7 Questions B2B Marketers Need to Answer About Influencer Marketing

Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Questions

Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Questions

Diminishing organic social reach, distrust of brand marketing and information overload makes reaching and engaging today’s B2B buyer harder than ever. On top of that, the major changes brought by the pandemic have created new challenges and opportunities for B2B companies to better attract and engage customers in meaningful ways.

Out of the pandemic and the shift to digital first go-to-market approaches for B2B companies, Influencer Marketing has emerged as one of the most effective ways to connect with customers to create better experiences. Despite substantial growth in the discipline from best practices to software, many B2B brands are still experimenting or simply don’t know how to identify, engage and activate influencers.

As I’ve talked with prospective clients and my own team, many B2B marketers see the value in working with influencers to drive credible conversations and content about topics that customers care about. They simply don’t have enough information or experience to execute.

Evolving from this tentative stage to one of driving profitable marketing requires answers to several important questions:

How do you identify the right influencers?

Capturing the value of working with influencers doesn’t start by picking the most popular people in your industry to work with. There has to be a reason for them to do so and that purpose comes from a solid marketing strategy that identifies the topics, narratives and hooks that the marketing will use to engage customers. Those same marketing campaign elements will be used to then identify the people that have influence about the topics your customers care about.

Once topics of influence have been determined, there are a mix of ways to practically identify influencers from interviewing your key executives and customers to leveraging influencer marketing software which acts like an influencer search engine.

The important thing to understand about influencer identification in B2B is that not everyone who influences your customers thinks of themselves as an influencer. In turn, not everyone that identifies as a B2B influencer actually has influence. They might be better at creating engaging media and promotion than getting customers to buy.

The key is that there is tremendous value in working with both ends of the B2B influencer spectrum by matching them to the right kinds of content collaboration and activations.

How can you engage influencers and bring them onboard?

Many B2B marketers want to hit the ground running with influencers as if it were an advertising campaign and for the most part, that is simply not how influencer engagement works. More so than in B2C, B2B influencer marketing is a relationship business. Relationships take time to develop – you don’t simply “turn them on” by asking influencers to join your campaign or even to pay them to create content.

Most great relationships start with some romance where there are efforts to understand what’s important to the influencer and create value before getting any in return. Paying influencers to create content off the bat will get you a content deliverable, but it won’t make the influencer care about your brand. But if they do care, they will share and evangelize your brand, products and people organically.

Once you understand what motivates an influencer (sometimes you simply have to ask them) then you have context to invite them to participate in your marketing effort. Whether they are focused on advocating and growing a certain discipline in the industry or they are already a fan of your brand, you can put together the right kind of invitation to work with your brand to create mutual value and achieve mutual goals.

How do you engage with paid influencers vs organically?

Paying influencers for content deliverables or services has increased substantially in the past 2-3 years. And that is a good thing because it represents a growth in the number of professional influencers in B2B industries that understand how their role as an influencer can contribute to helping brands achieve marketing and business goals.

Typically, B2B influencers are paid for specific deliverables or for a commitment to deliver content over a defined period of time to specifications.

Organic influencer engagement is more about inspiring the influencer to be a part of the movement the brand is advocating. The purpose of the engagement is to join forces to achieve mutual goals and the influencer receives value in the exposure from being a part of the program, access to information, people and/or experiences from the brand.

Most mature B2B influencer marketing programs use a combination of organic engagement and paid. Always-On influencer engagement would typically be relationship building and organic. Asking 10 influencers to create 2 blog posts each or 2 videos each about defined topics to certain criteria would be something the brand would pay for.

Which collaboration efforts have a significant impact?

While content format trends in B2B are definitely leaning towards video, the best B2B influencer collaborations are those that align with customer content preferences. Once you understand how your customers prefer to consume content – most likely a mix of formats – then the task is to find influencers with specific skills or talents using those media formats.

In some cases the influencer can be a turnkey solution and produce content whether it’s a research report, webinar, podcast or video and deliver it to the brand for publishing. In other cases, the influencer is better as “on air talent” and can be the personality representing the brand engaging with internal and external influential voices – on a podcast, video series, webinar or a virtual / in-person event.

How can you integrate influencers with content marketing?

The topics of influence mentioned earlier help B2B brands match the people who are most influential about topics that drive the marketing narrative. Those same topics help guide the actual content influencers provide to the brand for use in content marketing.

Influencer content can be used to “optimize” brand content to be more credible, as in the use of influencer quotes in articles, research reports or as participants in webinars and events. Whatever topic the influencer is most credible about is matched with the corresponding content marketing asset.

Virtually any content marketing effort can benefit from including internal or external expert citations or contributions to give expertise and credibility to the messages intended for customers. Additionally, influencers that have the attention of customers that the brand is trying to reach can assist in promoting the content and reaching those customers.

How do you measure influencer effectiveness?

Marketing measurement has everything to do with the goals for the marketing so thought leadership is measured differently than a lead generation campaign. The same goes for influencer marketing.

When content is involved with an influencer marketing effort, all of the same KPIs are involved as with any other content marketing program. Is the content attracting the right audience, are they engaging with the content and is it converting?

With influencers it’s also important to measure the effectiveness of the influencers using tracking URLs to see how well their content resonates with audiences on delivering the above KPIs.

If a defined group of industry experts are engaged then it’s important to measure things like the brand’s share of voice within that group of influencers.

If the brand could get the most influential people in the industry talking about their brand in a positive way, that could have a significant warming effect if not direct impact on the marketing consideration of their products/services. Mentions and advocacy can be measured from benchmark to ongoing progress.

The trend in those influencer mentions can be overlaid with analytics tracking changes in more direct marketing KPIs to see if there is a correlation between increased influencer brand advocacy and lift in commercial content consumption, brand interest, leads and sales.

How does influencer marketing software help optimize marketing?

The influencer martech industry has grown substantially over the past 9 years TopRank Marketing has been involved with B2B influencer marketing. There are a variety of tools from specialty applications that are only used to identify Twitter influencers to enterprise level platforms that can handle everything from influencer identification to CRM to program measurement.

Picking influencers should be a data informed decision and influencer marketing software can comb through vast amounts of data to identify those individuals with the right mix of relevance, resonance and reach for your marketing program.

