People trust people, not brands. This is why marketers need to pay attention to the power influencers hold over their clients and prospects, especially for B2B brands.
Influencer marketing is an approach that engages key individuals or “influencers” who has the leverage to influence their followers, a specific target audience, to boost awareness and interest of a particular brand. It counters ad-fatigue, and engages people at an intellectual and personal level. It’s really the best example of native advertising.
In the B2B scenario, its influencers are analysts, business media, trade media and associations, major or branded clients, business associations, industry experts, trusted peers, and influencers from other industries.
At our recent #ContentLab & Lunch event in Singapore, we invited three speakers to share insights on B2B Influencer Marketing with marketers who came to lunch with us. They were:
- Parvez Ahmad, Head of Marketing, Asia Pacific and Japan of Oracle Financial Services Global Business Unit
- Michael Araneta, Research Director of IDC Financial Insights Asia-Pacific and Country Manager of IDC (Thailand)
- Kevin Lim, Senior Editor of Business News
This is what we learned from them:
On what will interest influencers
A discussion around trends will engage media and analysts better than specific product or company announcements.
Kevin Lim on what he looks for in a story:
“I would never be interested to interview the head of a startup, unless the startup has been bought for a billion dollars. Otherwise it’ll be part of a broad trend. The story will never be about individual companies but it’ll be about the industry as a whole.”
On engaging an analyst
Analyst engagement needs to be on a regular basis and not just on a per-need basis. Paying for analyst coverage does not work as credible research firms tend to work on a flat fee approach.
Michael Araneta on how not to approach an analyst:
“There are some organisations that look at us (analysts) as “door openers” to a deal. That seems to be almost an insult to the analyst because first, we don’t like to be treated like that, and second, that’s unethical.”
On identifying your B2B influencers
Influencers can impact your brand significantly. Brands need to look to their clients and prospects to identify the influencers they turn to for recommendations and insights.
Parvez Ahmad on who B2B brands should engage with:
“Social media influencers and end-user influencers are an emerging group of influencers to engage with. The best way to find these influencers is to find out who your clients and prospects are paying attention to.”
On why a structured approach is important
A more structured approach to influencer marketing programmes in Asia is needed with specific outreach for different types of influencers. The structured approach includes measuring outcomes and return on investment (ROI).
We host regular lunches for marketers across Asia. It’s our way of meeting with fellow marketers, exchanging ideas, and generally enjoying good company and good food together. Drop us an email at email@example.com for if you’d like us to host a lunch in your city.Tags: B2B Marketing, Brand Activation, Branding