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Scaled Influence

Michael Brito and Kriselle Laran tackle B2B influencer marketing and scaling influencer programs to reach the right audiences through the right voices on the right channels.

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Scaled Influence

  1. 1. SCALED INFLUENCEWinning the War of Brand Relevance with B2B Influencer Marketing Michael Brito Kriselle Laran
  2. 2. CONTENTS Introduction to B2B Influence Why Influencer Marketing? Defining a Market The 1:9:90 Model of Influence How Influence is Measured Activating Influencers Across All Media Profiling B2B Influencers Using Customized Creative Informing Executive Communication & Activation Informing Media Relations Real-Time Content Activation
  3. 3. Influencer marketing is one of the most promising and underappreciated disciplines in digital marketing. “ ”Brian Solis Principal Analyst Altimeter
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION TO B2B INFLUENCE There is something about a product with mass consumer appeal that makes influencer marketing extremely effective. Once you figure out what it is that makes your consumers want to buy your food or drink or shoe or car, there are potentially hundreds— thousands—of influential consumers that can create interest and demand in your company, and potentially endorse your product. And, you can almost instantly start tracking your progress. But for the business whose product or service is targeted solely at other businesses, this isn’t the case. Someone with 50,000 followers on Instagram isn’t going to be able to take a picture of using your SaaS platform or data center and driving sales anytime soon, unfortunately. Executives and business decision makers don’t typically click on a link from a Tweet, go to a website, add “enterprise software” to the shopping cart and check out. They’ll read about the service, do research, ask questions, ask more questions and spend countless hours reviewing the options before deciding. Consider the minimum average sales cycle of 3 – 6 months for technology software. That’s down from 12 to 18 months from a few years ago. Even though social and digital has significantly decreased the B2B buyer journey, it’s still quite longer than that of a consumer. B2B decision makers get as far as two- thirds through the journey before they reach out to a vendor, and that’s if the vendor meets the minimum technical requirements. Reaching B2B decision makers is difficult; they are sophisticated, well- educated and extremely skeptical about marketing. The way to overcome this skepticism and capture attention? Influencing their decisions through trusted third-parties. of marketers are experimenting with influencer marketing programs. and an even higher percentage claims that their influencer marketing programs are strategic. Source: Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing 43%
  5. 5. WHY INFLUENCER MARKETING? Trust. Credibility. Third-Party Validation. All three are important in the B2B buyer’s journey. Decision makers trust people like themselves and seek third-party validation. Google is a starting point, but they get their data from forums, white papers, eBooks, blog posts, analyst reports, technology review sites, but most importantly, their peers. Influencers in the B2B space aren’t celebrities. They are consultants. Technologists. Engineers. Entrepreneurs. They are business decision makers. When they talk, others listen. When they create content, it gets shared. When they express their point of view about a topic, it’s documented and respected. And guess what? Because influencers are in fact, influential, their content will appear on the first page of Google. Guaranteed.
  6. 6. DEFINING A MARKET AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO INFLUENCE A business school’s definition of a market would be something like: "the total of all the buyers and sellers in a specific region where you want to sell your products or services." A region can be the entire world, countries, states, cities or zip codes. A market can be just about anything you want it to be. For example, if you sell enterprise security software, your market is IT decision makers (ITDMs). This group is very important to your business. They are the ones making decisions on whether to purchase your software or go with one of your competitors. Your market might also include media and technology journalists because they influence the ITDM purchase process based on what they say, write and share. Overall, this is a pretty targeted market. Pepsi's market would be exponentially larger. Depending on where you live, you’ll notice that its advertising targets different groups of consumers -- millennials active on social media and young families, especially if you live in a coastal city. Its market also includes health- conscious consumers, if you consider its healthier brands like Aquafina and Kobe'. On the other hand, if you sell yoga pants and have two retail locations—one in Santa Clara and the other in Palo Alto (both in Silicon Valley)—your market is much smaller. It may consist of affluent consumers in very specific zip codes who are yoga enthusiasts, drive a Tesla, frequent Philz Coffee or just love to wear comfy yoga pants around town and in the workplace. While markets can be simple, they can also be extremely complex. Imagine how segmented a market can be from a political perspective if you consider candidates running for office at the city, county, state and country level. There are several markets and micro-markets that overlap and would need to be considered. The significance of understanding how markets are segmented is critical to realizing how influence spreads. The most impactful way to do this is by dissecting the 1:9:90 model of influence.
