The B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage - VantagePoint

The B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage

b2b influencer marketing advantage

Let’s face it: at one point in time most of us have been persuaded by a complete stranger to make a purchase for something we thought we needed. The most comfortable shoes, the cloud-like bedding or the anti-aging beauty secret. No matter how self-aware, intelligent and disciplined you may be, you are still influenced by people who impact your thought processes, behaviors and habits in your day-to-day life. This is exactly the goal of a B2C influencer, someone who engages their audience, likely through social channels, to drive product sales.

However, the world of influence is not limited to consumer products and services. Influencers can also play an important role in B2B marketing. B2B influencer marketing has become a major force in customer journeys and acquisitions. According to a recent Marketing Profs article by Alexander Frolov, “B2B brands worldwide are embracing influencer marketing as one of the most cost-effective and time-efficient, yet still impactful, marketing strategies.”

Nowadays, B2B influencer marketing is more accessible and measurable than ever before. Let’s take a closer look at what marketers are saying about this strategy and its effectiveness in achieving their goals.

The influencer advantage

b2b influencer marketing - ideal influencerTo understand influence marketing, we must first understand what an influencer is and goals they strive to achieve. As defined by Influencer Marketing Hub, an influencer is someone who has:

  • The power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position or relationship with their audience.
  • A following in a distinct niche, with whom they actively engage.

The people who have the power

Influencers who can create the most value for your brand will exhibit four pillars of influence:

  1. Relevance: Published insights on topics relevant to your brand
  2. Resonance: Active engagement through social networks or other highly visible channels
  3. Knowledge: Peer-validated authority
  4. Reach: A respectable number of followers or subscribers

People who are considered influencers are identified based on their ability to demonstrate the above-mentioned pillars of influence. They have a high level of authority and authenticity which can also, in turn, empower your brand within their voice. Here are some examples of influencer types you’ll encounter:

  • Traditional: publications, journalists, analysts
  • Industry expert: bloggers, thought leaders, subject matter experts (SMEs)
  • Academic: researchers, colleges/universities, academics
  • Business leader: C-suite, senior management
  • Political: governments, politicians, civil servants, lobbyists
  • Celebrity: actors, musicians, TV personas, sports stars

Influencers should be purposefully vetted to be used by brands as part of a larger marketing strategy. Influencers can help even B2B brands showcase their messages to a larger market. The right influencers find ways to reach distracted people among a cluttered space, helping create purposeful experiences that motivate trust, confidence and action.

Let’s take a closer, more in-depth view of the influencer advantage by diving into the benefits, value and impact a carefully executed B2B influencer marketing strategy can have for brands.

Benefits of B2B influencer marketing

People trust people. Humanizing your brand makes it easier to persuade consumers. In fact, 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals, even from those they do not know, over brands or businesses. Taking that into consideration, it’s little wonder why influencer marketing is packed with benefits and has been proven to be a successful strategy.

Key benefits to introducing a B2B influencer marketing strategy

  1. B2B influencers bring a human component to your brand, including authenticity and personality. Customers instinctually trust humans more than brands, and partnering with the right B2B influencer helps generate brand authority through these human interactions.
  2. Influencer partnerships help expose B2B brands to the influencer’s invaluable networks and highly targeted prospects they otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. This opens the door to new connections and sales opportunities.
  3. Influencers help build credibility to a brand’s message. When collaborating with respected experts, it helps to create content that is believable and empathetic. Their qualitative views come highly valued and act as recommendation from “a friend.”
  4. Outside in” view. Because influencers view their role as mutually beneficial (growing followers and creating engagement), influencers can help keep a pulse on audience needs and pain points. They know what works to create interest with their audience, therefore can help effectively drive content ideas that are equally interesting and relevant.

Value of an influencer marketing strategy for B2B brands

Data shows a significant opportunity for creating value by incorporating an influencer marketing strategy as a fundamental part of a brands marketing plan. When B2B brands are able to connect with trusted voices in their industry, co-create content and reach a wide but relevant audience, the results can be powerful. These numbers speak to the true value of an influencer marketing strategy:

  • 78% increased social reach
  • 64% increased credibility of brand content
  • 62% increased share of voice
  • 55% increased media mentions of brand
  • 53% increase in new leads
  • 44% increase in brand advocacy
  • 34% increased sales

And, according to Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing, B2B influencer marketing helped improve marketing effectiveness in three key areas:

  1. Trust: 77% of B2B marketers say they believe that prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts.
  2. Experience: 77% agree that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experience with the brand.
  3. Performance: 63% say their marketing would have better results if it included a B2B influencer marketing program.

Impact of influencer word of mouth in the B2B space

The term “word of mouth” may seem a bit old school to some, as past generations have been focused on this strategy as a means of promoting products and services for as long as we can remember. But with the introduction to social channels and evolving technologies, word-of-mouth marketing has been pushed to a different level. Brands can go from simply anticipating word of mouth to actually creating it with the help from influencers and the use of technology as a means to distribute that message.

Getting influencers to talk about your brand has far more of an impact than other marketing tactics. In fact, it’s been said that approximately 50% of all purchases are influenced by word of mouth, and in the B2B space specifically, 91% of every sale is influenced by word of mouth in some way.

This is largely due to the fact that B2B investments are higher. The “wrong” choice in buying a piece of equipment has a larger scale impact than the downside of making the incorrect t-shirt or shampoo choice. This all goes back to humans trusting humans.

Rooted in intent

It’s clear to see why B2B marketers consider influence marketing a fast-growing, impactful discipline. Partnering with these industry experts and trusted authorities to build value for your brand opens the door to new opportunities and engagement with consumers. This engagement is rooted with intent and purpose and designed specially with human needs and desires in focus. Relationships formed between influencers and consumers can result in compelling success for your B2B brand for years to come.

In my opinion, marketing guru and influencer Seth Godin said it best: People do not buy goods and servicesThey buy relations, stories and magic.”

Ready to get started? Here’s how you can start working with influencers.