Inside Influence EP07: Pierre-Loïc Assayag from Traackr on Influencer Marketing Technology

Pierre-Loic-Assayag

Pierre-Loic-Assayag

Scrow: A conjunction of “scale” and “grow”, which is a word I made up to talk about the value of technology when it comes to ramping up the impact of B2B influencer marketing during the latest Inside Influence show about what’s working and what’s not inside the world of B2B Influencer Marketing.

When B2B marketers think about how to “scrow” the success of their influencer marketing, they often start by looking beyond spreadsheets from transactional to more relationship driven influencer models. To support these efforts they often seek influencer marketing platforms.

There’s a lot to uncover when it comes to understanding what role technology plays in identifying, engaging, implementing and measuring influencer collaborations. Lucky for us, in this 7th episode of Inside Influence, we have Pierre-Loïc Assayag, CEO and Founder at Traackr to share his experiences plus a few relevant statistics from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report about how B2B marketers are using technology (or not) for their influencer marketing programs.

In this 7th episode of Inside Influence, Pierre-Loic and I talk about:

  • Influencer Marketing in 2008 and 2021
  • The business case for pandemic era B2B influencer marketing
  • Crawl, walk, run options for influencer marketing software
  • Influencer Marketing Success: Is it the software or Marketing technology?
  • Skills needed to maximize influencer marketing platform ROI
  • How influencer marketing software enables Always-On influencer engagement
  • New updates to Traackr
  • The future of influencer marketing tech and martech integration
  • How B2B brands can justify dedicated internal influencer marketing leaders

Here are a few highlights on those topics with the full video interview embedded below.

What would you say the business case is for B2B brands engaging in influencer marketing in our current environment?

Pierre-Loic: So first and foremost, I’d say, “what else you got?”  If you look at the tools available to a B2B marketer and you apply them in the context of a pandemic where people are not allowed to travel to go to events, whether they’re small venues or big venues, where just a whole bunch of other offline activities that we use to perform on a regular basis are just gone, those tools are  not available anymore. So, in many ways what you are left with are the digital tools. The thing that has historically worked is influence marketing. In there I would include things like PR and analyst relations too, because they’re all versions of influencer marketing. And your own content.

You need a community of people that are there to both amplify (your voice) and compliment it. That’s influencer marketing. @pierreloic

In other words, what do you need to succeed? You need your voice and that voice to have a personality, to have a message that you give to communicate. And you need a community of people that are there to both amplify it and compliment it. That’s influencer marketing.

The pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies…really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results. @pierreloic

There’s not been a better time for influencer marketing to strive. If anything, the pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies that are B2B and B2C, I find personally extremely helpful because it really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results. It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad that we’re here from that vantage point.

What are some of the major trends you’re seeing with B2B brands in how they are evolving the use of influencer marketing?

Pierre-Loic: I’d say 2020 and the coronavirus crisis was a proxy for things that were already on the way that have really accelerated.

We’ve seen longer-term partnerships being formed between influencers and brands a lot more than we did before. @pierreloic

The first one is the move from transactional tactical influencer marketing to relational and more long-standing relationships. We’ve seen longer-term partnerships being formed between influencers and brands a lot more than we did before. There’s a lot less focus on just purely campaigns. That’s one trend that was there before, but it’s really been put into focus.

One that really transcends influencer marketing is this idea of values driven purchases. In the B2C world it’s happened a lot for some time now. You’ve seen the Nike ads from two years ago with Kapernick. But now you have a lot of brands that have started standing up for something. In the B2C world it’s a trend that has accelerated, but was there before. For B2B it’s somewhat new.

Some of the social movements in 2020 have really put an emphasis on the notion of brand purpose and how important that is to guide their decision, to interact with employees, partners, influencers, etc. That trend is also touching on influencer marketing because the only way it works is if it is received as being authentic for your community. The way you can get that seal of endorsement is through your community of influencers.

Our research found that 50% of the most successful marketers use influencer marketing software vs. just 25% of the least successful.  Is this about influencer marketing software by itself or is it more about the overall ability of a company to use technology in an integrated marketing mix?

Pierre-Loic: I think you need to have technology in order to harness the amount of data that you need and to mix it with your other data sets in order to figure out your best practices. We’ve been advocating data driven, influencer marketing for just about a decade now. It’s really important that companies start immersing themselves in the richness of the data in order to learn their best practices.

I’m genuinely curious about the other 50%, if they don’t have access to this. I don’t know how you access it manually. That said, I’m not sure that it’s something special about influencer marketing software. I think it has more to do with a relationship between a company and their use of technology and marketing technology.