Communicating with influencers from initial social engagement to invitations to collaborate to contract management and deliverables management are all essential and best handled by software.

Monitoring your influencers and surfacing activation opportunities is essential for an Always-On program.

Measuring campaign performance as well as the share of voice and sentiment a group of influencers has about your brand is most effectively handled by influencer marketing software.

Influencer Marketing programs that work with 10, 20 or 100 different influencers simply cannot scale with any quality using a spreadsheet. Influencer Marketing software helps add both quality and efficiency to a program. That means more relevant influencers are identified, communications are more timely and effective and the performance measurement that you need is there for program optimization.

I will be digging into the details of each of these questions during a 3 hour workshop at the Pubcon conference tomorrow: How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program That Actually Works. Of course if you have any questions of your own, feel free to connect with our team at TopRank Marketing.

The post 7 Questions B2B Marketers Need to Answer About Influencer Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Share Your Expertise in the 2021 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Survey

2021 B2B influencer marketing survey

2021 B2B influencer marketing survey

The past year or more has taught B2B marketer many lessons, especially the importance of creating digital first experiences that are credible, authentic and relevant to specific buyers. As part of the digital transformation of marketing, many B2B companies have adjusted their go-to-market approach to satisfy the changing customer expectations that have evolved during the pandemic.

One of those adjustments in B2B marketing has been the increasing role of influence in delivering  credible, authentic and relevant digital experiences. Our initial B2B Influencer Marketing research from 2020 showed that going into the pandemic, confidence in working with B2B influencers was very high as were expectations of outcomes.

Despite the growing confidence in working with B2B influencers over the past year, today there are important questions to be answered as more B2B brands enter the realm of influence and grow more sophisticated with the practice.

Much of B2B influencer marketing has emphasized working with industry experts external to the organization, but what about growing influence from within? How does influencer marketing work across departments? How do employee advocacy, growing executive influence and working with industry influencers intersect to deliver better customer experiences and marketing performance?

At TopRank Marketing we are proud to work on influencer content marketing and executive social programs for some of the biggest B2B brands in the world. We also know that our blog community represent a wealth and depth of B2B marketing experience.  We invite you to share that expertise in our 2021 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Survey.

Your insights will help elevate the practice of B2B Influencer Marketing and help the industry see what’s working, what’s not and where the future of influence is in 2021 and beyond.

For the 2021 report, we’ll be collecting data on all aspects of influencer marketing for B2B brands as well as insights from practitioners like you.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report 2020
In the 45 page 2020 report we featured key findings and statistics about strategy, tactics, budgets and measurement as well as B2B influencer marketing case studies from SAP, LinkedIn, Cherwell Software and Monday.com. We also highlighted influencer marketing insights from B2B executives at Adobe, AT&T Business, IBM, MarketingProfs, Salesforce, SAP, Traackr, Treasure Data and more.

For the 2021 report, we’ll be sharing insights on growing marketing momentum with influence, the next level of Always-On influence, new best practices, budgets, technology and measurement plus all new case studies and insights from B2B marketing professionals. We’ve also been working on a fresh list of the most influential voices in the B2B world on the topic of influence in marketing and their predictions for the future.

If you have worked with influencers in the past year, then you’ll have valuable insights to share. You can also enter our giveaway of five $100 Amazon gift cards and early access to the findings of the report.

The survey takes just a few minutes and that investment in time will go a long way towards helping answer some of the key questions about working with internal and external influencers.

Optimizing marketing experiences with influence represents one of the most important digital growth strategies in 2021 and beyond. Take the 2021 survey today and join us in helping B2B marketers at all levels of influencer marketing experience level up their strategy, best practices and operations to build momentum in 2021 and beyond.

 

 

The post Share Your Expertise in the 2021 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Survey appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

From Tech to Human: Three Post Pandemic B2B Marketing Trends

Post Pandemic B2B Marketing Trends

Post Pandemic B2B Marketing Trends

For many, the past few months have opened up giving us a taste of “return to normal” but what does that mean?

When most people say normal, what they often mean is comfortable. In the business world pre-pandemic comfortable is a dangerous place to be.

Any company that did not adjust, adapt or pivot over the past year and a half probably isn’t in business or doing as much business as they should. There have been many changes during the pandemic from digital transformation across all aspects of business to evolving expectations of customers. Companies and their marketers must be in tune with all of these changes in order to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic business environment.

One way customers have changed in B2B is that they expect more from the digital experience. Recent research shows 90% of B2B buyers will turn to a competitor if a suppliers digital channel doesn’t meet their needs. The elevation of expectations extends to service as well. “Expectations for experience have gotten so high that our traditional means of customer service simply aren’t sufficient anymore.” says Vivek Ahuja in a piece on Forbes.

Marketing is no different and the experiences companies create through their marketing are more important than ever.

As the former Salesforce chief marketing officer Kraig Swensrud, who is now co-founder of Qualified.com says, B2B marketers must prioritize “personalized, real-time experiences” to win over decision-makers who are increasingly digital-first.

There are important connections to be made between changes born of the pandemic and the trends that B2B brands need to be aware of as we enter the next phase marketing for 2H 2021 and into 2022.

Experience is Everything

“Research shows a strong correlation and interconnectedness between brand experience, customer experience and employee experience.” Forrester

Digital first B2B buyers expect continuity across channels for the information they seek as they pull themselves from awareness to consideration to decision in the sales journey. B2B brands that have adapted their marketing for digital first buyers must deliver best answer experiences that are both findable and credible.

Being the best answer for your customers with content that is comprehensive, relevant, engaging and actionable is more important than ever as competition for digital attention rises in B2B communication channels.

Optimizing best answer content experiences by making them easy to find and relevant is something many B2B marketers are tackling through renewed focus on SEO. Being found is a great start, but being found and trustworthy is even better. That’s why it is more timely than ever for B2B marketers to integrate efforts to optimize content for findability and credibility by incorporating influencers.

Many successful B2B marketers have already made this connection between SEO and influence when creating content experiences for customers. In our research for the State of B2B Influencer Marketing, we found that 50% of B2B marketers surveyed are integrating influencer marketing with SEO.  We also found that there is a connection between the elevated credibility of content from trusted industry experts and the experiences B2B brands are so focused on. 74% of B2B marketers believe that influencer marketing impacts both prospect and customer experiences with the brand.