  7. 7. THE 1:9:90 MODEL OF INFLUENCE True influence drives action. In order for someone to have influence, they have to be in a position to affect the opinions or behaviors of another person. By definition, a B2B influencer will affect a number of business decision makers in their understanding of, interaction with and perception of idea about products, brands and technology. In 2006, the concept of the influence of one person to many was captured by Charles Arthur, who suggested 91 90 CONTENT CREATION SHARE AND ENGAGE VIEW AND CONSUME that “if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will ‘interact’ with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.” Since then, there have been numerous iterations of market dynamics, influence and how content is created, shared and packaged across the internet. More than a decade after this early definition of online influence, the social landscape has evolved the concept and requires new definitions.
  8. 8. 9 90 1st Degree Network 2nd Degree Network 3rd Degree Network 1 provided by TARGETING THE 1% CAN REACH THE ENTIRE MARKET
  9. 9. 1 THE ONE PERCENT These are the top influencers, opinion leaders and content creators. In the consumer world, they’d be known as ‘trendsetters.’ They reach the majority of the market when they speak, write, Tweet or publish just about anything. They have the ability to create new markets, buzzwords (e.g. “Future of Work”, “Digital Transformation) and new product categories. This group used to consist only of traditional media and analysts. Today, influencers can be just about anyone—media, authors, consultants, 2nd/3rd tier analysts and anyone else with a specific point of view and a large audience.
  10. 10. These are the enthusiasts; and they are very active in social media and on forums like Reddit. They recommend products, restaurants, coffee shops, clothing—you name it. They have a point of view about everything and they aren’t afraid to share it publicly. They often share their brand experiences with their networks, whether good or bad. They sign up for newsletters, leave product reviews, participate in forums, download content, comment on it and share it—any action that lets their community of peers know what they think. This 9 percent are the people who make or break the conversation. 9 THE NINE PERCENT
  11. 11. The 90 percent is everyone else - the majority of the market. It’s pretty easy to reach this group with a $5 million dollar Super Bowl ad if you have the budget. They are lurkers and consumers of content. They read, learn and absorb everything but very rarely share. They use Google to discover new products, reading reviews and consuming the content of their peers without contributing much to the conversation themselves. But don’t neglect them, as strength lies in numbers. It’s this portion of the market that decides how compelling the 1 percent and the 9 percent really are in telling your brand’s story—and it’s all based on their purchase behavior. THE NINETY PERCENT 90
  12. 12. The formula is simple. Reach and activate the 1%. Get them talking about the brand and you ultimately reach the entire market.
  13. 13. HOW INFLUENCE IS MEASURED Influencer marketing in the consumer space is straightforward. Networks like Clever and OpenInfluence have established relationships with YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat influencers. Marketplaces like Izea and Linquia make activating large-scale programs quick and easy. With enough budget, your influencer programs can be turned on or off by clicking a few buttons. B2B influencer marketing is more complicated. These kind of influencers can’t be found in an online marketplace, and they are fewer in quantity and in most cases, they can’t be bought. To reach consumers, sometimes a big audience and an eye for photography is enough. With the B2B influencers you have to look beyond the follower count. Finding the right people requires research and consideration of their reach, relevance and resonance. How large is their community across all channels—blogs, contributed articles, social? How often are they talking about the topics that are relevant to your business? When they create content, how does it resonate with their broader audience and does it result in engagement? REACH RELEVANCE RESONANCE INFLUENCE Are they referenced by other influencers? REFERENCE
  14. 14. ACTIVATING INFLUENCERS ACROSS ALL MEDIA Consumer influencer campaigns can take on a singular focus, with the majority of content shared through social platforms. In the case of B2B programs, influencers are fewer and further between and often command greater attention from the industries they affect. As a result, activations can run deeper and have potential to garner success across the media landscape. Ways to activate influencers varies by company, product, budget and business objectives. An integrated approach that works across paid, earned, shared and owned media strategies can tie communications programs together to support and tell the larger brand story. DESCRIPTION KPI BUDGET PAID MEDIA Use paid social, specifically custom audiences to place branded content in front of targeted influencers. Click-throughs, web traffic, conversions High, considering out of pocket for media spend EARNED MEDIA Entry level approach. Identify influencers, follow them on social, engage by sharing, liking and commenting on influencer content. Engagement, influencer awareness NA SHARED MEDIA Share branded and influencer content, leveraging creative assets like social cards, gifs, infograms (similar to infographics but with one data points instead