BLASTmedia Survey Reveals B2B Marketers Bullish on Brand Spend in 2024, See Building Trust as a Top Priority

INDIANAPOLIS — March 28, 2024 — A new survey conducted by BLASTmedia, the only PR agency dedicated to B2B SaaS, reveals B2B marketers’ top PR priorities in 2024. The data provides insight into how marketers measure brand spend ROI and which marketing tactics are losing value.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • “Establishing more trust” was marketers’ top priority for investing in PR, followed by differentiating from competitors, driving product awareness, and showcasing company values
  • Web traffic, backlinks and conversions (40%), and quality of media coverage (39%) were the top ways marketers measure the ROI of brand awareness spend.
  • More than one-third of marketers (35%) believe email marketing is becoming less impactful with target audiences.
  • Nearly 80% of marketers anticipate their brand awareness spend will increase in 2024.

The survey was conducted with over 100 marketers, from individual contributors to C-level working in companies of <50 to >5000 employees.

“PR has evolved far beyond press releases and product updates. Marketers are realizing the importance of having a consistent, meaningful PR program that establishes trust and lays the foundation for genuine connection,” said Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia President. “However, traditional PR measurement fails to recognize the nuances of modern PR efforts. To determine a program’s effectiveness, a modern PR program needs more comprehensive metrics to acknowledge the quality of coverage versus quantity metrics like Share of Voice.”

In recognition of this variability and the growing complexity of B2B SaaS PR, BLASTmedia recently debuted StoryScore, a measurement tool designed to quantify the varying impact of B2B media coverage at scale. StoryScore gives marketers a simple yet effective rating scale to categorize media coverage into three distinct tiers: Premier, Spotlight, and Highlight. While PR drives immense value across various organizational functions, no two marketers measure this impact in the same way, making PR measurement a long-standing discussion for marketing and communications professionals. StoryScore aims to add clarity to this discussion.

For more information on StoryScore and how it provides a more nuanced understanding of the value of PR efforts, visit the BLASTmedia blog or evaluate media coverage for yourself with BLASTmedia’s ChatGPT-based coverage analyzer, now available for ChatGPT+ users.

Introducing StoryScore: BLASTmedia’s Formula for Coverage Quality at Scale

Hooray! You landed a quality earned media placement. But now you have to explain its value to stakeholders. You know the hard work that went into the accomplishment, but that effort doesn’t pay the bills. According to a 2023 Muck Rack survey, 66% of PR professionals believe that producing measurable results is key to proving PR value. That response rate is higher than securing more coverage (57%).

If you’re facing questions like, “Is our PR program good?” You’ll need to talk about how to measure results in a way your boss, team and other stakeholders can understand. So, let’s talk about it!

Not all coverage is equal, and despite the cliche, not all press is good press. Does a company mention carry the same weight as a positive, in-depth feature on an important launch? Nope. 

That’s why BLASTmedia created StoryScore to help you quantify the power and variation of media coverage at scale. 

StoryScore is a scale from 1 to 8 (or higher, more on that in a moment). This single number can bring the reporting conversation down to a granular level — “what are the components of this piece that are most impactful?”— or zoom it out to the big picture: “is this a good article?”

What’s a good StoryScore? 

  • Premier Tier (Score of 8 or more): This category represents the pinnacle of media placements, showcasing exceptional quality and impact — like features or quotes in Tier 1 outlets. 
  • Spotlight Tier (Score of 4-7): Highlighting good coverage and demonstrating a solid PR program, “Spotlight” placements are worthy of attention and recognition — contributed content in a trade pub, for example — but fall short of the premier category.
  • Highlight Tier (Score of 1-3): This tier covers smaller wins like mentions or earned press release pickups, which still contribute positively to the overall PR strategy.

How does this number fit into standard reporting metrics like Share of Voice (SOV)? StoryScore emphasizes quality, whereas SoV focuses on quantity. If you have one piece of coverage compared to a competitor’s 10 pieces, the competitor will have a much higher SoV. But what if your single piece is an in-depth feature and the competitor’s placements all mention an old data breach? We use SoV here at BLASTmedia, but this hypothetical situation illustrates why SoV doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s not all about quantity! 