Content Really is King

“The average number of buying interactions has risen from 17 to 27 and 60% of purchases have 4+ people involved.” Forrester

Those interactions are powered by content. As B2B marketers have shifted much of their marketing efforts to digital, content plays a more important role in delivering information and experiences that satisfy the buyer’s intent. And there’s more buyers involved in the process creating even more reasons to produce highly relevant, engaging and trusted content.

While many marketers are already challenged to create enough content, our research found that by partnering with industry experts, content credibility and reach objectives are both positively affected.  In fact, 70% of B2B marketers say influencers improve the credibility of brand content and 75% say influencers help drive more views of brand content.

The transformation of B2B to digital means B2B marketers must approach content intelligently and not alone. Partnering with the voices in the industry that have the trust and attention of the customers helps create a quantity of quality content that has credibility and reach that brands are having a hard time achieving on their own.

Executive Influence Drives Sales

“Salespeople must become recognized thought leaders in their fields and contribute to digital conversations in new and provocative ways.” Harvard Business Review

The value of influence for B2B brands is not limited to salespeople. In fact, there’s value in every public facing executive at a B2B brand to grow their influence in the industry and help drive revenue outcomes. Many B2B key opinion leaders and subject matter experts within companies may not have sales responsibilities, but the trust in their expertise can help create confidence in the brand and those who are tasked with sales.

Some B2B marketers area already seeing lift in lead generation and sales by working with industry influencers. For example, our survey of hundreds of B2B marketers found that 53% of B2B marketers have increased leads by working with influencers. 34% say their work with influencers have increased sales.

So why limit the value of influence to only working with external influencers? Why not develop the influence of appropriate subject matter experts and executives within the brand as well?

In fact, many B2B brands are finding the combination of developing social influence of their executives can be facilitated by partnering those internal opinion leaders with external industry experts. Whether it’s content co-creation, a LinkedIn Live event, webinar Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse chat, podcast interview or recorded video, there are many opportunities for B2B brands the create mutual value and lift for their executives in partnership with industry experts that can result in those internal executives having more influence on prospects and customers.

There are more than enough emerging technology trends happening with the transformation of B2B marketing and business to digital first. But there is a human side to B2B marketing that has too often been overlooked in the past. If there’s one thing that past 18 months has taught us as we’ve come to know our business customers better than ever, is that the human connection – the customer experience, the value of content and the power of your own executives being influential all play important roles in connecting with customers in ways they expect and are necessary.

The post From Tech to Human: Three Post Pandemic B2B Marketing Trends appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Mindful Marketing: 5 Uncommon Ways To Work With B2B Influencers

Businesswoman in wild glasses against an unusual orange striped background image.

Businesswoman in wild glasses against an unusual orange striped background image.

What are some uncommon ways B2B marketers can successfully work with influencers?

One of the many advantages of working with subject matter experts (SMEs) who are influential in their industry is the sheer variety of ways that marketers can collaborate to build a mutually beneficial partnership.

While we’ve explored many of the traditional ways B2B marketers often work with influencers, we wanted to take a look at a few of the unusual ways collaboration is taking place.

Let’s dive right in, with examples from both SMEs and marketers who’ve implemented uncommon takes on the B2B influencer partnership that can help inspire your own influencer programs.

1 — From Influencer to Long-Term Friendship

ChrisPennChristopher Penn, co-founder and chief data scientist at Trust Insights, has found that an influencer partnership can on occasion lead to something bigger than the sum of its parts.

“Uncommon experience? Becoming great friends with one of the folks who was originally just doing outreach,” Christopher shared.

“There’s always a bit of a power imbalance in any kind of influencer situation, especially in cases where someone is asking for help and there isn’t a tangible exchange of value — like payment,” Christopher explained.

“But occasionally you run into someone that’s just a solid, good human being, and the commercial relationship evolves into an actual friendship. Rare, but delightful,” Christopher noted.

Successful B2B influencer marketing programs are often built on long-term professional relationships that find brands and SMEs working together and helping one another over the long haul, giving rise to always-on efforts that gain strength as years of shared experiences and successes accumulate.

Finding friendship is a bonus that can sometimes happen when working with influencer programs, and is certainly one to treasure as Christopher shared.

[bctt tweet=”“Occasionally you run into someone that’s just a solid, good human being, and the commercial relationship evolves into an actual friendship. Rare, but delightful.” — Christopher Penn @cspenn” username=”toprank”]

2 — Building Trust with Pre-Release Influencer Briefings

Michaela Underdahl

For Michaela Underdahl, marketing lead at customer relationship management software firm Nimble, there are a variety of uncommon tactics that can be used when working with industry influencers.

“One of our main goals at Nimble is to turn the influencers that we work with into power users and evangelists,” Michaela said.

“So, every time we are launching a new feature, we brief our influencers prior to the release date and request quotes describing the benefits of the feature to them. Depending on the type of the influencer, we use the quotes in various different ways,” Michaela explained.

“Some of the more common ways are press releases and blog posts, but we also create social graphics and use the quotes to reach out to additional influencers and press. This helps us open new doors as people recognize these influencers and are more likely to start working with us since they know we already work with people they know, like and trust,” Michaela shared.

This trust and the variety of ways it can be nurtured when working with SMEs is another example of the power of influencer marketing to go beyond traditional content or search marketing initiatives, as we explored recently in “Trust and the Search for Answers: How Influence Optimizes SEO Performance.”

Empowering evangelists as Michaela noted can lead to stronger influencer relationships that benefit both brands and industry experts.

[bctt tweet=”“One of our main goals at Nimble is to turn the influencers that we work with into power users and evangelists.” — Michaela Underdahl @MichaUnderdahl” username=”toprank”]

3 — Discovering New Influencers In Unusual Social Hangouts

Woman By Sunny Lake Image

B2B influencer marketing continues to evolve, and SMEs in some industries aren’t always going to be found solely on the traditional social media platforms of LinkedIn*, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Many industries have attracted an infusion of newly-minted marketing professionals, and the SMEs they consider influential may frequent an entirely different set of online communication platforms, which could be any of the following or others:

  • Clubhouse
  • Reddit
  • Twitter Spaces
  • TikTok
  • Spotify Greenroom
  • Facebook Live Audio Rooms
  • Caffeine
  • Twitter Blue
  • MeWe
  • Twitch

Today there are more social channels than ever, and we all have our favorites for work, play, research, or other tasks.

