“We co-create content with (B2B Influencers) in concert with brand messaging,” says TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden. “So now instead of people just ignoring the press release we actually have storytelling happening with these different voices. You have this intersection of one or two or three or four influencers talking about this topic and those audiences intersect and cross. Your customer is hearing this credible message not only from the brand but also from people that they trust in different channels. That all adds up to yes. That all adds up to nurture and ultimately conversion.”
Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, discusses how B2B influencer marketing can be a highly effective force in driving leads and conversions for companies. Lee was interviewed by Tim Washer at the 2019 Content Marketing World Conference & Expo:
Influencer Marketing Is Powerful Because Of Influence Itself
Influencer marketing is powerful because of influence itself, not about the people. Influence has always been a factor in being persuasive and being effective as a communicator, as a marketer, and really being able to tap into the dynamics of that. The psychology and sociology of that is something that is everlasting, it’s evergreen. While there are trends in terms of tactics that come and go, there’s this consumerization of B2B. B2C influencers are misbehaving and have fake followers, etc. and some of that’s leaking over into B2B. But I think that’ll reconcile a little bit and kind of clean itself out. In the future brands are going to be looking at influence as a really key component of their holistic marketing strategy internally and externally.
A lot of people when they think of influencer marketing they think of a Kardashian or some people think of something like Baddiewinkle, a 90-year-old woman who wears hip-hop clothes and now has her own makeup line on Sephora versus someone like Tamara McCleary interviewing an executive at Dell about the right IT infrastructure for doing edge computing. That’s really what it’s about in B2B.
B2B Influencers Actually Have To Have The Main Expertise
One of the big differences between B2B and B2C influencers is that in B2B you actually have to have the main expertise. You actually have to be knowledgeable and have a depth of that expertise in what it is that you’re influential about. It’s also important to have a network for distribution and a place to publish your content. It’s great to have a personality and that’s less common in B2B, where you have charisma. Well, lack of personality is a form of personality I suppose.
The good thing is that we’ve figured out ways to coach folks that have that domain expertise and an active following but they’re not necessarily used to being social. We are coaching them in how to activate themselves and to pull out the best of what they have to share in a way that’s very promotable. Many of them start to open up a little bit after we show them how to do it.
B2B Influencer Marketing Adds Up To Nurture and Conversion
In the planning stages (with a client looking to promote something) we’ll look at the topics that are important around the announcement and how it affects customers and how customers will think of that news and how it’ll affect or change their lives. Those topics are then what we want to be influential about. We’ll use those keywords or topics to search our network using influencer marketing software to find who is influential around those topics, who’s publishing content, who self-identifies around that topic, and whose audience is actually activated around that topic. We find those people who have trusted voices with an active community and we invite them to collaborate on content and give their opinion about the announcement.
We co-create content with them in concert with brand messaging. So now instead of people just ignoring the press release we actually have storytelling happening with these different voices. You have this intersection of one or two or three or four influencers talking about this topic and those audiences intersect and cross. They intersect across channels too. Your customer is hearing this credible message not only from the brand but also from people that they trust in different channels. That all adds up to yes. That all adds up to nurture and ultimately conversion.