B2B Marketers Are Way Behind on Influencer Marketing and Here’s the Solution

By Lee Odden

Influencer 2.0 Cover

Influencer Marketing is a hot topic, but what is really working, what isn’t and what are the future trends for marketers? Those are the questions we set out to answer in the research report: Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing.

With analysis from Brian Solis of Altimeter and a research partnership between Traackr and my agency TopRank Marketing, enterprise marketers in North America and Europe were asked about the role of influence including ranking their influencer marketing maturity level.

31% of B2C marketers reported that they are experimenting with influencer marketing and 48% are running ongoing programs. This is in contrast to B2B marketers where a greater number (49%) were still experimenting and only 11% were running ongoing influencer programs.

Why does this mean B2B marketers are behind?

Within B2B marketing, the role of content during the customer journey is clear. Self directed business buyers are pulling themselves through most of the sales journey before ever contacting sales.

How are they doing it? With content.

While content continues to drive customer attraction, engagement and conversion, buyers have become numb to brand messages and advertising, going so far as to install ad blocking software at an increasing rate. Information overload and distrust of push marketing has buyers relying on peers, experts and industry influencers more than ever.

When B2B brands collaborate on content with credible outside voices that have active networks, it results in information with greater relevance, credibility and reach.

The connection between influence and content is very strong amongst enterprise marketers we surveyed. According to the study, 80% of marketers cited the biggest impact from working with influencers as content marketing. With the demand and usefulness of content marketing within B2B, there is tremendous opportunity for B2B marketers to improve their ability to integrate influence more strategically.

While most B2B marketers appreciate the opportunity with content and influencers, many are too inwardly focused. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs offers this advice:

“Make Your Customer The Hero of Your Story. Paradoxically, your “story” is not about you—it’s about what you do for others. That’s a subtle shift, but an important one, because it installs your customer at the very heart of your marketing. It’s customer-centric versus corporate-centric.” @annhandley

Customer centricity is essential for effective B2B content marketing and working with industry influencers to co-create content adds a customer voice and authenticity that many marketers miss.

What is holding B2B marketers back from achieving more success working with influencers? There are three key issues:

1. Working with famous and friends, not influential people.

Social network size and self appointed influencer status does not equal the ability to affect a change of thinking or inspire action amongst buyers. Many B2B marketers are swayed by brandividuals into thinking that popularity alone will move the needle on buying cycle marketing metrics. Awareness is great, but without engagement and conversion as well, what is the point?

2. Viewing influencers as advertising.

People understand new things in terms of what they already know and this is no different in how many B2B Go to the full article.

Source:: Online Marketing Blot – TopRank