So, how do you quantify the quality of these placements? PR pros often like to joke that they don’t love to work with numbers. So we’ll keep this simple. 

First, rate the type of media placement from 1-5.

  • 5 points for features.
  • 4 points for quotes.
  • 3 points for contributed content and podcast interviews.
  • 2 points for paid opportunities, like Forbes Council or FastCo executive boards.
  • 1 point for mentions and non-wire distro PR placements.

Now, we dig into those small nuances that matter but may be challenging to convey. 

  • Land the win in a top-tier publication? Add 4 points. 
  • Did the piece also include a customer? Add 3 points.
  • Was there a backlink to your website, or did the placement include your company’s proprietary data or market research? Both are valuable. 2 points each. 
  • Wait, was this piece positive or negative? If it was a negative story, deduct 5 points. 

A brief sidenote: BLASTmedia defines a top-tier pub as one that maintains a Domain Authority of over 70 and has more than 1 million unique monthly visitors (UVM). 

Once tallied up, specific scores for some placements may exceed 8 points. That’s the sign of a great article, but as a reminder, scores from 4-7 are solid wins and likely the most common.

StoryScore in action

A BLASTmedia client recently secured 30+ pieces of coverage for a funding announcement, a campaign we deemed a success. But, was it? We ran coverage through our StoryScore, and the average score of each piece was a 6. That’s smack in the middle of our Spotlight tier, validating good campaign performance. 

Here’s what went well: 

  • The biggest win was a feature in TechCrunch, a tier-1 publication that included a backlink to the client’s website. This piece scored an 11. 
  • Other placements hitting a StoryScore of 8 or more include features in a local business pub and an enterprise technology trade with a customer quote and backlink.
  • While we also secured coverage in WSJ Pro VC, Fortune and Axios (4 points each for top-tier wins), these hard-won hits are mentions (only 1 point) and don’t include backlinks or a named customer. 

Armed with these results, we brainstormed how to make it even better next time, like how pitching the news as an exclusive may have helped us secure an additional tier-1 feature.

Want to try this out yourself? A pen, paper and a calculator aren’t necessary. We’ve created a ChatGPT-based coverage analyzer (for ChatGPT+ users) to help you calculate a StoryScore based on your coverage links and a few questions.

If you aren’t subscribed to ChatGPT+ and want our team to calculate a StoryScore for you, email Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia President, and let’s chat more about modern PR measurement!

Widening Your SME Bench For a Modern Corporate Narrative

Cultivating trust with a prospect is arguably the most important — and difficult — aspect of conversion. Our recent survey of over 100 marketing leaders revealed building trust as the top priority for 2024. But how can SaaS companies genuinely earn that trust? The answer lies in humanizing your brand through an authentic corporate narrative that moves beyond product talk tracks and CEO speeches.

The rising voices of subject matter experts like CHROs, DE&I leaders and ESG specialists are key to adding depth and resonance to your story. These SMEs provide an inside look at your company’s culture, values and real-world impact that today’s purpose-driven buyers crave. Incorporating their perspectives is a powerful way to reveal your brand’s humanity.

Example: Laurel McKenzie of CoachHub discussing how organizations can keep employees engaged: “A Behavioral Scientist’s Antidote to Resenteeism

Why does humanizing your narrative matter? For one, millennials now make up the bulk of B2B decision-makers. These buyers prioritize aligning with companies that reflect their values around purpose, DEI, sustainability and more. Older buyers are increasingly adopting this mindset as well. When all else is equal between you and competitors, that authentic connection can be the deciding factor.

So what defines an authentic, human-centric corporate narrative in 2024? It should embody traits like:

  • Authenticity – Genuine, unpolished stories revealing your personality and core values.
  • Transparency – An open book on company practices, partnerships and even shortcomings.
  • Conscientious – Clearly incorporating social and environmental impact and sharing proof points on prioritizing and elevating diversity within your organization.
  • Community-Focused – Positioning your company as an active local/global citizen.
  • Risk-Aware – Effective policies and clear communication on data use and protection.
  • Adaptability – The flexibility to respond in real time to current events.
  • Consistency – A unified narrative across all channels and human interactions.
  • Conversational – Using accessible language that speaks to people, not businesses.

