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five reasons why

5 reasons why B2B Influence matters

New research from Ogilvy shows that B2B Influence is one of the fastest growing marketing priorities. We take a look at the reasons why

By creative salon

According to a new report from Ogilvy, B2B Influence has reached a global tipping point to become one of the fastest growing marketing priorities. The 'first-of-its kind' study research shows that 75 per cent of B2B marketers are now utilising B2B Influencer marketing, and 93 per cent of those are planning to increase B2B Influencer activity.

The survey is based on interviews of 550 chief marketing officers across 11 markets, from brands including LinkedIn, Dell, EY, IBM, and Samsung. It coincides with Ogilvy being the first agency globally to launch a B2B Influence specialism, tapping into the rapidly growing channel for brands.

B2B Influencer marketing partners brands with influential individuals, key industry figures, or subject matter experts, with the focus on creating credible content that improves customers’ brand perception and purchase decisions.

Whereas B2C more often demands trendsetters and tastemakers, B2B requires credible expertise rooted in proven experience that contributes to professional opinion. This could come in the form of thought leaders, subject matter experts, academics, business owners, content creators, analysts and journalists, and even a company’s own employees.

Often having their own in-built audiences and followers, their influence is visible through a plethora of channels, from widespread social media content, to detailed thought leadership events and media, even one-to-one meetings or industry discussion boards. This influence then seeds into the industry conversation to create real impact on reputation.

However, according to Ogilvy, B2B Influence's potential in lead generation and after-sales is still drastically unrealised.

5 reasons why B2B Influence matters

  • It is proven to be high usage, high value

    Ogilvy's survey, which polled marketing leaders from across UK, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and the USA, has proven that c-suite leaders are already recognising the potential of B2B Influence activity in building a credible brand and supporting lead generation. Half of those surveyed (49 per cent) believe Influencers can help their brands be more credible and trusted, while 40 per cent have experienced improved leads or sales because of Influencer marketing strategies.

  • B2B Influence has even more potential to be realised

    Despite its high usage, the full potential of B2B Influencers are yet to be realised. Findings from the research suggest that no teams are utilising after-sales Influence to its full potential, despite 47 per cent agreeing there is an opportunity for B2B Influencers to have the biggest impact during aftersales when executed correctly. With 60 per cent not yet experiencing improved lead generation from B2B marketing activity, there is also a large opportunity to immediately realise more value from B2B Influencer marketing. In addition, there is a symbiotic relationship between employees and Influencers that few CMOs have spotted, with limited numbers identifying that employees can be Influencers themselves – representing a missed opportunity for ROI.

  • Peer-to-peer marketing is powerful

    Peer-to-peer promotion has been widely recognised as the most trusted and effective marketing channel. Its value when reassuring prospective buyers is undisputed, and the revolution of digital has democratised access to those trusted inner circles. In an age where 75 per cent of the workforce will be digital natives by 2025 (according to Harvard Business Review) businesses must adapt to the new reality of the digital relationships and professional communication landscape becoming increasingly integrated with our physical one.

  • B2B Influencers can grow holistically

    Influencers are not simply content vehicles existing only to promote products to new audiences. Ogilvy's research shows how wider business growth comes from using Influencers throughout an entire business operation, from including them in client meetings and having them talk to employees, to bringing them into R&D sessions and feedback to improve products and services. CMO’s need to appreciate Influencers do not just drive views, likes and comments. Create real business growth throughout the business that benefits customers long term by providing a better service, and that will come back in new sales and client retention. One of the biggest points of the research was that 44 per cent of CMO’s acknowledged the biggest opportunity that they weren’t yet using was integrating B2B Influencers in the post-sale experience.

  • Employees can be Influencers

    CEO’s and CMO’s agree on what makes a successful business. It isn’t based on accurate balance sheets, the latest CRM system, or even their founder charisma. 90% of C-Suite recognise their employees as the most valuable asset in their business. The collective network of a business' employees is on average ten times larger than the company itself. Activating an employee advocacy network will help brands access their most valuable untapped resource. 89% of C-Suite Marketers recognise that using employees as Influencers holds immense value for their business.

“This is the first research in the space that clearly shows the untapped potential to be gained with B2B Influencers," Rahul Titus, global head of influence at Ogilvy, said about the findings.

"Some incredible CMOs, as part of this study, are showing examples of Influencer impact up and down the customer journey, proving that Influencer marketing is the most versatile weapon in the armoury for B2B CMOs.

"Carefully selected Influencer partnerships now play an integral role in how businesses consume, verify and act on information. But not enough brands develop the deep, meaningful, and complex relationships with Influencers their audience demands. Businesses need to understand the value that lies in those authentic partnerships. For those who get that right can own the pockets of industry conversation where reputations are truly formed."

Beth Saint, CMO at Schroders, reflected on the implications of the report: “The untapped potential is to unlock every individual within their circles to influence and advocate on behalf of the brand. It’s not really a question of how or should - but when. Those who move first and move faster will have the competitive advantage of space, but brands that are yet to develop their own Influencer strategy, are already playing catch up with their competitors.”


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