Business have a variety of marketing tools in their toolbelt to attract, engage, and convert prospective customers. As a result of the internet and digital marketing, the lines between what used to be distinctive tactics are now blurred. It’s important to recognize the difference between two commonly confused B2B marketing tactics, public relations (PR) and advertising, to understand which is right for your next marketing campaign. B2B PR vs Advertising – let’s help settle the debate once and for all.
What is B2B PR?
Business-to-business public relations is the marketing process of promoting the visibility and value of a business to it’s target audience.
What is B2B Advertising?
Advertising is paying for the placement of marketing materials to promote a product or service to reach their target audience.
Still not sure of the difference? Then let’s take a look at some real world examples.
Examples of B2B PR
Getting an press release in a trade magazine detailing the new product announcement and features of your industrial mulcher.
Getting an application story placed of your customer switching their cleaning solution and the hours it saved them.
Examples of B2B Advertising
Paying for a digital ad touting that your customer has saved 100 hours since switching to your cleaning solution.
Taking out a full page ad in a trade magazine listing the specs and benefits for your new industrial mulcher.
The B2B PR vs Advertising Difference and Why It Matters
At the end of the day both PR and advertising puts your product or service in front of potential customers. The key difference is that advertising directly pays for the placement of marketing materials while PR does not. However, this does not mean that PR is free. There are still inherit costs involved in PR in crafting messages, sending out media pitches, and more.
So while advertising can secure specific placements, a robust B2B PR strategy can garner more credibility and better results than advertising head-to-head.
Why B2B PR
When an ad and a PR story get placed in the same trade publication, the ad is there because it was paid for and the PR story is there because the editor of the publication gave it a green light. As a result the PR story has third-party credibility where there ad doesn’t. Plus, 70% of consumers say they would prefer learning about companies from articles rather than ads.
In addition to receiving third-party credibility, B2B PR also can give your business more bang for your buck. Businesses can receive anywhere from 3-5 times the same space with the same budget purchasing ads.
A robust B2B PR strategy is a great marketing strategy to get online media mentions, find more customers, and move the sales needle.