Influencer marketing is making waves among B2B tech companies because it provides valuable third-party credibility and brand awareness to engaged, well-connected audiences. Influencers can amplify a brand’s social reach, often beyond traditional media outreach, and boost its SEO ranking.
The results speak for themselves – 70 percent of B2B companies report that referrals convert better and close faster than any other type of lead.
Although many brands would like to launch an influencer marketing campaign, the challenge is deciding on the who – then effectively managing that relationship to success. There are lot of nitty-gritty details to understand before jumping into an influencer marketing campaign. Here are some important factors to keep in mind.
One-Size-Fits All Won’t Do
- Picking influencers must be done strategically because having the wrong influencer promoting your brand may do more harm than good. Some important factors to consider include:
- Brand relevance – A big-name influencer may be alluring, but if they don’t connect to your target audience, it’s not worth much.
Audience reach – The size of an influencer’s audience matters and should be taken into account to avoid wasting time and energy on a market that’s too small.
- Audience engagement – It’s about more than numbers alone, if an influencer has 300,000 followers but averages just 20 likes per post, it may mean they have a more passive following.
- Tone – Though every influencer has a unique voice, it’s crucial that their tone is aligned with your brand to ensure consistency across the campaign content.
Tracking To Success
If you can’t measure the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaign, it’s impossible to determine if it’s helping to improve your business and if the investment is truly paying off. There are a number of criteria that can help measure success.
For campaign-specific influencer engagement programs, monitor the following:
- How many pieces of content were created,
- Sales attributable to influencer relative to influencer channel spend, and
- The influencer’s engagement or shares of campaign-related assets such as content, URLs and codes.
For an ongoing influencer engagement program, think bigger:
- Tracking web traffic,
- Conversions, and
- The number of brand mentions over time.
Keeping an eye on this information can provide a clearer picture of year-over-year value. It’s also important to note the sentiment of influencer mentions. What are people saying about the influencer’s content? Is it positive, negative, or neutral? Having more than 400 comments on a post may seem promising, but if the conversation is negative, your influencer may actually be damaging your business.
Small Product, Enormous Influencer Success
In 2015, we worked with electronics distributor Newark element14 to announce the launch of Raspberry Pi 2, a pocket-sized computer that offers six times the speed and twice the memory of its original version. We utilized a three-phased influencer marketing campaign to drive sales and grow product awareness among purchases and enthusiasts. In addition to traditional media outreach, we engaged with influential vloggers on YouTube and coordinated giveaways on social channels, generating buzz in places that buyers frequented.
The results were palpable – approximately 40,000 combined shares on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as 84 media placements in a month. Outreach to key influencers resulted in the influx of these social shares and influencers’ videos received more than 60,000 total views. All in all, the company saw a 67 percent growth in sales following the product launch campaign.
Whether you’re looking to harness the power of influencers for a product launch or a long-term campaign, the most important part of the process is cultivating a trusted relationship and measuring the campaign to success. To learn more about the B2B approach to influencer marketing, download our white paper “Under the Influence: A B2B Brand Guide to Influencer Marketing.”
Just about every business decision – no matter the magnitude or industry – hinges on a single key ingredient: trust.
The recommendations of individuals with significant industry and social followings carry heavy weight with customers, sparking a growing desire to capitalize on the credibility of an influencer’s backing. To help cultivate trust among potential customers, a growing number of B2B brands are wisely turning toward influencer marketing.
While sales professionals and marketing collateral can certainly help raise awareness of specific products or services, buyers inherently trust people over press releases. In fact, 84 percent of B2B buyers start the purchasing process with a referral.
In our new whitepaper, “Under the Influence: A B2B Brand Guide to Influencer Marketing,” we’ve outlined the steps you can take to bring influencer marketing to your business. From executing influencer marketing initiatives to measuring success, discover how our approach to B2B influencer marketing can jumpstart buyer interest in new products and initiatives.
Finding a fit
When done right, influencer marketing can be a win-win for both brands and the influencers they work with. Businesses have their messages amplified while influencers get their hands on data-based insights that can help grow their social following.
But as in any other relationship, fit is crucial.
Before reaching out to a potential influencer, take a few minutes to ask yourself, “Is this influencer’s content and audience relevant to my business?” Although it’s always tempting to pursue a well-known thought leader, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to make a big difference in your brand’s bottom line. Keep an eye out for influencers who regularly engage a large portion of your target audience using a tone that aligns with your brand.
Pulling the trigger
Once you’ve identified which influencers you’d like to work with, the next step is to set aside the time and budget needed to bring a campaign to life. Thinking about getting an influencer to promote your next product launch? We recommend spending at least two months researching and reaching out to relevant analysts. The more ambitious the influencer marketing initiative, the more time you’ll need.
