You have news to share – great! But before you do, spend a couple of minutes thinking about the best way to clearly and accurately get your message across to your key audiences. The question is, what’s right for you when considering b2b marketing vs PR?
As b2b marcom specialists, we are tasked with gaining as much positive exposure as we can get for our clients by utilizing several different PR and marketing techniques. But the two approaches aren’t the same. That’s why it’s important to understand the differences between them before you undergo the planning process, so that you’re able to answer one key question, “Do I need PR or do I need marketing?”
While on the surface they appear to be similar, they do have some notable differences, namely:
- PR is earned exposure – Public relations professionals are storytellers who tell such compelling stories that reporters WANT to write articles about them. These articles are then considered earned rather than purchased.
- Marketing is paid exposure – You have a great company story with some budgetary wiggle room to support ad spend or an influencer program to drive sales. The results of this are considered paid.
So, which approach is best when it comes to marketing vs PR? Well, If you’re looking to gain exposure for your company or actions through media features, then public relations could be a good fit for you. Then again, if you have some money to invest on paid placements (like ads, sponsored articles), then marketing could be a better fit.
Is there a wrong way?
Oh yes, there are plenty of examples of PR and marketing campaigns that have gone wrong – and even some that would have been better had some things (like not considering the importance of localization) been researched ahead of launch.
There are also some stellar examples of successful PR and marketing campaigns that work well either separately or together. Check out PR Week’s most successful PR campaigns of the past two decades here or Brandwatch’s best marketing campaigns (with stats) here for some great examples.
Let’s consider some scenarios
- You have a new CEO and want to spread the good news – a public relations campaign would fit well here. Start by reaching out to the reporters at the publications the CEO would like to be in to offer an in-person (if possible) meeting. Cultivating a close relationship with key targets can result in reporters reaching out to you and your CEO for comment on industry news or even a coveted speaking spot at an industry event.
- Your b2b company has a new product that will revolutionize the market – will it, really? The primary goal of any new product launch is to drive sales, with the added benefit of building brand awareness. A marketing campaign using paid promotion to spread the company’s brand while also build buzz about the new product would be beneficial. Look at sponsoring online ads to catch readers’ eyes and entice them into “clicking here to learn more.” Capturing leads generated by click-throughs and funnelling them to the sales team will secure the dollars you’re hoping to gain.
Do I really have to choose between just the two?
NO – that’s the beauty of PR and marketing! When thoughtfully planned and executed, PR and marketing complement each other and deliver the desired results – sometimes even exceeding them!
Whether you’re thinking about launching a product, booking an executive speaking tour or announcing a customer program, it’s easy to get swept away in the planning excitement. And while visualizing greatness and success is recommended, it’s also highly beneficial to keep your feet firmly rooted on the ground. As we all know, “woulda, coulda, shoulda” are the three words that no marcom professional wants to hear – especially when referring to a project that was lackluster.
Looking for guidance on how to pick between b2b marketing vs PR or how to deliver a truly compelling marketing message? We’re happy to help – just shoot a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.Sign up to our newsletter