B2B marketing is when businesses attempt to influence the opinions of a client’s business decision-makers and the former present their product or services as a cost-effective, value-added solution that could enhance operations or improve the latter’s productivity. Of course, B2B influencer marketing is also meant to serve the same purpose but is a different ball game than our traditional understanding of this marketing strategy. It is a segment where buying decisions do not happen on a whim but are made after thorough evaluations and serious deliberations. B2B influencers can help drive those discussions in the brand’s favour. Read on as we take a close look at B2B influencer marketing and the impact it can create for brands.
B2B businesses fall under a segment where buying decisions do not happen on a whim but are made after thorough evaluations and serious deliberations. B2B influencers can help drive those discussions in the brand’s favour. Click To Tweet
But first, who are B2B influencers?
Full-time blogger Harsh Agarwal is an expert on digital marketing and has also spoken on many international forums and conferences, providing insights into how brands can make the most out of content marketing in the digital landscape.
Just like Mr Agarwal, the ideal B2B influencers are professionals who have been working in the industry for a substantial amount of time. As such, their influence scales beyond social media platforms. They are usually administrators, mid or high-level managers, and even CEOs or CFOs of companies. They are seasoned in their field of work, and their knowledge and experience make them genuinely influential.
B2B influencers are usually administrators, mid or high-level managers, and even CEOs or CFOs. They are specialists who provide valuable insights, and their expertise on a subject is sought after by the rest of the industry. Click To Tweet
However, this doesn’t mean that the B2B influencer space is restricted to professionals holding high positions in the fields. They are specialists who provide valuable insights, and their expertise on a subject is sought after by the rest of the industry. Podcasters, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, authors, keynote speakers and researchers, guest bloggers, and expert reviewers are all B2B influencers.
How are they different from other influencers?
As with other forms of influencer marketing, the B2B segment of influencers also has a dedicated set of audiences who trust them and their recommendations. They, too, focus on relationship building. These influencers can forward your brand’s message through corporate meetings, conferences, trade shows, local business events, and After Five networking occasions.
While active on social media platforms, the reach of B2B influencers is not limited to that alone. They communicate with audiences through corporate meetings, conferences, trade shows, business events, and networking occasions. Click To Tweet
Their followers are also business professionals whose buying journey is very elaborate and intricate at the same time. They will look at every value proposition with a lens and scrutinise the product to the smallest attribute before even committing to change. The viewers could also be researching a product or service for the company they work for, which means they are also looking at a range of options that they can consider. In any case, B2B influencers can help your brand stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Will they help your brand stand out from the crowd?
It is likely that the businesses you target as a B2B brand already have a solution provider in place. Convincing them to move away from their existing supplier and choose you is no five-finger exercise. It will require advocacy from authoritative figures and industry experts whose recommendations are held in high regard. This is where the B2B influencers come in.
B2B influencers are established professionals with years of industry experience to back them, their suggestions, reviews, and their seal of approval on a brand’s product hold great significance for the audience. Click To Tweet
When a brand recommendation comes from an industry authority, it becomes even more reliable, and other businesses are more inclined to incorporate the products or services you have to offer. Because B2B influencers are established professionals with years of industry experience to back them, their suggestions, reviews, and their seal of approval on your product hold great significance for the audience. B2B influencer campaigns can garner high returns on investment for your brand. Promotion and insights by an industry expert enhance your brand’s credibility, which in turn will be a catalyst to crack your next B2B collaboration deal.
Are other brands collaborating with B2B influencers?
The answer is yes. In 2016, Maybelline launched a B2B campaign during its Fashion Week, where the brand collaborated with 15 beauty experts from 15 countries. With the help of influencer-generated content, the campaign garnered nearly 3.6 million likes on Instagram and reached over 13 million users worldwide.
In 2017, when IBM collaborated with fashion designer Gaurav Gupta to create an AI-inspired saree-gown to promote its AI platform – Watson by IBM, they were amongst the firsts to bring such an innovation to the fashion industry. The designer integrated LED lighting that emitted different colours and patterns depending upon the mood of the person who interacts with the wearer.
Emmy Award winner Archie Punjabi adorned the outfit in the Vogue Women of the Year Awards. Designers today are using artificial intelligence in ways that are revolutionising the fashion industry. From innovative designs and unique products to providing personalised recommendations, AI in fashion is optimising the experience for both brands and buyers alike.
But brands are not just collaborating with B2B influencers in their fields but also partnering with brands from other industries to leverage the power of professional content. Microsoft’s #MakeWhatsNext campaign encourages young girls to opt for a career in STEM. For International Women’s Day, the brand extended the ongoing campaign theme, collaborated with National Geographic and utilised the latter’s resources to further the campaign. During the campaign, thirty photos captured by professional adventure photographers were shared on Instagram, each with a caption featuring a prominent female scientist or adventurer.
Most of the photographers were affiliated with National Geographic, and the captions were aligned to promote Microsoft’s overall campaign. The results? The campaign garnered over 3.5 million likes in just one day and potentially reached 91 million people.
Will you face challenges with B2B influencer marketing?
One of the greatest challenges of B2B influencer marketing is finding an influencer. Bringing a B2B influencer onboard entails more than simply identifying the best spokesperson for your brand. You have to pique their interest in your brand’s product or service to start with. Once that’s done, you will have to consider a number of variables. There are possibilities of a conflict of interest arising out of collaboration if the potential B2B influencer you are seeking has also advocated for a competition. Chances are your potential audience has already seen that promotion which may lead to confusion in their decision-making process.
Moreover, the businesses work with multiple solution providers. The chances are that the influencer endorses you and not your competition; they risk losing their deal with others in the trade. A B2B influencer you want to partner with is likely to have a day job and might be working with a competition or peer company in the same field. Promoting your brand and not the ones they work with can cause unintended friction. They might be bound by a legal contract that could prevent them from collaborating with you.
But then, a lot can be done…
B2B influencers help add a human touch to business transactions. While they may choose whether or not to touch upon the technical information about your product, they will surely provide their expert opinion, insider tips, well-researched, high-quality educational content. All these combined, B2B influencer marketing campaigns can give your potential customers the push they need to make a purchase decision. Supported by experts in the field, B2B influencer marketing can help establish you as an expert in the industry too.