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November 4, 2020 - By Hawke Media

Is Influencer Marketing Right for B2B Companies?

Many brands believe that influencer marketing is simple for business to consumer (B2C) companies. However, research has shown that executives look towards influencers with subject matter authority throughout the buyer decision process. Here’s some insight into how influencer marketing can help your company through the process:

Awareness – Influencers are able to introduce a new innovation to others within their industry. No matter how much effort B2C companies try to claim the value of their product(s)/service(s), they won’t reach their potential consumers through all the “white noise” (competitors’ value claims). Buyers are always seeking expert information. By aligning your company with a trusted source such as an influencer thought leader, your company will also gain credibility in that industry and also gain entry into the influencer’s network.

Interest – Once influencers bring to light the values of a particular B2C’s product/service, the company will be much more effective to pierce through the “white noise.” Let’s say you recently moved from a house with a wood floor to a rug floor, and you are now in need of a vacuum (you’ve already passed the Awareness stage). Just think about how many different vacuums there are; they can hardly differentiate themselves. When a friend claims how great their XYZ vacuum is (let’s assume that they clean rugs for a living), you’ll be interested to find more information on that vacuum (Evaluation).

Evaluation – So now you’re searching online and comparing XYZ’s vacuum to ABC’s vacuum. You’ll be much more inclined to purchase the vacuum from XYZ because your trusted friend, who is an expert at cleaning rugs, recommended it.

Trial – You decide to go to Rob’s Vacuum Store on the weekend to see for yourself how great XYZ’s vacuum is. The experience is great! You understand exactly what your friend was raving about.

Adoption – You decide that you’ll purchase the vacuum since you can always return it within 30 days if you’re unsatisfied with it.

Loyalty – After using XYZ’s vacuum multiple times and experiencing for yourself first-hand exactly how great the vacuum is, you start telling everyone in your network about XYZ vacuum. At this point, you have become an influencer. The cycle is never-ending. By utilizing Influencer Marketing, you’re taking advantage of this network effect, which has unlimited potential to grow your business.

Although using a vacuum as an example is a bit strange, it’s clear how this scenario can apply to any business. If your competitors are not utilizing influencer marketing in their business model, your company would be pioneers and leaders in this venture. If your competitors are already doing so, there is always an opportunity to one-up what’s already been done by analyzing their past efforts.

Influencer marketing will:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Change how the brand is perceived (reputation management)
  • Connect with a new audience of buyers
  • Support thought leadership and public relations goals
  • Support content, social media, and search marketing programs
  • Drive social engagement and social penetration through the influencers’ content
  • Content can be repurposed in blogs, white papers, social messages, etc
  • Content can be co-created with the influencer and the company
  • Create lasting relationships with industry experts
  • Increase the quality of leads
  • Shorten sales cycle (as shown through the vacuum example)
  • Increase the number of referred leads
  • Increase organic media mentions

As buyers become increasingly wary of advertising tactics, it only makes sense to join hands with influential leaders in your industry to provide education, engagement, and affect purchasing decisions.