I was speaking with a corporate salesperson late last week. He works for a B2B company with at least 2000 employees in the U.S. alone. He said in the past five years he’d almost never heard of a customer raise the name of a journalist or reference a magazine article when discussing what was shaping their opinion on likely suppliers to shortlist. Industry analysts yes, top-tier and boutique consultancies yes, competitors yes but barely ever a magazine or newspaper article. How times have changed.
When I started my career, journalists were the primary go-to sources for industry news, trends and suppliers. Would-be corporate buyers would immediately be on the phone to their supplier’s salesperson the second they saw a negative press article on that supplier. Within hours (and sometimes minutes) I’d get to hear of it and have to go into defensive mode. That coverage jeopardized sales. I wonder if that ever happens these days? And it got me wondering what proof any PR agency or in-house corp comms person ever has that the media coverage they’re striving so hard to gain has any actual effect on their target buyers? Twenty years ago that proof was tangible. But today?