When it comes to budget, many of the same rules apply. If, for example, you want an influencer’s help producing a video, be prepared to pay more than you would for a simple mention in their blog post. While nurturing an organic influencer relationship may help you save on costs, it will also take more time. By developing a sound strategy for your campaign and clearly identifying the desired outcomes of the relationship, you can determine how much time and budget are needed to execute a successful campaign.
Measuring the success of your influencer marketing campaign will not only provide insight into an initiative’s ROI, but also highlight areas for improvement moving forward.
Since measurements can vary based on the type of influencer marketing investment, we’ve created a different set of criteria for both ongoing and campaign-based programs. From the frequency of influencer interactions to share of voice among target influencers, each data point can help determine whether the campaign helped move you one step closer toward your goals.
Eager to learn more about influencer marketing? Download our whitepaper, “Under the Influence: A B2B Brand Guide to Influencer Marketing,” and stay tuned for more content surrounding the B2B approach to influencer marketing.
It’s been a rough couple of years for traditional retail. Companies like Amazon have upended the retail structure, and as consumers continue to turn to e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retailers must adapt to survive.
To do so, many companies are turning to hot-button tactics like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), simple or even nonexistent payment tactics (hello ApplePay and Amazon Go), and more. However, these strategies are more aspirational than practical, as they require heavy infusions of capital, huge upgrades to existing infrastructure and widespread consumer adoption to be successful.
While retailers work to make these long-term dreams a reality, there are several trends brick-and-mortar retailers can pursue to stay relevant and competitive in the more immediate future:
1. A Focus on Stores as Showrooms
As the purchase process continues to migrate online, we’re seeing brick-and-mortar stores used as a way for consumers to feel and see products before they pull out their phones and make a purchase. This approach works best for categories like furniture, where people are traditionally hesitant to purchase without physically interacting with products.
Examples of this strategy include Apple stores, which focus more on showcasing products and what they can do, or Bonobos’ guideshops, which exist purely as a way for consumers to interact with the web retailers’ goods (you can’t even walk away with any merchandise, but you can order clothing).
Venture capital firms have invested more than $1.4 billion in blockchain since 2013, and more than 2,500 patents involving the technology have been filed in the same time frame. The implications for the financial world here are more obvious, but what does this trend mean for marketing? More than the average marketer may think, as it turns out.
Blockchain is the distributed ledger technology (DLT) behind bitcoin, the digital currency that’s used with encryption methods so that transactions are made without a middleman (banks). These days, businesses offering everyday consumer goods and services are increasingly accepting bitcoins. While Bitcoin was the first currency to be applied to this DLT strategy, it’s not the only currency that can be.
With Blockchain as the backbone of bitcoin, transactions are extremely fast and secure, all while being transparent. One blockchain analyst has compared it to a Google Doc, with our mainstream system of transactions being a Microsoft Word document. The ledger is shared for all to see and updates automatically every ten minutes, all while being incorruptible.
Considering these strengths, it’s only a matter of time before blockchain technology changes the marketing landscape as we know it. Here are three realms that may see changes due to blockchain technology in the not-so-distant future.
The idea of blockchain is already being applied to the world of ad buying, and isn’t so far away from being implemented on a larger scale. Nasdaq announced that in late 2017 it will launch an electronic marketplace using blockchain technology for the New York Interactive Ad Exchange.
The ledger will allow publishers, advertisers and media buyers to buy and sell ad space via an electronic marketplace. According to the NYIAE CEO Lou Severine, if this takes hold the way it’s intended, companies could implement the model across different forms of media including TV, radio and out-of-home markets.
The marketing world is abuzz with AI chatter. While people love to talk up AI’s potential for automating marketing, the reality doesn’t yet live up to the hype. A study from Oxford University, Deloitte and the BBC revealed that the risk of associate-level marketers losing their jobs to automation is fairly low, at only 33 percent. At the same time, new AI marketing innovations and applications appear daily, and keeping up with this evolution is essential.
What’s a busy marketer to do? According to the Walker Sands State of Martech 2017 study, marketers are feeling the heat already. When asked about tech strategies in general (AI and beyond), almost three-quarters (72 percent) of marketers say the martech landscape is evolving at light speed or rapidly. Times may be hectic, but AI is a tactic deserving special attention. Let’s go beyond the buzz:
AI’s current role in marketing
It’s easy to get carried away in the science fiction-like element of AI. Many companies gaining attention are carrying out genuinely interesting tasks, but below the surface aren’t so advanced in terms of application of the technology.
For example, IBM Watson collaborated with Marchesa to create a “cognitive dress” worn by model Karolina Kurkova at the 2016 Met Gala. IBM Watson analyzed Marchesa’s social media sentiment and changed the dress to correspond to different emotions. The dress was gorgeous, but all-in-all, natural language processing (NLP) is a fairly straightforward technology.
The changes currently brought to martech are far less glamorous, but useful nonetheless. Open-ended technologies like IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein allow for the development of new AI applications for marketing all the time. Here are a couple marketers have embraced so far.