Example: Ivori Johnson of ChartHop quoted on the struggles DE&I leaders face in an enterprise: “DEI leaders are burning out from diversity fatigue: Here’s how to survive

Putting this into practice means creatively integrating SME voices and perspectives across your content and communications. CHRO thought leadership on work culture, DEI leader bylines on equitable hiring practices, ESG specialist commentary on your sustainability roadmap — all of these can bring more authenticity to your narrative.

The corporate narrative is evolving, with SMEs taking center stage to reveal the human side of your brand. By embracing transparency and elevating diverse voices, you can craft a narrative that breaks through and earns the trust of today’s discerning buyers.

The Evolution of Modern SaaS PR

We’re here to talk about modern PR. What is it? Well, it’s not so much modern, but evolved. The PR discipline, like other industries, had to level up to keep pace with tech innovation, ever-changing culture, and a media landscape that’s more unpredictable than than a reality show.

It’s still PR, but we’re not out here rebranding it like New Coke (remember that?). We don’t call our smartphones “modern phones” either, do we? They’ve gone from basic flip-phones to mini-computers with more power than the ones they sent to space in the ’60s. Yet, we just call them phones.

So, how has PR evolved? Let me break it down for ya.

PR has gone multi-channel. 

Take The Wall Street Journal for example. It’s not just a newspaper anymore; it’s a whole digital extravaganza with podcasts, TikToks from editors, videos, and more. It’s like a digital octopus with tentacles reaching every corner of the internet and appealing to both super-broad and niche audiences alike.

Back in the day, PR pros pitched stories to newspapers, TV, and maybe radio. But now? There’s a bazillion blogs, podcasts, social feeds, communities, you name it, all clamoring for content. Brands are churning out their own stuff too, with influencers, social posts, and videos. It’s like a content tsunami, and PR teams are out here trying to surf it.

Analytics are a game-changer. 

PR vanity metrics like impressions and ad equivalency are archaic and have been enhanced by measuring against clear objectives like Share of Voice, influence on organic search and web traffic (to name a few). We’ve gone digital from top to bottom, from strategies to results. It’s adapt or die in the digital world, and SaaS PR is no exception. 

PR is no longer one-way communication. 

It’s a dialogue. We’re building real relationships and engaging with our B2B SaaS client’s audience instead of just shouting into the media void. Audiences want to be heard, so we’re listening and using their feedback to shape our messaging and client narratives. 

Authenticity is key in this age of fake news. 

People want real stories and personalities, not overly-messaged corporate spiels about earnings and product features. Brands need to stand for something genuine to earn trust and connect with today’s millennial buyers. And a human-centered PR program can help achieve this. 

Agility is essential in modern PR. 

We’re moving at hyperspeed, jumping on opportunities and controversies before you can say “crisis management.” We’re out here shaping the conversation in real time, not stuck on the sidelines watching it unfold. When news breaks, there are new expectations from audiences around the speed of response and ability to address issues in near real-time. 

The evolution of SaaS PR is undeniable. It has transformed into a dynamic and essential component of modern communication strategies. As we continue to witness the evolution of PR, one thing remains clear: its impact extends far beyond traditional media relations, shaping narratives, building relationships, and driving audiences to action.

The Evolution of the Corporate Narrative

Corporate Narrative by Jodi Ireland

The corporate narrative no longer focuses solely on the CEO, category and product talk tracks. It’s broadened in topic and scope to act as another influencer on today’s generation of talent and buyers valuing purpose and connection. 

And really, every company needs a narrative. We’re not talking about self-contained stories with a set beginning, middle and end, but rather an ongoing, open-ended tale focused on the customer — not the company. 

Far too many companies struggle with crafting a compelling, inspiring corporate narrative that’s customer-focused. Successful companies have included Nike, with its “Just Do It” slogan, Google’s “Telling our Story” initiative, Zendesk’s “Let get real” story or Apple’s “Think different.” 

