Find out What the best PR strategies have in common right here.