This post was first published by James Gerber on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.
Full Disclosure: SiriusDecisions is a March client.
Last week, when John Neeson, SiriusDecisions co-founder and managing partner, took the main stage at SiriusDecisions’ Summit 2014 to unveil the company’s industry-first “B-to-B Confidence Index” study, he outlined the five pillars that lead to growth for B2B organizations:
Markets – Entering or expanding into vertical, horizontal or geographic markets using existing offerings.
Buyers – Targeting new buying centers and behaviors.
Offerings – Launch of new products/services, or enhancement of the current portfolio.
Acquisition – Purchase of other companies or incubating business units.
Productivity – Maximizing efficiency, effectiveness and engagement.
The PR Alignment
Although the theme of his presentation was aligning marketing, sales and product, it struck me that PR is a crucial component to making expansion a success in all of the above areas. Take “Markets”, for example. Entering a new market is challenging. Maybe your startup created a Big Data application that you know can be used for another industry or maybe you’re an established company overseas that sees the potential in entering the U.S. market.
Regardless of the market, you need brand awareness to generate traction. PR strategy can work in tandem with marketing, sales and product to create thought leadership campaigns that will give the market entrance credibility.
When your company is targeting new buyers, you can create a public persona that speaks to that specific demographic within target media outlets. Through both earned and owned media channels, you can create thought leadership around pain points for your target audience, offering solutions and talking with influencers about why your brand can help.
Influencers like journalists and analysts can provide the coverage that helps launch new offerings. After all, what do modern customers and potential customers do before entering into the buying process? They search.
Consumers rely on product reviews or analyst white lists for large enterprise expenditures. They look to see whether unbiased organizations, peers and thought leaders believe in the quality of your solutions. They look through social media channels for customer opinions and experiences. PR can help build awareness for your products by building relationships with those influencers and advising you on how to make the most of social media interactions.
Acquisitions & Decisions
For acquisitions, PR enables you to showcase to the public how the new arm of your organization expands your value proposition. You will also have to engage new influencer audiences and integrate the acquired organization’s communications strategies and existing relationships into the combined entity.
From a tactical standpoint, each acquisition arms you with a story that the top tier financial services and business media are always interested in, especially for public companies.
To further build brand awareness, PR can create high-quality content that amplifies sales and marketing campaigns, contributing case studies, videos, eBooks, guides, blog posts and more. All it takes is the alignment of PR with the internal teams and businesses can supercharge market entrances.
The good news for B2B organizations, according to the study from SiriusDecisions, is that businesses are feeling confident about growth, with more than 90 percent expecting to grow this year. In fact, 60 percent of companies expect to grow by 20 percent or more.
Clearly, the B2B industry has new opportunities for growth all around. Go after them, and make PR a priority so that everyone knows about the company’s next exciting initiative.