Public Relations

B2B vs B2C PR: What is the Difference?

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When it comes to public relations, there is no one size fits all strategy. Every company has different goals they are trying to achieve, and different messages for their target audience. While determining what strategy is right for your client it is important to know whether you will be approaching the market through a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) PR angle.

B2B vs. B2C Companies

The first step to defining this strategy is understanding the difference between B2B and B2C businesses. What sets the two apart is all about their target audience. 

B2B companies sell their products and services to other companies. Their target audience is the executives and decision makers at the businesses they are trying to partner with. For example, big name technology companies such as SalesForce, Intel, and IBM are all B2B companies.

On the other end of the spectrum, B2C companies target us – the consumer. Products you buy and services you use on a daily basis from the clothes you put on in the morning to the app you use to map your way to work to the pan you use to cook dinner at night are all from a B2C company. 

Can a Company Be Both?

There are multiple businesses that have both a B2B side and a B2C side to their strategy. For example, a company that collects weather data can sell their insights to businesses who rely on highly accurate forecasts to run (e.g. aviation, energy, and insurance) while also providing this data to consumers through a weather app. 

An example of a well-known company that fits this archetype is Tesla. While the company is best known for the cars it sells (a B2C avenue) it also has Tesla Energy. Tesla Energy enters B2B territory through selling to commercial & industrial (C&I), and utility customers.

Reaching Your Target Audience

We addressed above that the main difference between B2B and B2C companies are their target audiences – businesses versus consumers. Reaching those audiences is the job of PR professionals – and the messaging that will resonate with businesses is very different from the messaging that will hit home with consumers. 

Most of the time consumers that are shopping either for themselves or loved ones are motivated by the desire to immediately improve their life (whether that be through the latest shoe trend, a household cleaning necessity, or a sweet treat subscription). With so much competition in the market, for B2C companies to reach their target audience and stay relevant their messaging needs to portray how they can grant consumers this desired happiness and betterment – and quickly. B2C consumers purchase quickly and move on even faster, so messaging needs to be succinct and enticing.

On the other side of the spectrum, businesses’ motivation is a bit different. Any purchase of a product or solution that is made is heavily weighed and researched to ensure that it will contribute to the company’s growth and business success. To stand out B2B companies’ messaging needs to prove their reliability, whether that be through showcasing successful partnerships or highlighting company awards. It is imperative for a B2B company to position themselves in the market as not only a great provider but also an expert and thought leader in their industry that clients can rely on to guide them in the right direction. Additionally, through any product or solution releases in addition to promoting the new capability B2B PR strategy should also focus on how the release contributes to the bigger picture future growth goals.

B2B PR vs. B2C PR Goals and Media Strategies

Usually the main goal of PR for a business to consumer brand is to increase the visibility and sales of their product. While this is also a goal for business to business PR, there are a lot of other factors B2B companies hire PR representatives for. This can include anything from increasing C-suite visibility to recruiting new employees. Another common goal of B2B PR apart from sales is to attract the attention of investors.

Whatever the goal is, to achieve it, the right messaging needs to be put in the right place to reach the right people. The details of what “right”  is differs from company to company and audience to audience.

What is B2C PR?

For B2C PR, a common strategy is getting mentioned in product round-ups. For example, if you are promoting a customizable jewelry brand, it would be beneficial to get mentioned in articles such as “Best Gifts for Your Sister” or “The 30 Best Jewelry Brands to Know”. And since the target audience would most likely be women, target publications would need to include lifestyle and fashion outlets such as USA Today and Vogue.

What is B2B PR?

With B2B PR, it is just as important to pay attention to where there is the best chance of getting in front of the company’s target audience. While a client may want to focus on national news publications, in terms of strategic placement, articles in their industry’s trade media may be the most beneficial. For a retail marketing technology company this would include WWD, Retail Dive, Digital Commerce 360, and more. For a fintech company this would include Financial Times, Bank Automation News, Fintech Magazine, and more. 

What’s Next?

Whether your company is B2B or B2C focused (or both) it is imperative to have a team that understands the strategy associated with your business’s niche market. As discussed above, B2B and B2C companies both need a distinct approach, so when choosing what PR team to work with be sure to look into what type of PR they usually specialize in and check out their case studies of past work to make sure it’s the right fit.

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