In this post, we’ll talk about the merit of corporate narratives and how companies can expand their storytelling to reach more audiences, create customer loyalty, build resiliency and more.

A brief history

In the early 20th century, most large companies focused narrowly on selling products and services, and corporate messaging centered on product features, quality and customer service. By the mid-1900s, companies expanded their narratives to include related topics such as their history, relationships with communities, social responsibility efforts and value — a significant shift from the original product focus to building a broader identity and reputation.

More recently, companies have extended their narratives to include cultural branding, purpose-driven messaging, social causes and weightier topics like inequality and climate change.

Now, organizations seek to convey compelling stories across multiple channels — advertising, PR, social media, etc. — infusing those stories with personality, emotion and pillars that go beyond profits.

Benefits of telling more stories

So, why do stories matter? Have stories always been important, and we’ve only just taken notice over the past few years? Or have the audiences themselves changed?

There isn’t one single reason why stories have become more important. Still, the numbers show that Gen Y and millennials — who value purpose and meaning when choosing vendors — comprise most of today’s decision-makers. 

Millennials expect something beyond the typical, traditional sales pitch. They crave meaning when selecting a vendor, and since millennials are involved in 73% of all B2B buying decisions, companies need to step it up to sate this craving. Brands must employ any strategy to attract those buyers, including creating a strong narrative beyond products and:

  • Building an emotional connection.
  • Inspiring evangelists.
  • Driving culture.
  • Guiding decisions.
  • Cultivating trust.
  • Sparking movement.
  • Differentiating the brand from its competition.

Drive authenticity by involving the C-suite in narrative development and leveraging more “internal” SMEs — think CHROs, DEIB and ESG leaders — externally to add layers to the corporate narrative and its importance.

Sure, marketing can distribute the message, but leadership must immerse itself in customers’ needs and expectations. By understanding the full scope of potential opportunities, your leadership can author a narrative that truly resonates. 

Once the C-suite is invested, invite employees to embrace and buy into it. Help them grasp the narrative’s significance, connecting it to their roles in enabling customer success. An inspired, unified workforce multiplies the narratives’ power. When each employee lives out a meaningful story, customers feel the impact.

Looking beyond products fuels inspiration. Delve into your customers’ needs, aspirations and ambitions. When their purpose resonates with your own, passion ignites. Let that intrinsic excitement guide you toward other paths for shared growth.

Then, empower meaningful action. Outline achievable steps to engage customers’ potential. The path to action should challenge — not overwhelm. Progress takes commitment; with care and courage, customers can act on the narrative to drive change.

Best practices for creating a corporate narrative

Corporate narratives have grown increasingly multidimensional and sophisticated, focusing on invoking something beyond a transactional relationship with target audiences. These expanded narratives help attract talent, connect with customers on a deeper level and portray the company as more than just a business. 

But the narratives also invite more scrutiny if actions don’t fully match messaging or aren’t backed by meaningful policies and practices. Avoid serious missteps with these best practices.

  • Articulate a clear purpose and values driving your organization beyond profits to build a solid and consistent foundation.
  • Align the narrative with business goals and strategies to ensure you’re not simply sharing fluff.
  • Get to know and understand your audiences so you can tailor your messaging and channels to resonate with target customers, stakeholders and communities.
  • Showcase company culture authentically, with transparent glimpses into what’s really happening versus portraying more idealistic interpretations of the culture.
  • Make corporate social responsibility (CSR) integral to your company, incorporating it into practices rather than treating it as merely an add-on or afterthought.
  • Evolve and grow the narrative as your company and social expectations change.
  • Substantiate the narrative and claims with action via concrete policies and measurable progress.

Not “The End” but rather a continuation

Investing in your brand is the most powerful intangible asset on your balance sheet. When you invest in expanding your corporate narrative to tell stories that your audience wants to hear, you foster customer loyalty, influence perceptions, drive advocacy, establish credibility, differentiate yourself from the competition, build a solid foundation in a changing world — and perhaps most important of all — create resilience. 

