My team and I at TopRank Marketing are happy to announce the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report! Influencer Marketing has fast accelerated as a topic over the past few years with B2C influencers and brands getting the majority of attention. While consumer focused influencers have been impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B is a different story. Whether in times of crisis or in competitive markets, B2B marketers are challenged to reach distracted buyers and create meaningful experiences that inspire trust, confidence and action. As B2B marketers search for solid insight and leadership around marketing strategies to survive and thrive during this time of uncertainty, Influencer Marketing offers businesses a welcome dose of optimism. With much of the research and media attention focused on B2C influencer marketing, we believe the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report to be the first ever research report dedicated to B2B. B2B Marketers are hungry for effective marketing strategies but don't always have the resources or confidence to implement. To help close the gap of knowledge and skills around working with influencers to impact marketing and business goals, this new report focuses exclusively on how businesses are engaging influencers for marketing to other businesses. For this research, hundreds of B2B marketers shared their insights including many of the top B2B brands in the world on all things B2B influencer marketing including strategy, tactics, operations, software, integration, measurement, budgeting and the future. We’ve combined the findings from our research with insights from top B2B marketers from brands, case studies and some of the most respected B2B influencers in the industry to give you direction, confidence and inspiration for the best that influencer marketing has to offer. Some of the key findings from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report:
The Influence Advantage: From thought leadership to customer acquisition, B2B brands are optimistic about the competitive advantages of influencer marketing. Find out why. The Engine of Influence is Always-On: B2B brands are evolving from short term influencer campaigns to relationship driven, Always-On programs that build trust, engagement and advocacy.. Influencer Marketing Integration: To create a better customer experience, B2B brands are integrating influencer content across marketing channels from content marketing to PR. Influencer Marketing Operations: To scale influencer marketing while maintaining quality, processes and software are essential for influencer identification, communications and performance reporting. . 10 Predictions on the Future of B2B Influence: What will B2B influencer marketing look like in 2021 and beyond? Get answers from 10 top influencer marketing professionals.And here are a few insights from some of the respected B2B Marketers and Business Influencers who contributed: "Engaging with influencers provides a myriad of competitive advantages. There's nothing more comforting than to have trusted voices defend your brand or correct misperceptions.” Rani Mani @ranimani0707 Head of Social Influencer Enablement at @Adobe “The operations behind Influencer Marketing is the less glamorous yet essential side of relational business. You need to come up with a strategy, plan of action, and a process.” Ursula Ringham @ursularingham Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP "Being 'always-on' has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers. B2B brands would be wise to adopt this approach as they look to build true brand advocates.” Garnor Morantes /in/garnormorantes Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn “Customers know authenticity when they see it & naturally trust humans more than brands. Working with credible B2B influencers helps to build brand authority through real, human conversations & interactions.” Sarita Rao @saritasayso SVP - Business Marketing, Analytics & Alliances at AT&T Business “Ongoing influencer programs are more valuable to B2B companies and allow for deeper engagement with influencers. These connected activities provide a cohesive experience for your audience.” Tom Treanor @RtMixMktg VP, Global Head of Marketing at arm Treasure Data “Working with the right influencers builds credibility with the audience you are trying to reach. Influencers can help you deliver content that solves problems, educates & inspires your intended audience.” Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi VP, Influencer Marketing & Communications at SAP Ariba “Having an end-to-end process is key to be effective & scale. From clear objectives to identification, engagement tactics, management, budgeting, reporting & not to forget feedback to close the loop.” Janine Wegner @JanineWegner Global Thought Leadership Program & Activation Manager at Dell Technologies “A shift I see for B2B influencer marketing in 2021 is using employees as influencers. This will allow marketers to have more control of the campaign & build advocacy among internal thought leaders.” Ryan Barres @RyanBares Global Social Programs Lead: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy at IBM Systems "As influencer marketing matures, brands will expect their influencer marketing software to integrate with the rest of the march stack." Pierre-Loic Assayag @pierreloic Founder and CEO at Traackr “Partnering with well-matched influencers is a handy way to infuse your brand with creative energy and inspiration. It’s a direct line to building trust and customer confidence.” Ann Handley @MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs “We will see the rise of the customers as influencers given their ability to share stories that help target buyers navigate the increasingly complex B2B buying journey. ” Jeff Davis @meetjeffdavis Founder & Principal at JD2 Consulting “In 2021, brands will need to identify, test and deploy a new type of tech stack to make the creation and consumption of virtual content as seamless as possible for influencers and audiences alike.” Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary CEO at Thulium “In 2021, success in B2B influencer marketing is dependent on the compelling delivery of relevant information via video & audio. Influencers can no longer rely on face-to-face personal charisma.” Kevin Jackson @Kevin_Jackson CEO at GC Globalnet "Traditional marketing channels are drying up and even trade shows are imperiled in 2021. The influence marketing trend will be amplified as businesses seek trusted voices to join industry conversations.” Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer Author, Return on Influence COO at B Squared Media And many more... Influence plays an essential role in marketing whether B2B brands run influencer programs or not. The question is, will influence be random or will it be nurtured, amplified and targeted to produce brand awareness and lead generation outcomes B2B marketers are after? The research supports optimism for B2B Influencer Marketing for a few key reasons:
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