The objectives of PR are multifaceted, but for many B2B and technology businesses, a primary driver is increased brand awareness and supporting sales. But how do you reach a customer that has changed almost beyond recognition?
Thanks to a growing range of insights and data, marketers and comms professionals have been used to having a clear vision of the B2B buyer – we would know what time they got to the office and when they were logging on, what media they consumed, their social media habits and the events they would attend.
But 2020 shook all of this up. That buyer journey today has been altered. It is no longer linear and is more fragmented. The B2B buyer works from anywhere, has changed how they communicate, and has access to an ever increasing range of communications channels – meaning it’s not as easy to predict or navigate.
The pandemic has changed how we shop, work and live and this is set to have long lasting effects on the B2B sales journey. We expect a frictionless experience. Vendors need to respond, especially since 77% of B2B buyers say their last purchase was complex or difficult according to Gartner.
In the post-pandemic world, buyer journeys are more disparate than ever. There is a continuing proliferation of channels, from Clubhouse and LinkedIn to webinars, networking groups and media. It is a noisy marketplace and it is harder to be heard as the clear voice of authority or leadership on any subject. And to make it more challenging the average B2B buying decision now involves up to six stakeholders.
Trust is the secret sauce
During the pandemic people have spent more time online, but almost half (46%) of UK adults say they found misleading or untrue information according to Ofcom. It is now much harder to know who to trust. In an age of fake news and content overwhelm what sets you apart is being trusted by your audience.
Your buyers want to know who to trust, and PR is still the most cost-effective and strategic way to do this. While owned and paid media increase exposure and build relationships, PR is all about earning a place within existing conversations via trusted media sources.
Due to information bankruptcy, there is a place for PR to cut through the noise and fast track you to a trusted position. The true value of PR comes from the impact of the trust, authenticity, and dialogue it creates between you and your audiences.
This is an excerpt from our new report How to adapt and thrive with PR in a post-pandemic world. You can download the full report here.