Always-on influencer programs are 12 times more successful than periodic campaigns, according to TopRank Marketing’s “2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.”
The report reveals many B2B marketers have turned to influencer marketing to compensate for declining social reach, reduced brand trust and content attention deficit. Yet while B2B marketers see the value in using influencer marketing as a customer experience enhancer, many are ill-equipped to launch programs on their own.
A majority of respondents believe influencer marketing builds brand value and revenue growth. For many brands, the driving factor behind influencer campaigns is the desire to be viewed as a thought leader, as 83 percent of respondents note.
Over two-thirds, or 69 percent, of B2B marketers partner with influencers to generate leads, while 78 percent believe prospects trust advice from influencers.
B2B marketers who see the best results from influencer programs include those who run always-on campaigns—60 percent of marketers who implement these programs are very successful versus just 5 percent who run intermittent campaigns.
Despite the competitive advantage influencers afford B2B companies, just 19 percent of B2B marketers are running ongoing influencer marketing programs. A much larger number, 60 percent, say they lack the knowledge and in-house skills to execute always-on influencer campaigns, and therefore don’t run them.
Many of these challenges can be solved by documenting an end-to-end process, using technology and outside agencies. For example, half of the most successful influencer marketers use software to identify influencers, given the process of determining which influencers are a match is too manual. Additionally, 50 percent of B2B marketers integrate influencer marketing with SEO.
One of the key differentiators between successful and less successful marketers is having a documented influencer strategy (68 percent vs. 25 percent) that includes creating a hypothesis for the approach, testing it then implementing a standardized process to scale the campaign. Still, only half of respondents say their strategy includes a plan for influencer activation.
B2B marketers anticipate influencer marketing to account for a larger portion of their operations as 60 percent of marketers indicate that multiple stakeholders within their company have expressed interest in influencer marketing. As a result, 80 percent of B2B marketers expect their influencer marketing budget to increase or stay the same in 2021.
TopRank Marketing’s findings are based on an online survey fielded from February 26 to April 26. Marketers comprise 75 percent of respondents, while directors and vice presidents or chief marketing officers comprise 24 percent, respectively.