Leveraging Customers for Media Opportunities


B2B SaaS buyers rely heavily on the experiences of existing users. Customer case studies and references are powerful tools, offering invaluable, honest insights into a platform’s strengths, weaknesses and real-world impact. 

Yet, securing these testimonials presents unique challenges, especially if you plan to leverage this customer input with media. Participating in a case study or media opportunity for some customers feels like an arduous task with minimal benefit. Others may be willing to share their experiences but prefer anonymity. Additionally, gaining buy-in from executives, especially in highly regulated industries, can be an uphill battle.

So, how do we bridge this participation gap and gain customer participation? This case study reviews three instances where BLASTmedia secured media opportunities leveraging our client’s customers.


Before diving into specific examples of how we utilized our clients’ customers in the past, we want to review our approach. 

  • During our onboarding process, we ask our clients if they have any customers willing to participate in media opportunities. 
  • The BLASTmedia team reviews case studies on clients’ websites to see if there are any compelling stories or metrics to share with the media. 
  • If customers aren’t comfortable with interviews, we help our clients ease them into the process by incorporating them into our PR efforts in other ways, like including their company name in a press release or a quote in a contributed article. 

Once a client’s customer is willing to participate, BLASTmedia prepares the customer for media opportunities. This assistance includes:

  • Media training/prep 
  • Briefing sheet w/information on the reporter, outlet, topic and key messages 
  • Communication with the customer’s comms team 
  • Coordination with the client and customer 

Remember that leveraging a customer doesn’t always end with an interview, but many paths lead to a positive outcome. Take, for example, the time the BLASTmedia team came across a case study on client Cordial’s website for Bob’s Discount Furniture. With sights set on furniture trade publications, the BLASTmedia team asked the Cordial team if Bob’s Discount Furniture would be interested in participating in media opportunities. Following approvals, the BLASTmedia team took Bob’s Discount Furniture’s story from a simple case study to a unique piece of contributed content placed with a target furniture trade publication. 

There are other times when BLASTmedia clients suggest customers interested in participating in media opportunities. BLASTmedia client TealBook mentioned Cisco as a customer potentially willing to speak with reporters. After discussing the process with the client, the BLASTmedia team collaborated with TealBook and Cisco to nail down the appropriate spokesperson that made sense for the story. The BLASTmedia team scheduled several prep calls and offered briefing docs ahead of the call to ensure the Cisco spokesperson felt comfortable and confident before heading into their interview. 

While having an existing case study helps, it doesn’t mean you necessarily have all that you need to move forward with a pitch. In the case of client Bloomreach, the BLASTmedia team identified Benefits Cosmetics UK as a potential customer to use. While a case study was available, the BLASTmedia team worked with Bloomreach and the Benefits Cosmetics UK team to incorporate additional data to help strengthen the pitch further. 

After securing several opportunities, BLASTmedia prepped briefing sheets and organized and staffed the interviews. The process was smooth and straightforward as the Benefit Cosmetics UK thought leader was previously media trained.


In each instance mentioned above, the BLASTmedia team secured quality coverage that spotlighted both the client and the customer. See below for key results. 

  • Cordial and Bob’s Discount Furniture
    • After receiving a request from target trade publication Furniture World, BLASTmedia drafted a piece entitled Bob’s Discount Furniture Saves by Reducing ‘Frankenstacks’ and Increasing Automation. The content leverages information and messaging from the original case study while incorporating data to showcase the success of Bob’s Discount Furniture’s use of Cordial.
      • Remember that working with a client’s customer can take time due to internal processes, vendor requirements and other red tape. This piece took one year from finding the case study to the article going live. 
  • TealBook and Cisco 
    • After receiving confirmation of Cisco’s interest in media opportunities, BLASTmedia secured a feature in TechTarget entitled How Cisco uses AI to find diverse suppliers. The piece, reaching an audience of nearly 6M readers, highlights Cisco’s use of the Tealbook platform, including quotes from multiple Cisco spokespeople. 