At the end of the day, success at scale only happens when you have a piece of software that powers your influencer marketing, that you can connect with your other data sets. @pierreloic

At the end of the day, success at scale only happens when you have a piece of software that powers your influencer marketing, that you can connect with your other data sets on the CRM side, etc. It’s true of every level. It’s true for reporting purposes. It’s also true in the way you build your marketing attribution models.

At a very small scale you can do all this manually. It’s not that big of a deal, but the minute you start seeing a sign of success at that very small scale, then you’re going to need to equip yourself. Not just with a piece of influencer marketing software, but with the ability to start merging your datasets together.

For that you have a piece of technology that you can connect with as you do with a Traackr, but you also need the skills of people that are able to build these dashboards, to create these data lakes, that they retrieve data from via attribution models. So there’s a layer of complexity that just goes with the world that we live in. Instead of deflecting or sidetracking that complexity, my advice would be to embrace it.

In our research, we found that 60% of companies running always-on influencer programs were very successful vs. only 5% who do periodic or intermittent campaigns. What role does influencer marketing software play in an Always-On approach?

Pierre-Loic: Good question. Software plays two roles really and you’re absolutely right about the stat. I’m not surprised by the results that you found. We have the same kind of data that shows that the response of an influencers audience is a function of how authentic the message from the influencer is, which itself, is a reflection of the duration of the partnership.

The response of an influencers audience is a function of how authentic the message from the influencer is, which itself, is a reflection of the duration of the partnership (with the brand). @pierreloic

In other words, if tomorrow I’m starting to promote TopRank Marketing, everybody’s going to believe me because I’ve talked about you guys forever. So there’s nothing that feels “off” about my communication. But if I start talking about a different topic or different brand, it will feel inauthentic to people who may listen to me. Right? So, so I completely agree with the finding.

With regards to software, there are two ways in which software is helpful. One is how you vet influencers, how you select your influencers to work with. What you want to find are people that will be on the fast lane of being able to build that relationship early. These are people that have endorsed either your brand or what you stand for as a company.

Finding people that already have a voice that is credible in the same topic area, even if they haven’t mentioned your brand or if they’re just a fan you just didn’t know, happens quite often, surprisingly. It gives you a leg up when you start these partnerships. In that selection process, technology is very important because you can take a look back at their communication, you can do it at scale and find the people that are the best match for you.

And then software is also helpful in the relationship building. So, you know, Traackr acts as a CRM for influencers, where as an organization you may not know Lee Odden, but probably somebody else at my company does. It’s good to know that we already have the beginning of a partnership. It also gives brands an opportunity to engage an influencer on a very regular basis. Even if your department or marketing is not doing something this month, there’s probably somebody else that is. Just being able to bring visibility into the true partnership between an influencer and a brand is quite useful.

To see the full Inside Influence interview with Pierre-Loïc Assayag, check out the video below:

If you would like to connect with Pierre-Loic further about B2B influencer marketing, you can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Next up on Inside Influence, we’ll be talking to Srijana Angdembey, Director, Social Media Marketing at Oracle about how working with influencers can help create a better customer experience.

Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence B2B Influencer Marketing interviews:

The post Inside Influence EP07: Pierre-Loïc Assayag from Traackr on Influencer Marketing Technology appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Inside Influence EP07: Pierre-Loïc Assayag from Traackr on Influencer Marketing Technology

Pierre-Loic-Assayag

Scrow: A conjunction of “scale” and “grow”, which is a word I made up to talk about the value of technology when it comes to ramping up the impact of B2B influencer marketing during the latest Inside Influence show about what’s working and what’s not inside the world of B2B Influencer Marketing.

When B2B marketers think about how to “scrow” the success of their influencer marketing, they often start by looking beyond spreadsheets from transactional to more relationship driven influencer models. To support these efforts they often seek influencer marketing platforms.

There’s a lot to uncover when it comes to understanding what role technology plays in identifying, engaging, implementing and measuring influencer collaborations. Lucky for us, in this 7th episode of Inside Influence, we have Pierre-Loïc Assayag, CEO and Founder at Traackr to share his experiences plus a few relevant statistics from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report about how B2B marketers are using technology (or not) for their influencer marketing programs.