B2B marketers are finding untapped audiences on uncommon social platforms — audiences that often become customers — and that feature potential influencers to consider for certain industries.

We’ve explored how B2B marketers can utilize some of these alternative social platforms in the following articles:

Additionally, Penry Price, vice-president of marketing solutions at LinkedIn, recently explored how B2B marketers can tap in to Gen Z, in “Focusing on gen Z: how B2B brands can hook this new generation of customers & candidates.”

[bctt tweet=”“Participating on the Clubhouse app immediately increased my social and professional networks. Clubhouse is amazing for the give-and-take communication and information exchange.” — Stephanie Thum @stephaniethum” username=”toprank”]

4 — Working Together To Drive Industry Knowledge

Colorful element particle image.

Perhaps even more than in B2C marketing, B2B influencers have increasingly formed mostly private groups that serve as communication tools for refining and driving the long-term success of influencer marketing.

Sometimes driving industry knowledge and empowering influencers are also tackled by more public groups, such as the popular Adobe Insiders program.

“Working with a small group of influencers can be a great place to start, but that small group should be backed by a much larger list of researched candidate influencers. As relationships develop through the course of different collaborations, B2B marketers will refine and find the right influencers. A VIP group of influencers might be created as Adobe has with its 60+ Adobe Insiders being activated at individual, small group or large group levels depending on the situation,” our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden noted recently in “B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy: 5 Questions to Ask First.”

The Adobe Insiders program is a diverse group of over 60 influencers that includes leading executives, industry leaders, major media correspondents, contributing journalists, and technology pioneers — including Lee.

Managing the B2B Adobe Insiders program is Rani Mani, head of employee advocacy at Adobe. Rani shared her insight into the program and how it drives industry knowledge and more in her in-depth interview for our Inside B2B Influence show, which is available at “Inside Influence 1: Rani Mani from Adobe on the B2B Influencer Marketing Advantage.”

[bctt tweet=”“I think we’ll see a lot more influencers standing up for their creative freedom and creative license and I think we’ll see less prescriptive micromanagement from brands.” — Rani Mani @ranimani0707″ username=”toprank”]

5 — Spark Interest by Mentoring New B2B Influencers

Woman holding ball of energy image.

By mentoring the next generations of marketing influencers, you’ll not only help new SMEs develop, but also continue your own lifelong learning.

Influencer marketing is a two-way street when it comes to mentoring opportunities.

“I think it’s really important that people seek out a person who is going to be a champion for them if they want to advance and grow their career,” Jen Holtvluwer, chief marketing officer at Spirion shared in our “Inside Influence 5: Jen Holtvluwer from Spiron on Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing.”

“I’ve had so many that I still keep in touch with today that have been that champion for my cause. So I think it’s really important to not to do it alone and make sure you put in the time and that your time is noticed. And make sure that you’re marketing yourself to the right champion in the business. Then they’ll stay with you and refer you as other opportunities come up,” Jen explained.

We can do a great service to future generations by sharing our insight with aspiring young B2B influencers.

If we can spark an interest by mentoring a younger colleague, client or associate, we’ll contribute to a future of marketing that is more robust with your own personal knowledge passed along to the next generation.

We can do this by inspiring and mentoring young influencer talent by imparting your own passion for B2B marketing, as Peggy Smedley, editorial director and president at Specialty Publishing Media, shared with us in “B2B Influencer Marketing Advice from 9 Top B2B Influencers.”

“As influencers we are here to serve the mission and [know] that our influence on people comes from our ability to be a role model. We need to be very mindful about what we say and how we say it. We are always leaders and mentors and we need to focus on the needs of others first because we have been tasked with leading others. We always need to serve others and by doing that we are doing the best for ourselves,” Peggy shared.

[bctt tweet=”“We are always leaders and mentors and we need to focus on the needs of others first because we have been tasked with leading others.” — Peggy Smedley @ConnectedWMag” username=”toprank”]

Taming Your Uncharted Influencer Waters

via GIPHY

By making the leap from influencer to long-term friendship, building trust by sharing pre-campaign briefings, tapping into unusual social hangouts, using influencer groups to drive industry knowledge, and mentoring future influencers, your own B2B influencer marketing program can benefit substantially from these uncommon tactics.

These five are only the tip of the influencer marketing iceberg, however, as the power of influence is expansive and only expected to increase as we make the push to 2022.

To learn more about the power of influence in B2B marketing, be sure to catch the new season of our Inside B2B Influence show, featuring in-depth video and podcast interviews with the top B2B influencers working with the world’s biggest B2B brands. The season kicked off with Ann Handley of MarketingProfs in “Inside B2B Influence 14: Ann Handley of MarketingProfs on Content Marketing and Influence.”

Creating award-winning B2B marketing with an artful mixture of influence takes considerable time and effort, which is why many firms choose to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us today and let us know how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.

* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Mindful Marketing: 5 Uncommon Ways To Work With B2B Influencers appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Inside B2B Influence 14: Ann Handley of MarketingProfs on Content Marketing and Influence

Ann Handley

Ann Handley

Inside B2B Influence is a show that goes behind the scenes of B2B marketing and showcases conversations with insiders from the world of influencer marketing. We connect with influential practitioners at B2B brands of all kinds and sizes to answer the rising number of questions about working with influencers in a business context.

In this first episode of the second season of Inside B2B Influence, I was able to catch up with the incredibly popular, talented and beloved Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, Ann Handley. I’ve known Ann for well over 10 years and she’s been a great friend, client and source of inspiration to me about more meaningful content marketing.

Ann talks with me about a variety of topics ranging from the nature of influence in B2B, demand for B2B influencers during the pandemic and our mutually favorite “dogfluencer”, August – the most dashing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel you may ever meet.

