TopRank Marketing’s 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report is out. The survey is a unique look into the breadth and depth of influence marketing in the business-to-business space.
Over 300 business-to-business marketing and communications professionals surveyed in an online questionnaire netted the results. Almost three-fourths of the participants were U.S.-based. More than one-third were from companies of 1,000 employees or more. Almost half were in the software and SaaS vertical with 16 percent from agencies, 12 percent from professional services and a combined 11 percent from healthcare and IT hardware companies.
The top-level metrics are quite telling and useful. Almost all (96%) are confident about influencer marketing. In fact, 63 percent agree marketing results in the past would have been better if they included B2B influencer marketing.
That confidence comes from a confirmed fact. Prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts when purchasing B2B products. Check out any B2B consumer buying survey if you don’t believe it.
Some other nuggets I picked out:
- Most (84%) believe influencers are beneficial for brand awareness.
- 69% believe influencers are effective for attracting prospective customers
- But only 20% say they see sales and revenue benefits from them. (Seems puzzling.)
- When choosing an influencer, the top factors brands consider include the relevance of their audience, their subject matter expertise, and where they publish
- Only 35 percent of influencers participate in endorsing products
- Most influencer activities involved collaborating or promoting content or participating in events.
One stat I found odd was 83% of B2B marketers surveyed say they engage in influencer marketing to be seen as thought leaders. I take that to mean they’re doing it to look cool rather than drive business. I’m sure there are other reasons they do it, but that one sounds dumb to me. If you aren’t doing it to drive business results, then don’t do it.
Get the 2020 B2B Influencer Marketing Report
The 2020 B2B Influencer Marketing Report is a free download from TopRank Marketing. You can find it on their website. You will have to give them your name and email address, but it’s worth it. (As is subscribing to their regular content.)
The report includes a note from Brian Solis and insights on maintaining an always on state of influence marketing. There are plenty of other nuggets in there that provide more insight into B2B influence marketing.
What? B2B Influence Marketing? Really?
I’ve often laughed when people ask me if influence marketing even happens in the B2B space. Look at the lion’s share of webinars and software user conferences marketers attend. They normally include a brand presenting the expertise of an influencer as the content.
But B2B influence marketing within the marketing vertical is just the tip of a very big iceberg. Trade shows, white papers, newsletters and direct mail pieces across dozens of industries have featured B2B influencers for years.
We have to reframe how to think of influence and influencers to be smart about this field. Stop focusing on the actors and focus on the action. It’s not influencer marketing it’s influence marketing. That’s what we’re driving for.
(And that’s the underlying theme of my soon-to-be-published book on influencer marketing. Stay tuned.)
That reframes how you think of the category altogether. We leverage third party endorsement and expertise online, but we’ve also leveraged it offline. And for decades.