In this 7th episode of Inside Influence, Pierre-Loic and I talk about:

  • Influencer Marketing in 2008 and 2021
  • The business case for pandemic era B2B influencer marketing
  • Crawl, walk, run options for influencer marketing software
  • Influencer Marketing Success: Is it the software or Marketing technology?
  • Skills needed to maximize influencer marketing platform ROI
  • How influencer marketing software enables Always-On influencer engagement
  • New updates to Traackr
  • The future of influencer marketing tech and martech integration
  • How B2B brands can justify dedicated internal influencer marketing leaders

Here are a few highlights on those topics with the full video interview embedded below.

What would you say the business case is for B2B brands engaging in influencer marketing in our current environment?

Pierre-Loic: So first and foremost, I’d say, “what else you got?”  If you look at the tools available to a B2B marketer and you apply them in the context of a pandemic where people are not allowed to travel to go to events, whether they’re small venues or big venues, where just a whole bunch of other offline activities that we use to perform on a regular basis are just gone, those tools are  not available anymore. So, in many ways what you are left with are the digital tools. The thing that has historically worked is influence marketing. In there I would include things like PR and analyst relations too, because they’re all versions of influencer marketing. And your own content.

You need a community of people that are there to both amplify (your voice) and compliment it. That’s influencer marketing. @pierreloic

In other words, what do you need to succeed? You need your voice and that voice to have a personality, to have a message that you give to communicate. And you need a community of people that are there to both amplify it and compliment it. That’s influencer marketing.

The pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies…really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results. @pierreloic

There’s not been a better time for influencer marketing to strive. If anything, the pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies that are B2B and B2C, I find personally extremely helpful because it really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results. It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad that we’re here from that vantage point.

What are some of the major trends you’re seeing with B2B brands in how they are evolving the use of influencer marketing?

Pierre-Loic: I’d say 2020 and the coronavirus crisis was a proxy for things that were already on the way that have really accelerated.

We’ve seen longer-term partnerships being formed between influencers and brands a lot more than we did before. @pierreloic

The first one is the move from transactional tactical influencer marketing to relational and more long-standing relationships. We’ve seen longer-term partnerships being formed between influencers and brands a lot more than we did before. There’s a lot less focus on just purely campaigns. That’s one trend that was there before, but it’s really been put into focus.

One that really transcends influencer marketing is this idea of values driven purchases. In the B2C world it’s happened a lot for some time now. You’ve seen the Nike ads from two years ago with Kapernick. But now you have a lot of brands that have started standing up for something. In the B2C world it’s a trend that has accelerated, but was there before. For B2B it’s somewhat new.

Some of the social movements in 2020 have really put an emphasis on the notion of brand purpose and how important that is to guide their decision, to interact with employees, partners, influencers, etc. That trend is also touching on influencer marketing because the only way it works is if it is received as being authentic for your community. The way you can get that seal of endorsement is through your community of influencers.

Our research found that 50% of the most successful marketers use influencer marketing software vs. just 25% of the least successful.  Is this about influencer marketing software by itself or is it more about the overall ability of a company to use technology in an integrated marketing mix?

Pierre-Loic: I think you need to have technology in order to harness the amount of data that you need and to mix it with your other data sets in order to figure out your best practices. We’ve been advocating data driven, influencer marketing for just about a decade now. It’s really important that companies start immersing themselves in the richness of the data in order to learn their best practices.

I’m genuinely curious about the other 50%, if they don’t have access to this. I don’t know how you access it manually. That said, I’m not sure that it’s something special about influencer marketing software. I think it has more to do with a relationship between a company and their use of technology and marketing technology.

At the end of the day, success at scale only happens when you have a piece of software that powers your influencer marketing, that you can connect with your other data sets. @pierreloic

At the end of the day, success at scale only happens when you have a piece of software that powers your influencer marketing, that you can connect with your other data sets on the CRM side, etc. It’s true of every level. It’s true for reporting purposes. It’s also true in the way you build your marketing attribution models.

At a very small scale you can do all this manually. It’s not that big of a deal, but the minute you start seeing a sign of success at that very small scale, then you’re going to need to equip yourself. Not just with a piece of influencer marketing software, but with the ability to start merging your datasets together.

For that you have a piece of technology that you can connect with as you do with a Traackr, but you also need the skills of people that are able to build these dashboards, to create these data lakes, that they retrieve data from via attribution models. So there’s a layer of complexity that just goes with the world that we live in. Instead of deflecting or sidetracking that complexity, my advice would be to embrace it.

In our research, we found that 60% of companies running always-on influencer programs were very successful vs. only 5% who do periodic or intermittent campaigns. What role does influencer marketing software play in an Always-On approach?