Highlights of this episode of Inside B2B Influence with Ann Handley include:

  • Does everybody have influence? Yes and no
  • How the change to digital first B2B marketing has affected demand for influencers
  • The importance of a relationship driven approach
  • Trends in B2B influencer content collaboration
  • Growing emphasis on executive thought leadership and influence
  • Worst practices influencer engagement
  • How to integrate influencers with your newsletter
  • What B2B marketers should do to improve their influencer marketing
  • Some of Ann’s favorite B2B industry influencers

Listen to episode 14 (Confluence: The B2B Content and Influence Connection) of the Inside B2B Influence podcast here:

You wrote the best selling book, Everybody Writes. Do you think everybody has influence?

Ann: That’s such an interesting question because at first pass it’s like, well of course. But then on the other hand it’s kind of an existential question, isn’t it? I really had to think about that for a second. I mean, yes, I do think that everybody has influence, but not everybody has credibility, right? Yes, we all have influence, but not in all topics. Like for example, I really like sushi, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a fish influencer. Is that a thing fishfluencer? I think we all have our spheres of expertise and we are influential within those spheres of expertise. But I don’t think that people are influencers across all things.

Everybody has influence, but not everybody has credibility. @annhandley

I also think that, especially in B2B, that the notion of influencers is even more narrowly defined than it is in, in B2C. Because the expertise that I have in marketing is, you know, it’s content, it’s writing. It’s very specific. I don’t think you would come to me if you were looking for somebody to talk about analytics. Like you would go to Chris Penn for that. He’s an influencer in marketing analytics. So I think, especially in B2B, that that it is absolutely true that the credibility I have as an influencer is very specific and narrow. And I think that’s true of any, any B2B influencer.

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation in B2B impacting all aspects of doing business including marketing. What impact has an emphasis on digital first in B2B marketing had on the demand for influencers like yourself?

Ann: I have definitely seen more of those opportunities come my way because I think, just to your point, all of the traditional B2B tactics of field marketing and in person trade shows and other moments to experience the brands face to face, all of that went away in the past 15 months or so since the pandemic. So what takes its place? That’s been what’s fueling a lot of that digital transformation happening at B2B companies.

Influencer marketing is very much part of that because, how do you build that sort of trust with your audience if you don’t have the ability to meet them in person, to sit down, to have a conversation with them? So I think influencers have become a proxy and a conduit for that.

We’re going to see more companies start to embrace the opportunity to form relationships with influencers versus straight up transactional. @annhandley

What’s interesting and what I see straight up from an influencer standpoint, is that more of those companies seek to have those relationships with me. They’re seeking to build those relationships with me in much less of a transactional way. You and I have talked about this Lee, I remember saying to you that this is like the future of B2B influencer marketing. We’re going to see more companies start to embrace the opportunity to form relationships with influencers versus, you know, straight up transactional – make it less of an advertising / transactional play. Like here, I’ll pay you X amount of dollars if you share my thing, you know? That’s more of a B2C model.

I think in B2B what we’re seeing, and this has been fueled by the pandemic, is that we are seeing those relationships start to happen between brands and influencers like me where they’re reaching out to me proactively and saying, “Hey, we don’t have a thing right now, but we want to work with you. Can we sort of get to know each other?”

And so I think we’re seeing an increasing impetus toward an approach that I feel, has more sustainability long-term and it’s the way that I like to work personally. So yeah, I think we’re seeing a whole lot more of that.

What are some of the content collaboration opportunities between B2B brands and influencers that you’re seeing more of in 2021?

Ann: There are yeah. I want to caveat this by saying that I’m speaking from my personal experience versus, you know, I haven’t necessarily polled B2B marketers. So you probably have a better perspective on this too and whether what I’m talking about is actually reflected in the broader B2B community.

What I see is more brands looking to have a longterm relationship. Not just, come speak at our webinar, but, can we actually think about this over like a fiscal year? What can we do together in Q1 and Q2 and Q3, so that it becomes much more of a, not quite ambassador, but at least more of a brand alignment, right? So that I’m saying, “I believe in what you do” and and you’re saying that you trust me as well.

More long-term engagements and less transactional is honestly the foundation of a successful B2B influencer marketing program. @annhandley

I think longer-term engagement with a trust foundation to it is definitely something that I’m seeing. I’m also seeing these situations where even if it is about providing a quote for this, or for example, I’ll put something in my newsletter that’s sort of sponsored but for me, it’s not anything that you can buy. It’s something where I read the paper and I believe in it. I have a relationship with the company and so therefore I will share it with my audience. So yes, it’s sponsored, but it’s like, it’s sponsored with my whole self. I guess I’m a little bit goofy, but you know what I mean, with integrity, I should say.

That is a situation where it’ll be over several months, so it’s not just like a one and done. But can you help us promote this and here’s what’s in it for you and here’s what we want to give to you and your audience, that kind of thing. I guess to sum up, much more long-term engagements and less transactional, which I think is honestly the foundation of a successful B2B influencer marketing program anyway. But you probably have more perspective on that than I do.

It’s been really interesting what’s happened not just in terms of content creation and the thought leadership through partnerships between executives and external influencers, but also the relationships that are being facilitated.

Ann: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I think it makes total sense, right? Because in the past 15 months of the pandemic, I think that the brands who have really demonstrated that we’re all in this together, have actually had to show up in a real human genuine way and to be there for their audiences. I think that’s in part what’s driving the kind of collaboration that you’re talking about.

Brands realize that to trust somebody, you’ve got to know them. And how can you trust a B2B brand unless you sort of see the faces of the people behind the brand? @annhandley

Because I do think brands realize that to trust somebody, you’ve got to know them. And how can you trust a B2B brand unless you sort of see the faces of the people behind the brand? I think that cascades throughout B2B marketing as well as influencer marketing. I think that’s clearly one area where we are seeing where that comes to life,

Along with best practices there are also bad practices. I’m curious if there are any bad behaviors in terms of how people reach out or engage with you?

Ann: I think there’s been a few situations where I just, I tend not to engage basically. That’s a situation where a big agency will reach out and it’s clear that I’m one of many. Like I’m like part of a stable of influencers that they’re looking to. And they ask me to respond and fill out this Google form about the size of my audience. I’m not going to do any of that. That’s not what I want and that’s not who I am. It’s not what my brand is all about. That’s just not what I’m going to do.

