Content Under The Influence: Strategies For B2B Marketers

This post originally appeared on the PAN Communications blog. Check out some excerpts below, and  click here to read on.

Influencer marketing is no longer a niche option for brands.  It’s an established reality for B2C, it has great opportunities to grow in B2C, it can be managed, it can be measured – and it will make a big contribution to solving the perennial content problem (good content is expensive, and there’s never enough of it).

But what about for B2B marketers? It’s become a truism that the greater part of the B2B customer journey now takes place before any contact with a sales representative. What are the touch-points on that pre-sales journey? Website visits, whitepapers, live and virtual events – sure – but also peer reviews and conversations with peers.

Influencer marketing leverages the recognition and credibility an individual has with a specific audience to promote a product or service to that audience. The audience follows the influencer because of some perceived affinity – in a broad sense, they’re fans. Influencer marketing is likely to be effective where there is also an unforced affinity between the influencer and the product or service – an affinity readily communicated to followers. 

Influencer marketing is distinct from the adoption of a famous face as a brand ambassador, and it needs to be viewed, treated, and managed differently. In any case, not all products and services are a natural fit for celebrity endorsements, and certainly a celebrity isn’t necessarily a natural fit for a brand just because she’s famous. 

Podcast: Janet Comenos, Spotted, On Celebrity Endorsements

Once you get away from the idea that influencer marketing is just about the Kardashians, and fashion photos on Instagram, and start thinking about micro-influencers, it becomes clearer how an influencer strategy can dovetail with B2B marketing, and even with ABM. When it comes to ABM, there are thought leaders who more naturally address their C-level peers; others who talk granular product details with fellow practitioners. Successfully matching influencers to personas could set an ABM campaign on fire.

It’s no coincidence that influencer marketing sits at the heart of the 2018 Content Fitness Report from PAN Communications. Literally, it’s the central section of the report, and it rightly infiltrates the report’s other main themes: content strategy, budgeting, video, and ROI. We’ll see how the power of voice influences – if that’s the word – content marketing across the board, from planning to metrics, but first let’s break influencer marketing down. 

For more insights on B2B and influencer marketing, check out the 2018 Content Fitness Report

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