In this video, I talk about B2B influencers and how significant of a role they play in B2B marketing. I also ask the question of why doesn’t the media write about tech and B2B brands as they do consumer. Please enjoy the video below and subscribe to my Youtube channel to be the notified when new videos are added.
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B2B Influencer Marketing Isn’t Sexy …. Or is it?
I really don’t understand the media’s obsession with influencer marketing.
And maybe obsession is too dramatic of a word. I’ll say fascination.
But I get it.
Beautiful models, abs .. posing on the beach, by a pool with products front and center are headline drivers and drive traffic and sharing.
In fact, some of the recent narratives usually focus on a few areas.
- The future of influencer marketing, post COVID19
- The growth of influencer marketing
- CMOs investments in influencer marketing
- The decline of influencer marketing
- Influencer marketing is dead or doesn’t work
- And then all the “how to’s” – how to measure, how to integrate, how to maximize ROI, how to identify influencers
So one narrative that I see missing is technology and B2B influencers. I guess I am a little biased because most of the work I’ve been doing for the last 9+ years has been focused on B2B but it’s true .. well at least from what I see in the media.
But to prove or disprove my point, I decided to take a look at some data.
So without going super deep I decided to look at all coverage of influencer marketing since 2015 — so that’s about 5.5 years of media data.
A few points you should know.
- This data consists of only coverage where influencer marketing is in the headlines.
- The data set is pre-defined. In other words, I only pulled data from the top 250 media publications, so sites like Adage, Adweek, Digiday, MarketingProfs and CMO.com to name a few are in this data set.
Some of you may ask why I only look at headlines. And, well, there’s a video on that.
Ok, since Jan 2015 there have been over 3K articles written on the topic of influencer marketing, and despite the spikes and valleys of coverage, you can see that it’s trending up until Feb 2020, since COVD 19 really started to dominate the media.
I then decided to do what I call “narrative mapping” which basically segments all the sub narratives covered by the media as it relates to influencer marketing.
An easy way to look at this is that all these keywords were also written in the headlines along with influencer marketing.
You can see here that “how to” coverage and “social networks” coverage is leading in terms of volume.
Social Networks coverage represents headlines that also had a specific social channel like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine and TikTok.
The only channel not in this data set is Linkedin since I called it out separately.
Most of these other narratives are self-explanatory but I did want to call out is that only 2% of the coverage discussed B2B.
I should also call out the the media publications that did cover B2B influencers were Marketingprofs, Social Media Today, BtoCommunity, CMSWire and Marketing Land to name a few.
So the next logical question here is why? Why doesn’t the media write about B2B influencers and marketing like they do for consumer brands?
And this is a question that I can’t really answer with data . I can only make some assumptions.
So my first assumption is that they just don’t care. Maybe they don’t think B2B influencers or marketing is even a thing. Or, that it’s boring. Or, that it’s just media relations and PR.
My second assumption is that they just don’t know that it’s a thing.
So let me address both starting with the second one first.
B2B influencer marketing is a thing and has been for many years. And, I personally do think it’s sexy.
Now, they may not all have abs but well … I’m sure some do .. let’s move on.
I do realize that I live in a bubble. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley, I am surrounded by some of the most innovate technology and software companies on the planet – Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe, SAP, Intel, NVIDIA ….
And I can pretty much guarantee you that they all do some form of influencer marketing.
Not to be confused with influencer relations.
Influencer relations is media relations. It’s when PR pros apply the same approach to influencers as they would a traditional journalist. It’s a pitch.
Influencer marketing in this context is about using data and analytics to identify and research influencers, organic influencer engagement (there a video on that) and then paid activation (a video is coming on that one).
But here’s the thing that I often talk about a lot. Influencer marketing in tech and business isn’t always about a campaign or even activation. You can have a very successful program simply by listening and researching various influencer groups.
Sadly that won’t get you on the front page of the New York Times.
Regarding my first assumption that the media doesn’t care, maybe that’s a little harsh. I think it’s more that they don’t know how big it is.
And anecdotally I can say that there are millions of dollars spent on B2B influencer marketing every year, and that investment is skyrocketing since the COVID 19 pandemic.
Most B2B companies attend industry events and even have their own customer events because that is what fuels their sales pipeline for 6 – 18 months.
Since COVID19 everything has been cancelled – SXSW, Mobile World Congress and hundreds of customer events.
Technology companies were and continue to be scrambling to find new, and innovative ways to activate events and generate leads and guess what …
B2B influencers are center stage.
I really do hope that I see some more coverage in the media about B2B because it really is delivering impact and business value to technology brands.
And that concludes our time together today. I hope you and your families are doing well during these turbulent times.
Please stay safe. Stay healthy. And I’ll see you next time.
For more videos, please do subscribe to my YouTube channel – BritoNation.