Pierre-Loic: Good question. Software plays two roles really and you’re absolutely right about the stat. I’m not surprised by the results that you found. We have the same kind of data that shows that the response of an influencers audience is a function of how authentic the message from the influencer is, which itself, is a reflection of the duration of the partnership.

The response of an influencers audience is a function of how authentic the message from the influencer is, which itself, is a reflection of the duration of the partnership (with the brand). @pierreloic

In other words, if tomorrow I’m starting to promote TopRank Marketing, everybody’s going to believe me because I’ve talked about you guys forever. So there’s nothing that feels “off” about my communication. But if I start talking about a different topic or different brand, it will feel inauthentic to people who may listen to me. Right? So, so I completely agree with the finding.

With regards to software, there are two ways in which software is helpful. One is how you vet influencers, how you select your influencers to work with. What you want to find are people that will be on the fast lane of being able to build that relationship early. These are people that have endorsed either your brand or what you stand for as a company.

Finding people that already have a voice that is credible in the same topic area, even if they haven’t mentioned your brand or if they’re just a fan you just didn’t know, happens quite often, surprisingly. It gives you a leg up when you start these partnerships. In that selection process, technology is very important because you can take a look back at their communication, you can do it at scale and find the people that are the best match for you.

And then software is also helpful in the relationship building. So, you know, Traackr acts as a CRM for influencers, where as an organization you may not know Lee Odden, but probably somebody else at my company does. It’s good to know that we already have the beginning of a partnership. It also gives brands an opportunity to engage an influencer on a very regular basis. Even if your department or marketing is not doing something this month, there’s probably somebody else that is. Just being able to bring visibility into the true partnership between an influencer and a brand is quite useful.

To see the full Inside Influence interview with Pierre-Loïc Assayag, check out the video below:

If you would like to connect with Pierre-Loic further about B2B influencer marketing, you can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Next up on Inside Influence, we’ll be talking to Srijana Angdembey, Director, Social Media Marketing at Oracle about how working with influencers can help create a better customer experience.

Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence B2B Influencer Marketing interviews:

6 Ways to Build Brand Authority With Content Marketing

Becoming an authoritative brand is no easy feat, but the massive benefits are worth the effort.

When you’ve built authority, potential customers and clients begin to count on you and trust you — and it’s hard to imagine that trust not leading to a sale (at some point).

But how exactly can a brand begin to build, or build upon, their authority? Content is an excellent way, and in this article, I’ll go through my tips on how it can be done.

1. Answer your audience’s questions

If you’re not doing this, there’s virtually no way you’ll become an authority. People grow to rely on brands when those brands provide the information they’re looking for, so if your content marketing doesn’t incorporate those answers, you’re not demonstrating to your audience why they should trust you.

By building on-site content that provides this kind of value, you can build authority while simultaneously building more awareness for your brand. In other words, you can position yourself as an expert for those who don’t already know you.

Search is a huge component of why this content tactic works. Google does a significant amount of curation for users, choosing what it thinks is the most appropriate results for a particular query. When users see that you’re ranking at the top for a certain keyword or topic, there’s an assumption you made it through the algorithm for good reason and know what you’re talking about.

As an example, I searched “shoe size chart,” which, according to Keyword Surfer, gets 49,500 monthly searches in the U.S. alone. Here’s one of the top results from Famous Footwear:

Presumably, people are searching for this because they want to buy shoes, but they’re not sure what size to get. If they click this result, not only are they now on the website, but they recognize that this brand provided the answer they were looking for. Perhaps they’ll even browse for shoes while they’re on the site.

How to execute this strategy: Find out what your target audience is curious about by talking to your customer service representatives, performing keyword research, and using tools like Answer the Public and BuzzSumo’s Discover Questions feature. Then see what content already exists and if you can do better. If you can, get to creating!

2. Create newsworthy reports and studies

One of the best ways to demonstrate your authority is to show your continued interest in unearthing new information and insights. You can do this by prioritizing original research.

When you create your own studies, surveys, and reports (aka perform data journalism) based on new data or unveiling new insights, you not only provide value to readers, but also have something you can pitch to the media.

This gives you double benefit: Getting media coverage (and building even more brand authority) and earning high-quality backlinks, which signals to Google that you’re an authority.

We’ve used this strategy for our clients since Fractl first started up in 2012, and we’re convinced it’s one of the best brand authority strategies.