of several) and short form videos. Engagement, Click- throughs, web traffic, conversions High, considering out of pocket for creative content OWNED MEDIA Invite influencers to guest post on company blog, co-create content with influencers (industry white papers or eBooks), curate influencer content on company newsroom. Influencer participation, general engagement There may be some instances where B2B influencers require some form of payment FULLY INTEGRATED PROGRAMS Identify influencers. Monitor their conversations and sharing patterns in real-time. Create content that matches what’s top of mind for them. Target with paid media. Shift branded content (web, social, bylines, blogs and news releases) to match how influencers are talking about certain technologies. Pair up executives with certain influencers. Influencer awareness and consideration, shift of brand perception, clicks, engagement High, considering out of pocket for media spend, creative, reporting and research
  15. 15. PROFILING B2B INFLUENCERS In many cases, your entire influencer program may be just for internal use with the purpose of uncovering insights about what they are saying and sharing. This intelligence can inform content creation, paid media and even media relations. How? Collectively, if the influencers are going to Wired for news, you’ll want to ensure you are prioritizing your media relations accordingly. You may even consider a paid sponsorship if it makes sense. Or, if the influencers are talking about technology in a certain way, you can mimic their vernacular making your content more relevant to them than your competitors. Compiling profiles that score influence based on reach, resonance, relevance and reference can aide in this research and ensure that your programs are laser-focused and informed by data. INFLUENCER: KIMBERLY JACKS Kimberly has been writing about AI-related stories for the past five years, and maintains a daily blog on AI and machine learning on her blog at AIandMachineLearning.com. She was previously a product developer at XYZ Technology company, but has since developed her own profile as an expert in artificial intelligence and has a broad degree of knowledge and interest in the industry. Her social links. l content typically consists of conversations, with few externa Kimberly loves dogs, and often posts images of her Shiba Inu. RELEVANT CONTENT • Who Should Adopt Artificial Intelligence Marketing Technology Now? • Artificial Intelligence Marketing Association Manifesto - #AIMA • An artificial intelligence marketing platform helps a lingerie brand grow its revenue 155% Artificial Intelligence Marketing is Changing the Game TOTAL NETWORK SIZE 260K TOP INTERESTS TOP KEYWORDS USAGE (LAST 3 MONTHS) PORTLAND, OREGON REACH BY CHANNEL 175K 500+ 66K 10K Artificial Intelligence Innovation Technology Travel Reading Social Good Dog Lovers Consumer Technolog Virtual Reality Craft Beer Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning Intelligent Research Learning Reasoning IoT Simulation
  17. 17. Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Nov Dec Identifying the right influencers and analyzing their conversations might just be all you need to drive brand relevance. We have already established that the 1% drives the market. When they speak, others listen. They are the creator of buzzwords. The influence search behavior. By keeping a pulse on the 1% and using their conversational and media consumption insights to inform content and media programs, you’ll still be way ahead of your competition. If your targeted influencers are reading and sharing content from Wired more so than Forbes, you can prioritize your media relations accordingly. Influencers are the first to discover new media outlets. Simple monitoring can help identify new media targets which could be implemented within a PR strategy. By monitoring conversations, you can understand language trends, and mimic the same language on all branded content – social, web, bylines, blogs, pitches and news releases. Digital TransformationDevOpsEnterprise SecurityArtificial Intelligence The AI conversation increased exponentially since January, with many influencers publishing their own content on the subject and reading/sharing articles from Wired, Forbes and MIT”s Technology Review. The data represents all influencer content shared and published over the last 12 months. While security is still a dominant topic among the influencers the volume of content published and shared has decreased significantly. Influencers are still reading media from Dark Reading, Hacker News, and The Verge to get their security content. Many of the influencers are creating content around digital transformation and how artificial intelligence and scalable security solutions are needed to for companies to evolve. They are currently reading and sharing content from the Harvard Business Review and Business Insider. MICHELE GOAN Security Researcher 50K Followers NANCY REAGAN Security Analysts 52K Followers NICK GOMEZ CISO, Founder 12K Followers KATE WINSLETT Journalist 52K Followers TODD MARIN Futurist, Author 38K Followers HELEN JOHNSON IT Security Professional 150K Followers MELISSA HA Security Journalist 32K Followers JEROME MILLS CISO, CTO 123K Followers STEPHANIE ZSE Journalist 52K Followers JOE BRYANT Author/Consultant 38K Followers KATHY HANSEN Managing Editor 17K Followers MICHAEL WALSH Security Consultant 23K Followers Earlier in the year, DevOps was a high volume conversation among the influencer. The conversation slowly declined throughout the year. Influencers rely heavily on Dzone, Open AI and ZDNet for content.
