Sophisticated B2B marketers understand that the effectiveness of a given strategy or set of tactics is tied to goals.
When it comes to influence, there are applications across the customer lifecycle from increasing reach and attention from hard to connect with audiences to creating more credible and authentic content experiences to improving trust and inspiring decision making.
Of course, working with external influencers and improving the influence of internal experts is not a silver bullet across all marketing goals. However, in our research on influencer marketing for B2B brands, there are some outcomes where marketers are seeing greater impact.
Rather than simply provide a laundry list of the highest impact marketing outcomes, I’ve clustered similar goals together to provide more category level insight into where B2B marketers have seen the most success when working with influencers.
B2B Influence and Brand Impact
Brand Awareness 84%, Brand Reputation 58% and Brand Advocacy 32% were each well-represented in our research by B2B marketers seeking to create impact from their influencer marketing efforts. The bottom line with creating brand impact is that it is an investment which pays dividends across the customer lifecycle.
With brand trust, distractions and loyalty at stake, optimizing marketing efforts to reach interested customers with credibility and the impact of trusted endorsements is more valuable than ever. Intelligent B2B influencer activations that match relevant experts with content collaborations and promotion can help lesser known brands and challenger brands alike become more credible, trusted and inspire advocacy.
For example, a B2B employee engagement software platform implemented an influencer content campaign that involved a mix of influencers from business celebrities to industry professionals to employee and customer subject matter experts to reach and build trust with customers in a way that resulted in 80% of names captured were new to the brand.
B2B Influence Drives Leads and Sales
It is understood by most B2B marketers that a relationship driven strategy like working with influencers doesn’t yield a lift in sales automatically. And yet it is still possible when the right marketing program architecture aligns influencers with customer engagement opportunities.
With 69% of B2B marketers say Lead Generation is an area of impact and 20% cite an increase in Sales / Revenue from influencer marketing, there is a distinct opportunity for B2B brands to add trusted voices their customers are listening to into marketing programs.
For example, an ITSM software brand did the homework to align very specific audience segment insights to a content marketing program including the right influencers in the right way that drove 20% of annual sales pipeline from a single campaign.
External Influence Drives Employee Influence
While only 15% of B2B marketers cited Improved Staff Reputation as a top impact area from their influencer marketing efforts, we’ve seen substantial growth in this area since the survey data was captured last year. An increasing number of B2B brands of all sizes are investing in the influence of the brand through building up key executives and subject matter experts through social engagement and content collaborations with relevant B2B industry influencers.
For example, brands that range from an international travel platform that worked to build thought leadership with the CEO by posting content on LinkedIn in collaboration with industry influencers to ongoing social engagement for key executives at a large telecommunications giant have resulted in growth of social networks, reach, engagement and quality of interactions with customers and prospects.
Creating B2B Marketing Impact with Influence
As I’ve talked with B2B marketing professionals in 2021 about marketing trends and how our agency is doing, many have remarked how the shift in B2B to digital first and elevated the opportunities for working with influencers. They’re right – the pandemic and all the changes in business and the way customers have shifted their behaviors has indeed created new opportunities for B2B brands to accelerate marketing impact by partnering with industry experts to drive brand outcomes, impact leads and sales and grow thought leadership by partnering key executives with industry experts on social and content marketing efforts.
If you have experience working with influencers in your B2B business, be sure to share your insights in our 2021 B2B Influencer Marketing Survey. You can also check out the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report which includes key trends, statistics, case studies and predictions for the future. Or you can reach out to our team and talk about how to take your influencer engagement efforts to the next level.