BLASTmedia’s Top Five SaaS PR Blogs of 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect. As such, we’re using this blog post to look at our top five most popular blogs in 2023. From navigating the onboarding process with a new SaaS PR agency to embracing belonging as a critical pillar of DEIB, these blogs tackled a diverse range of challenges and opportunities faced by SaaS businesses today.

So, buckle up and get ready to revisit some of BLASTmedia’s most valuable content from the past year. You might discover a gem that can help you take your SaaS brand to the next level in 2024.

#5. SaaS PR Agency: Onboarding & Expectations

Whether switching SaaS PR agencies or hiring your first one, each has a different onboarding process. What can you expect when you begin a new SaaS PR agency? Our Senior Vice President, Grace Williams, shares the answers in this blog and questions to ask your SaaS PR agency during onboarding.

#4. Why SaaS Brands Should Seek Less Category Competition, More Category Collaboration

You might read the title of our blog coming in the fourth spot and think, “Why would I ever collaborate with my competitor?” We get it, so we put together this blog to explain what category collaboration can do for your company and how to get started.

#3. SaaS PR: Telling a Great Story Through Data

While throwing a bunch of data points into a story can be easy, the real magic happens when a writer combines data and storytelling to provide readers with a more captivating and exciting story. Read how to approach data storytelling from our Content Director, Jodi Ireland. 

#2. What the SVB Collapse Taught Us About Communication in a Crisis

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank had many speculating about who caused it. Some tech comms experts believe the bank’s demise was partly due to communication. Our Executive Vice President Kim Jefferson shares what to do when you need to communicate during a crisis.

#1. Embracing the “B” in DEIB

Coming in at our top spot is a blog from our DEIB committee explaining the importance of adding belonging to diversity, equity and inclusion. Learn why belonging is essential to a DEIB strategy in this blog. 

Have a topic you’d like to see our SaaS PR team cover in 2023? Tweet us, mention us on LinkedIn or drop us a note to let us know.

Top Five Most Downloaded Episodes of SaaS Half Full 2023

This year, SaaS Half Full host Lindsey Groepper sat down for a drink with more than 20 marketers, discussing topics like pricing and packaging to inclusive marketing. 

Whether you listened to every episode of 2023 or grabbed a couple here and there, we’re breaking down our top five most downloaded episodes of the year below. Feel free to grab a drink as we dive in.

#5. Investment Vibe Check: Two VCs Discuss 

In this special edition of SaaS Half Full, Lindsey held a fireside chat with Sara Omohundro, Principal at Elevate Ventures, and David Kerr, Managing Director of Allos Ventures, to discuss the technologies they’re bullish about and the importance of burn efficiency in defining financial health.

#4. The Art & Science Behind Pricing & Packaging with Dan Balcauski

Who is in charge of pricing decisions at your SaaS org? For nearly 60% of companies, it’s the CEO or an opinionated decision-maker in the C-suite. But who should own it? Hear from Product Tranquility Founder Dan Balcauski, who breaks down the art and science of SaaS product pricing and packaging.

#3. What You Can Learn From a B2B Mystery Shopper with Gracey Cantalupo

A B2B mystery shopper? In this episode, Gracey Cantalupo, CMO at MentorcliQ, talks to Lindsey about how hiring someone to walk your virtual storefront and actually being on a software buying committee can be worth its weight in gold.

#2. What Marketers Can Learn from Netflix with Jennifer Griffin Smith

Coming in the second spot is Jennifer Griffin Smith, CMO of Brightcove. She sat down with Lindsey at the start of the year to talk about how marketers can think and act more like a media company. Ready to think more like Netflix? Press play on this episode.

#1. The Subjectivity of SaaS M&A with Thomas Smale

In our top spot, we have Thomas Smale, CEO and Founder of FE International, talking about the benefits and drawbacks of a strong founder brand and the common mistakes he sees companies make when positioning for an exit.

Well, there you have it! Thank you to all our guests and listeners. If you’re interested in any of our guests’ drinks throughout the year, visit Cocktail Couriers

Interested in being on the show? Drop us a line here. If you want to keep up with the latest and greatest for SaaS Half Full, subscribe to our newsletter. Otherwise, watch for the new season of SaaS Half Full, which will drop next month.