  18. 18. FOCUSED INFLUENCER ENGAGEMENT USING CUSTOMIZED CREATIVE The days of creating planned editorial calendars and using them as templates for your marketing message are over. Business decision makers want value, and the last thing they want to see is a Tweet linking to a product page. Unfortunately, many B2B brands still do this. Amplifying influencer content is one way to capture their attention. Once you’ve done so, repeated exposure to your story throughout the communications landscape will then entice their engagement. This helps influencers then understand your brand value, leading to the holy grail of influencer marketing: brand advocacy. This focus on quality over quantity better depicts the business value. Influencer writes an article about artificial intelligence Is #ArtificialIntelligence helping or hurting the economy? @tsimonite explains http://bit.ly/2EW9Gs The guide to Your Brand Here @yourbrandhere ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BY TOM SIMON Customized creative content published and amplified using paid social
  19. 19. USING INFLUENCER INSIGHTS TO INFORM EXECUTIVE ACTIVATION Many times, executives that want to build credibility and authority in the digital space are unsure of what to say or where to start. The last think you want happening is executives sharing branded content without a unique point of view or perspective about a topic or issue. Influencer data can serve two purposes when it comes to executive communications. First, just an understanding of who is driving the conversation about a topic is critical. You can easily pair up specific executives to engage directly with the influencers. Typically, because of the executives’ status in the company or market, most influencers won’t hesitate to engage back, assuming the conversation is not self-serving but a topic of interest. Secondly, audience-based listening can deliver more relevant and impactful topics for executives to talk about. In this case, the audience is a group of influencers. Audience-based listening can inform all outbound marketing and communications. CUSTOM LISTENING PANEL (DATABASE) OF ALL INFLUENCER CONTENT – CONVERSATIONS, MEDIA SHARING. TOPICS MEDIA SHARING LISTENING | ANALYSIS | CONTENT Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Digital Transformation Future of Work By understanding what’s ”top of mind” for influencers, their sharing patterns and media consumption, you can create an executive narrative that breaks through the clutter and delivers real business value. It can also inform which media pubs should be considered for byline placement.
  20. 20. USING INFLUENCER INSIGHTS TO INFORM MEDIA RELATIONS Now is the time for PR pros to start using data in order to make smarter, more strategic decisions about media. In the 1:9:90 model, we established that influencers are driving the conversation about various topics and publishing and sharing those thoughts in digital channels. The 9% re-package that content, provide their own, unique POV and then share it. Everyone else consumes the content. Assuming you have identified the right influencers, you can start to track specific patterns. For example, where are they publishing their own content and what are they reading and then sharing. What’s top of mind for them at a specific moment in time? This intelligence is critical. If the trend is showing that influencers are reading Wired more than they are Forbes, you may consider prioritizing your media outreach differently. Or, if you notice they are reading a media publication that you aren’t familiar with, you may decide to reach out and build a relationship with the journalist who writes there. Take out the guess work when formulating a media strategy.
  21. 21. Nothing speaks to the value of real-time marketing more than the “Oreo moment” from 2013. Unfortunately, marketing opportunities like that don’t happen very often; and almost never for B2B. However, the process behind real-time marketing can still be applied to content activations regardless of the public moments they sometimes spur. Monitoring influential conversations and using the real- time insights to fuel content and media strategies are the future of marketing. These insights can inform branded content, channel prioritization and media relations. Though it sounds contradictory, trending topics and hot conversations can in fact be planned in advance. As trends in conversation among influential or large groups of people are discovered, marketing programs can be created to capitalize off of these trends. With the right workflow, content can be activated ahead of the moment the conversation reaches its tipping point, creating real-time reaction through advanced planning. REAL-TIME CONTENT ACTIVATION Analysis of conversation and other data can also stop campaigns altogether. The way data is reviewed and collected, brands have the ability dial-test and predict whether a content campaign will succeed or fail. When markers appear to indicate failure, a real-time content workflow can minimize cost and negative impact to the business.
  22. 22. SUPPORT Write real-time content for employees using a more human tone of voice, and leveraging the insights from the developer panel. MONITOR Monitoring influencer panel weekly for real- time insights based on audience. ACTIVATE Use insights to brainstorm real-time engagement and content opportunities. SHARE Create shareable, social-first content (blogs, images, posts) based on what’s trending within the developer panel. Content would drive social channel engagement or link back for longer form assets. PITCH Target media is pitched based on publications the audience is reading. Use insights from the audience conversation to inform bylines, blogs, headlines, etc. AMPLIFY Using social, custom audiences, search or native advertising, amplify content with paid digital marketing tactics. RECOMMEND Share insights with executives and subject matter experts, with key recommendations outlined for influencer engagement. REPORT Provide real-time insights (weekly, bi- weekly, and point in time) – trending content, conversations, articles, competitive share of voice, topical share of conversation, etc. 1 2 3 4 5 6 3 4
  23. 23. Tectonic shifts in media and storytelling have proven the value of authenticity, honesty, credibility and data-driven narratives that can be both justified and validated. A robust influencer program speaks to that authenticity factor. “ ”Jim Goldman Executive Vice President, Zeno Group