It doesn’t matter to me how much money is on the table, because damage to my brand, reputation and my credibility far outweighs anything else. @annhandley

So it doesn’t matter to me how much money is on the table, because damage to my brand, reputation and my credibility far outweighs anything else. That’s a situation where I just wouldn’t engage. I can’t even say that it’s a bad practice but it’s de-motivating. When those come in we just sort of delete it immediately.

Or they come at it from a tactic standpoint. I get this a lot. For example, my email newsletter. I’ve talked a lot about it the past couple of years, it’s grown pretty significantly and it has really healthy, open rates. The list is just over 50,000 now. So it’s a good, robust list. I get a lot of people who say, will you share this in your newsletter? And I don’t know them. I don’t have a relationship with you. So if the onus is on me to do the legwork and figure out who you are, what your solution is all about or what your piece of content is all about, then I’m not going to do it.

Also, that’s not the role of the newsletter. If you know me, and if you’re on the list, then you know that, right? So, if you want to get something in my newsletter, then that’s not the first step. The first step is engaging me on social, get to know me. All the things that, you know, you do to start a relationship. All the best practices around that. Not. “Will you share this in your newsletter?” That’s all the stuff that just ends up being deleted immediately.

What are some ways you can imagine someone incorporating influencer content in a newsletter?

Ann: If you’re a marketer and you’re publishing your own newsletter and you want to work with influencers, trying to figure out a way to highlight them in that environment could be something simple, like highlighting some of their content or highlighting them as an individual. Or it could be something more like inviting them to be like a guest editor depending on the relationship.

I think there’s lots of opportunity there to influence the influencer as part of your brand and not just thinking that your relationship with the influencer is only in the social space. Because I think an email newsletter is just such a rich opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. The degree to which you can invite influencers into that relationship is going to solidify your relationship with the influencer as well.

Who are some of your favorite influencers, you know, that would, you know, that operate in the B2B world in some way, whether it’s marketing or tech or somewhere else?

Ann: Avinash Kaushik at Google. I don’t even know if he would consider himself an influencer, but he is. I think mostly because his brain functions so differently. I’m on his newsletter list. I love to read his perspective and his point of view, and follow him on social for the same reasons.

Chris Penn is somebody else who you know, again, has a very different approach. But if you took Chris Penn’s brain and took my brain and sort of put them together, you’d get like this whole body marketer, you know? I think I come at it very much from the art and high touch perspective and he comes at it very much from a science and analytics standpoint. I appreciate his message so much because he helps me elevate in what I do just by paying attention to what he’s doing.

I love what April Dunford talks about around positioning. I think she offers some really valuable advice and I always love seeing what she has to say and hearing her point of view on things.

You certainly. I think you, and I know it’s like your show so I probably shouldn’t, but like the work you’ve done around influencer marketing, I think you absolutely are helping to push the industry forward in terms of like how to do it right. And, and how to create programs that actually do sustain themselves long-term and deliver value for your organization.

Thanks Ann! You are a great source of inspiration to B2B marketers all over the world and a wonderful human being!

You can also watch the full video interview with Ann Handley here:

For more B2B marketing insights, you can subscribe to Ann’s amazing Total ANNARCHY newsletter here and connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, don’t miss out on the MarketingPros B2B Forum coming up October 13-14 this year.

Be sure to stay tuned to TopRank Marketing’s B2B Marketing Blog for our next episode of Inside B2B Influence where we’ll be answering the B2B marketing industry’s most pressing questions about the role of influence in business marketing.

You can also download The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report featuring insights from a survey of hundreds of B2B marketers plus case studies and contributions from marketing executives at brands including Adobe, LinkedIn, IBM, Dell, SAP and many more.

The post Inside B2B Influence 14: Ann Handley of MarketingProfs on Content Marketing and Influence appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Top 5 Benefits of Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands

Benefits B2B influencer marketing

Benefits B2B influencer marketing

Despite that 96% of marketers engaging influencers for marketing deem their programs successful, there are still a very large number of B2B companies evaluating where influencer engagement fits in their marketing mix.

After spending the last 8 plus years working on developing influencer marketing strategies, creating pilot projects, implementing campaigns and running ongoing influencer programs for brands that range from 3M to Dell to LinkedIn, here are some of the top benefits B2B companies of all sizes are realizing through their influencer marketing efforts.

Before I get to the list, I think it’s important to mention that benefits realized are directly connected to goals imagined. That may seem obvious but the application of influence to marketing is viewed in many different ways and therefore, the outcomes can be just as different.

For example, a pilot is often meant to be a proof of concept and sparks connections with influencers.

An integrated influencer content marketing campaign that runs over several months and across channels produces a lot of useful content and helps identify which influencers are effective.

An Always-On approach over time develops a rich source of content and relationships with influencers which can accelerate the quality and promotion of the content by influencers as well as organic advocacy.

So the benefits B2B brands can realize from incorporating influence into their marketing mix really depends on the approach. Here’s a list of 5 of the most common and impactful benefits of working with external and internal influencers at B2B companies:

1. Influencers add credibility and authenticity to brand content

Properly identifying the topics that matter to customers that the brand needs to be more influential about leads to finding people who already have the desired influence. Collaborating with experts that are respected authorities on the topics of influence produces content, communications and often advocacy that is believable, is empathetic to the concerns and goals of real customers and is trusted by the audience the brand is trying to reach.

2. Influencers partnered with executives build brand thought leadership

Connecting external influencers with internal executives to collaborate on content, video conversations, virtual events and similar exchanges of ideas can validate key leadership messages of the brand. Whether it’s running a webinar discussing the findings of the brand’s most recent research or whitepaper to conducting a series of livestream video or podcast interviews between key executives and external influencers, connecting trusted industry voices with brand messaging can drive credibility, differentiation and leadership.

3. Influencers can co-create better content experiences for customers

According to research in the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 74% of B2B marketers believe that collaborating on content with influencers helps improve the experience for prospects and customers.

An increasing number of professional influencers in the B2B world bring both expertise as well as media creation savvy. That means the ability to produce video content, podcast content or graphical and text content that is in tune with customer expectations for more experiential content that the brand might not have the resources to produce.

Alternatively, even if the B2B brand has the resources to create great video, audio, graphical and text content, adding influencer contributions “optimizes” for credibility and authenticity, which is a better experience than brand content simply pontificating its importance.

