It’s no secret that influencer marketing is a staple of every good digital marketing strategy. No longer an innovative way to get ahead, influencer marketing is a must to keep up with the competition. Despite this, only 49% of B2B businesses are experimenting with influencer marketing. Almost half of B2B businesses don’t know what they’re missing out on. Influencer marketing campaigns generate 11 times more ROI than other marketing endeavours.
There’s a range of reasons why your B2B brand should leverage influencer marketing, but here’s 3 to get you thinking:
- Influencers provide credibility and increase brand awareness. With an already established audience, influencers are able to lend their credibility (which they’ve probably built over several years) to your brand. They provide genuine expertise and insightful opinions that lend so much value to your products or services.
- Storytelling is a vital component of any brand and nobody knows how to tell a story better than influencers. They know their audience better than anyone and know what they’ll respond to. If an influencer creates a story around your brand, then you’re onto a powerful strategy.
- An engaged audience means lots of conversation – and when an influencer is talking about your brand, that means you’re at the heart of that community for a moment. The conversation had around your brand can boost engagement, credibility and awareness all at once.
The B2B space is full of exciting and vibrant collaborations that cut through the noise and make people pay attention. We’re highlighting a few of our favourites that might spark your next big idea.
1. Free products/trials – TNG
The effectiveness of doling out free products comes as no surprise. Who doesn’t want free stuff? We certainly do. It’s especially prevalent in B2C spaces. You’ll get a free sample with an order and then receive an email shortly after with a discount code to buy the full-sized thing. A tried and true technique that rarely fails. Whilst it’s less common in B2B spaces, that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as effective. Free products or free trials allow prospects to try out your services risk-free. When so much work goes into mitigating risk for the client, it’s a simple and effective way to provide reassurance.
Technology consulting firm TNG wanted to give free samples to their distributors. As such, they decided to offer three of their own products at checkout. Every sample came from their own brand of products. This gave TNG the full value out of their promotion. It was a huge success. The promo was so successful, in fact, that the company had to restructure the programme to meet the overwhelming demand. TNG started the promotion by offering free samples every day of the week. Due to the insane success they’ve had, their promotion is now limited to a few days. This move helps TNG keep up with demand and creates a sense of urgency and scarcity. It’s a win-win all around!
2. Collaborating with B2B bloggers – American Express
Also known as ‘blogger outreach’, collaboration with B2B bloggers has been a staple of influencer marketing for a long time. It also had its origins in B2C influencer marketing like our previous example. Back in the ancient days of the net, blogging was mostly a consumer activity for people that wanted to share their thoughts with the world. It wasn’t long before the business people took an interest in blogging and began to utilise it for marketing purposes.
These days, it’s still a great way to share thought leadership and ideas. Even the biggest brands understand the value of blogger outreach. Take American Express for example. Their #LoveMyStore campaign highlighted small businesses and their owners. They asked the owners to speak about the importance of accepting credit cards with a focus on Amex. Many shop owners weren’t displaying the fact they accepted Amex on their storefront when 67% of card members report they would be more likely to make a purchase when they see on the front door or window that American Express is accepted. Thus, the Love My Store campaign was born. The campaign was so successful that it was a finalist in the Shorty Awards’ B2B marketing and social media category.
3. Offline events – Nissan
Most businesses are no stranger to offline marketing. Hosting a panel of thought leaders, followed by drinks and a fancy meal, is so standard that it’s basically to be expected from every industry. However, offline events create a space for really inventive, creative marketing if brands start thinking beyond the board room conferences and into more unconventional ideas. Inviting influencers to listen to speakers in a hotel isn’t going to excite anymore. They need something dynamic and different to get them talking, and that’s exactly what Nissan did.
You probably aren’t too familiar with the term ‘scent marketing.’ We weren’t either until Nissan had the great idea to utilise one of our most powerful senses. Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful and tightly linked with memory. It’s a wonder it hasn’t been used in marketing before. Nissan collaborated with Air Aroma to create their own unique scent to be used in their dealerships, offices and trade shows. For those scent specialists out there, the final scent was a combination of bergamot, cardamom, thyme, green tea and dry woods. Their ultimate goal was to create a scent that holds an immediate connotation to their brand. For customers to recognise the brand before they even saw anything. It’s a one-of-a-kind brand experience that engages all the senses in a really inventive way.
4. Employee centred content – IBM
There’s no better ambassador for your brand than the people that actually work there. They know the perks of your business better than anyone else. When so many B2B brands can feel a little faceless and soulless, giving your employees an active role in your marketing is humanising. In an increasingly accountability driven climate, it’s great to show the positives of a business through the people that make it happen.
IBM is one of the biggest players in the computer hardware industry. With over 200,000 employees, there’s a huge sense of pride and belonging embedded into the company culture. Employees call themselves ‘IBM-ers’ and wear the moniker like a badge of honour. IBM are certainly aware of the influence their employees have, too. They frequently promote employees like thought leaders and centre them in their content marketing. Their employees were also vital to the success of IBM Verse. IBM-ers spread the word about the service and gained over 50,000 subscriptions within the first two weeks after launch. That’s 1 subscription for every 4 employees. When your employees’ influence is that strong, you’ve got an inbuilt influencer marketing strategy all year round.
If you’re looking for help with your influencer marketing strategy, contact us today for a free consultation or head on over to our influencer marketing services page to learn more.