Currently the PR industry seems to be in a near permanent state of introspection. Is digital PR rendering traditional methods obsolete? Is the press release really dead? But such debates tend to be weighed down by bias (depending on what horse is being backed in the race), which can make it difficult to cut through the noise and hype.
But what really matters — whether you prefer digital or traditional methods, or a mix of both — is what works. Because, at the end of the day, we need to ensure that our communications efforts are reaching the right audiences. And all businesses want to know what is having the biggest impact on their bottom line.
So, as part of our continued efforts to explore the science driving the PR industry, we thought we’d take a closer look at which channels are a big deal when it comes to chasing down, well, big deals. As such, our latest Wildfire labs experiment investigates which comms channels have the biggest impact on the buying decisions of B2B marketers.
The key finding of this research is that despite ongoing data privacy concerns (yes, we’re looking at you Facebook), a massive backlash from large sections of society and a potential dawning of a post-social media landscape, social media’s business impact remains intact.
As many as 44% of B2B marketers still consider social media channels important when it comes to making purchasing decisions. On top of that, 39% of those surveyed cite case studies as playing a role in their decision making, and 34% say the advice they get from the media is important.
In perhaps the most interesting development, some of the channels companies often spend a lot of money on carry less clout. Industry events and direct marketing are long-standing pillars of the PR and marketing industry, but their influence has waned in recent years. Only 18% of the marketers we spoke to consider events to be important, and a mere 11% said that direct marketing impacted what they buy for their businesses.
So, while some traditional methods decline in influence, the continued reliance on case studies and the media clearly shows that maintaining a mix of digital and traditional channels is vital. Without providing content designed to influence prospects at every stage of the sales funnel across a range of touchpoints, PR professionals cannot hope to deliver business impact.
To find out more, explore the full experiment here.