4. Influencers accelerate content production, promotion and impact

When effectively designed and planned, an influencer engagement effort can create a community of influence that the brand can tap for a variety of content creation efforts. Imagine having a group of 10, 25 or as in the case of LinkedIn or Adobe, 60-75 industry experts on-tap to engage on content projects?

Developing a community of influencers means creating genuine relationships between the brand and influencers based on mutual benefit and shared values. Not only does an engaged community of influencers help create content, but they are invested in the success of content distribution and impact because it benefits their own interests and that of their audience.

The reputation influencers develop on the topics of influence means trust when it matters most – making decisions about which B2B solutions to consider, evaluate and purchase.

5. Influencer collaborations can help optimize brand content for search

There is a compelling connection between the topics and keywords that people search on when looking for solutions and the topics around which industry experts are influential.

Optimizing content with keywords is at the core of improving the findability of brand content on search engines. Including influencers on those same topics in the content is a way of optimizing for credibility. What good is being found in search if people don’t trust what they find?

Going a bit deeper into the influence and SEO connection, marketers could consider whether the influencers they are working with are recognized as entities within Google search results. When those same influencers contribute to content published by the brand, their identity imparts credibility and relevance for search.

Another consideration is to evaluate the SEO effectiveness of where influencers publish – their own blog, contributed articles or columns with industry publications and elsewhere online. What is the Domain Authority of where the influencer publishes and do the links they include in their content carry weight? Does the influencer’s content “rank” on search engines for the topics the brand wants to be more influential about? Is the influencer creating the kind of content that ranks? Video, audio, images, text, scholarly articles, books, etc.

The SEO value of working with an influencer is not universally true across topics, but with some due diligence and research, some very valuable opportunities could be uncovered and relationships built to help brand content become findable and credible at the very moment customers are looking.

Of course this is not a comprehensive list of benefits for B2B brand to work with influencers, but it is a compelling list. While many B2B marketers may skim the surface of what’s possible from working with influencers, those who can look a little deeper can find tremendous upside and value that not only accelerates the impact and effectiveness of marketing for short term campaigns, but for longer term brand and thought leadership perception in the industry.

The post Top 5 Benefits of Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Break Free B2B Marketing: Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation

Dez Blanchfield

Dez Blanchfield

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s natural to wonder just what an industry influencer actually looks like?

Our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews feature conversations with top B2B influencers, looking closely at the issues that each expert is influential about in their industry.

For more than a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has fostered a strong community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with subject matter experts in many industries.

Running a successful business is the art of juggling a thousand different things in a thousand different ways. It can be challenging to know which of these things to truly focus on and which balls are okay to drop for the sake of company growth. With so many new technologies at the forefront: cloud, machine learning, IoT, big data, virtualization, cybersecurity, and dozens of others – how do you know where to focus? How do you know which business best practices are the right one for your company vs. others?

There’s no catch-all answer to these questions, but there are industry experts who are more capable of answering them than anyone else. One of those experts is Dez Blanchfield. Dez has been in the business of digital transformation for over 25 years and has learned a lot from his robust experience working with IT leaders, solving complex problems, and running his own successful digital social agency, Sociaall Inc.

He’s here today in the latest episode of TopRank’s Break Free B2B marketing video series to share some of his invaluable insight.

Break Free B2B Interview with Dez Blanchfield

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:00 – Introduction to Dez
  • 2:03 – Is it a good idea to be a jack of all trades?
  • 5:31 – Is the pace of change accelerating?
  • 11:25 – Are business changes made due to the Covid-19 pandemic going to stick?
  • 20:00 – For the B2B marketing audience: where are things headed in the near future?
  • 40:20 – B2B influencer marketing
  • 47:11 – It’s not about the number of followers, but the number of people you can move
  • 53:24 – Tracking and monitoring development from B2C to B2B
  • 56:10 – Where can you find Dez to hear more?

Josh: It seems like you’re looking to where the puck is going to be versus where the puck is now and have your entire career. So in a very general sense for our B2B marketing audience: where’s the puck going? If you’re a B2B business person and leader and executive, where should you be looking just for the near future?

Dez: The advice I’ve been giving people in the last three to five years is that it was a time when you could do it all yourself. If you were an airline, or a bank, or if you were in health care, or wealth management, if you’re a telco, there was a time when you could do it all, you could run your own telephone systems, run your own technology, stack your own email servers, your own domain name servers. But the complexity is so great now and the speed at which we have to move, as you alluded to before, is so rapid, and so short, and you know that the demand is for reduced time to market. The advice I’m giving people now is: find the best partner choice. In each of the segments, you need to be able to address problems. So if you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank, you can, and look for things that are gonna disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company. Don’t run your own PBX, don’t run your voice systems. If you own a website, don’t become a hosting company. Don’t waste your time running web services.

[bctt tweet=”“If you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank you can, and look for things that are going to disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company.” — Dez Blanchfield @dez_blanchfield #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

Josh: No, and it seems like the pandemic, which you mentioned there, is almost an accelerant more than anything. We were thinking of it as a slow down and shut down and lockdown. But really, it seems to have just taken all of these very cautious steps that businesses would have would have taken and made them suddenly have to run forward with it. Do you think these are changes that are going to stick? Or are we going to have this inertia pulling us back to normal?

Dez: The way I like to describe it is: if I was in a boardroom the other day having to whiteboard this out, and I would describe it as we’ve already jumped off this cliff. And if you’ve ever jumped off a cliff, you know, it’s impossible to get back up there without actually landing somewhere and then walking a long way back to the track to get to the top. So we have, without wanting to, had to jump off this cliff and deal with it.

I think the majority of the impact is not going to reverse. We are definitely going to want to sit in cafes and go to restaurants again. But the way in which we interact with those will change. So for example, I have an app now for my local barista and I just ordered my cappuccino and wandered past and picked it up at a window. I don’t wait for 15 minutes in a queue in a stuffy room waiting for my coffee to turn up. So you know those use cases have already changed. And retailers have had to go online when they’ve never been online. They’ve had to get apps or integrate and leverage things, shift to digital payments and move away from cash. All these changes have happened. Even with the worst possible human apathy, where humans are lazy, and very arrogant. And you know when we think of them, when we think of some of the changes that have happened the last couple of decades. They’ve come about and people become lazy and there’s been high level apathy and they go back to the normal ways.

