Larry Weber: Why B2B Technology Companies Choose PR Over Advertising

May 28, 2014 - 2 minutes read

The best B2B tech PR firms tell complex stories in compelling ways. In a recent interview, Larry Weber, founder of tech PR firm Weber Shandwick, explains why this has traditionally given PR firms an advantage over advertising firms — and why this advantage still holds true today.

It has always been difficult to capture what complex technology can do in an advertisement. It takes far more thoughtful content to get to the constituency bases that would be interested in buying certain technologies—you need to be much more explanative and educative about it, which lends itself to PR. One of the hurdles, especially early on, was that traditional engineers back in the day, in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, felt that wasting money on marketing was sort of silly, and PR was part of marketing. They just believed that their technology was so great, that people should be beating down the doors to buy their products.

What they came to find out was even if it was a very elegant engineering accomplishment, that marketing was increasingly important from a competitive point of view. Now, we’re to the point where we’re actually swinging back to helping technology companies simplify their messages, and convey how they’re going to impact humanity with their innovations, rather than creating engineering feats for engineering’s sake. The four largest categories for the future of PR, I believe, do not include consumer—I think people are making their own decisions about that. I think it’s technology, health, e-business, and digital public affairs—how advocacy works in a digital world.

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