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

9 Questions to Ask When Hiring a B2B Influencer Marketing Agency

top questions when hiring a B2B influencer marketing agency

top questions when hiring a B2B influencer marketing agency

Confidence amongst B2B marketers in the role of influence, both externally and internally, has grown substantially in the past year. Following that growth is the number of B2B influencer marketing success stories inspiring marketers to investigate collaborative content strategies that include influencers.

At the same time, the pandemic has had its effect on marketing budgets and one of the trends over the past year that has stuck is the need for greater accountability and demonstration of ROI for marketing investments. While research shows that 96% of B2B marketers that engage influencers consider their program to be successful, 60% of marketers overall do not feel they have the skills or expertise in-house to execute on influencer programs.

The contrast of confidence and opportunity with the lack of in-house capabilities has drawn more marketers than ever to seek outside help for working with influencers. Agencies with deep expertise in B2B influencer marketing strategy, tactics, software and relationships with top influencers enables B2B brands to hit the ground running with confidence and acceleration that simply isn’t possible working alone.

Our research has found that B2B marketers that seek help from agencies often engage those experts to perform several key functions:

  • Identify influencers 79%
  • Manage influencer relationships 76%
  • Develop influencer marketing strategy 71%
  • Measure influencer program effectiveness 66%
  • Integrate with other marketing efforts 63%
  • Implement influencer marketing campaigns 60%
  • Manage influencer marketing technology 44%

While the value agencies can provide B2B brands around working with influencers is clear, there are some things marketers should look for and ask in order to separate those with actual skills and capabilities vs. those agencies opportunistically adding another offering to their services mix. Here is a collection of important questions B2B marketers should ask when evaluating B2B marketing agencies for influencer content marketing programs:

How long have B2B companies engaged your agency to deliver influencer marketing services?

As with all marketing strategies that gain popularity, many agencies with tack them on to their services mix in order to capitalize on the trend without actually having the expertise (yet). Do you want to be a guinea pig for an agency or do you want to be another success story?

Have you provided influencer marketing services in our industry before? Please share an example:

Expertise in your industry matters enough that this question must be asked. While overall influencer marketing is newer to B2B than in consumer industries, there are a growing number of specialists that understand the nuances of the industries they focus on and have existing relationships with influencers in those industries. Influence requires authenticity and to create that kind of trusted credibility with industry influencers, it can be very beneficial if the agency has deep expertise and connections already.

What is the size and nature of your influencer network and how do you ensure we are only working with the most impactful influencers?

Experienced B2B marketing agencies that work with influencers understand the value of relationships. Therefore, they will not simply “use” influencers for campaigns, but work to create, maintain and elevate relationships with those influencers so when a new client project comes along, they are warm to the idea of an invitation to participate. The best influencers are very, very busy and in high demand. An existing relationship with the agency is often the reason a coveted influencer says yes to engage in a B2B brand they have not worked with before.

How do you go about identifying and activating the right influencers for us?

As mentioned above, our research found that the top task B2B brands get help with from agencies is influencer identification. It’s important to understand if the agency takes a transactional approach or a more romantic/persuasive approach. Technology also plays a role and if the agency simply says they would use Twitter and LinkedIn vs. a software platform that uses algorithms and sometimes artificial intelligence to analyze vast amounts of social data to identify individuals most appropriate to your topics of relevance, audience resonance and reach – then there will be disappointment. Influence in B2B is more than social data and requires both technology and industry expertise to identify, qualify and activate.

What is your process for campaigns vs. always-on influencer programs?

Many agencies new to influencer content marketing don’t really understand when campaign is right compared to an always-on program or even what an always-on program entails. It’s important that the agency can describe the use case differences and how an influencer program can evolve over time to deliver substantially greater value.

What compensation or value exchange approach do you recommend when working with influencers?

In B2B, the majority of influencer engagement is organic value exchange where influencers participate in content collaboration in exchange for exposure or participation in a formal brand influencer program. However, there are a growing number of professional B2B influencers and that means more financial compensation. It is important to understand whether the agency defaults to simply paying influencers for every contribution or if they have the ability to recruit influencer organically as well as work with professional influencers for hire.

How do you integrate external influencers with internal executives and SMEs?

Influence is more important than ever for B2B brands to create, maintain and grow connections with their customers. Pairing external influencers with internal executives or subject matter experts creates value for the customer experience multiple levels. Including both internal and external influencers in brand content gives it more credibility as well as building the influence of internal brand staff through association with respected industry experts. Does the agency understand this opportunity and do they have expertise in convincing executives to be more social and influential?

What types of content do you specialize in for influencer collaboration?

A growing number of B2B influencer marketing resources offer both technology and services from an influencer identification and engagement standpoint. It is important to understand what outputs and outcomes are possible as a result of the expertise the agency brings. Content is one of the most valuable products from B2B brand and influencer collaborations and it will be important to understand whether the agency has experience in the formats that influencers favor: live video streaming, recorded video, podcasts, social audio, episodic “show” content, social media content, live events and of course all forms of text content – blog posts, research, reports, etc.

What software or technologies do you use to support influencer identification, management and performance measurement?

There simply is no scaling of impact when it comes to influencer marketing unless technologies are in place to support ongoing influencer identification, management and performance measurement. There are a handful of platforms that promise to do everything but the more likely scenario for a B2B brand is that there will be a combination of platform + specialist tools. It is important to know what the agency has deep experience with and what kinds of specialist tools are used and for what reason.

The evaluation process for engaging a B2B marketing agency to provide influencer content marketing services will vary by the needs of the company, market, resources, timeframe and industry. But these questions should give B2B marketers that are considering engaging outside expertise in any industry the answers to identify the best possible partners. On the surface, partnering with influencers can seem pretty straightforward. But the reality is, the difference between a successful pilot that generates both results and the data to support scaled influencer marketing engagement and a waste of time and resources is whether marketers have invested getting help from those that have proven strategies, processes, relationships and technology savvy.

The post 9 Questions to Ask When Hiring a B2B Influencer Marketing Agency appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.