Let’s look at a study we did for The Interview Guys, as an example, which involved analyzing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Requirements Survey to identify the highest-paying jobs that require the least amount of experience. Here’s one of the graphics from the report:

The study got media coverage on CNBC, Reader’s Digest, MarketWatch and more, earning extremely high-value dofollow links. But take a look at how The Interview Guys are mentioned in the articles:

By supplying new insights, The Interview Guys are positioned by the writers as the source of the information, which is an extremely authoritative way to be referenced.

How to execute this strategy: After doing the first tip and analyzing questions, zoom out a bit and consider what general questions in your industry still need answers. How can you answer them with data? Once you’ve created a report that reveals new information, utilize digital PR to pitch writers.

3. Utilize the authority of in-house experts

Some brands are built entirely around a particular persona, like Steve Jobs with Apple, but those examples can intimidate people. Smaller companies and newer companies alike can benefit from a similar strategy if they have subject matter experts (or SMEs) who can show their authority.

A great example of this is Headspace and how it features its founder, Andy Puddicombe. There’s a page all about him on their website where they explain his credentials but also provide what are called authority signals (which I’ll explain more in the next section) and embed his Ted Talk, so you can see for yourself what he knows.

Why is this smart? Headspace probably realized that as the literal voice behind Headspace (Andy does much of the meditation audio himself), Andy started building trust with audiences. It makes sense to double-down on that trust by helping people get to know who he is, and by having him explain even more concepts directly through Radio Headspace and their YouTube channel. After all, if people trust Andy, they’re more likely to trust the Headspace app.

How to execute this strategy: If your internal experts have never shared anything with the public, see if they’re comfortable contributing blog posts or quotes to your website. Pitch them to be on podcasts, or use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to pitch them as sources for relevant news articles. Help them demonstrate their knowledge in ways that are useful to audiences.

4. Highlight reviews, case studies, and other proof of expertise

There are dozens of types of authority signals, from testimonials to reviews to social media share counts. The key is identifying which ones make sense to highlight for your products or services, and figuring out the best placement for them.

Your goal is to show people you know what you’re talking about by leveraging third-party validation. Your audience doesn’t just have to take your word for it that you know what you’re doing — other people can confirm that you’re great, too!

I like how SquadCast tackles this. On their homepage they have a few authority signals they provide, including testimonials that match with each user persona, which I think is really smart.

Then when you scroll further, they throw in the fact that household names like Spotify, Microsoft, Starbucks, and ESPN trust them.

If you look at the Fractl site, you’ll see we use a similar strategy. Not only do we have case studies showcasing the results we’ve gotten for clients, but we also have logos showing some of the clients we’ve worked with and the publications where our thought leadership appears.

All of this content says to a site visitor: “Others trust us, and you should too.”

How to execute this strategy: If you don’t already have this type of content, ask yourself how you can best collect it. Reach out to your best clients and ask them for a quote. Pull the best reviews you’ve ever gotten for your products. Call out any media mentions you’ve received. Then put this information on your homepage, but also on conversion pages to instill confidence when and where it counts.

5. Associate with other authoritative brands

You know the phrase, “Show me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are?” That can apply in marketing, too.

If you align with other brands you respect and that are doing right by their customers/users, it’s possible some of that same trust will transfer to you if that company’s respect is reciprocated. Additionally, if you collaborate, you’re getting your brand name in front of a new audience.

So, think about which brands it makes sense to collaborate with. There are ways to do this outside of content marketing, like referral programs, but there are content-specific ways to work together, too.

This is an amazing example from Auntie Anne’s and Samuel Adams, who teamed up to create an at-home Oktoberfest kit, complete with Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer, Auntie Anne’s DIY Pretzel Kit, recipe book, a “Prost from Home” playlist you can stream, and more.

This isn’t purely a content strategy, but you can see the overlap between product and building more of an experience. People who love and count on Auntie Anne’s pretzels are exposed to Samuel Adams and vice versa. Through a collaboration like this, fans of one have the potential to become fans of the other, as you can see in this review:

This is a more fun example, but you can also execute a collaboration based on studies and surveys by partnering with organizations interested in answering the same questions or solving the same problems as your brand.

How to execute this strategy: Brainstorm which brands you may have a natural alignment in objectives or values with. How can you work together to provide something of value to both of your audiences?

6. Give away some of your secrets

This can be scary for a lot of marketers and especially for the C-suite. Why should you give away what makes you great?

It’s a valid question, and it won’t always apply. But in some cases, especially for service-based businesses, sharing information and breaking down exactly how you achieve that greatness can actually build trust.

Marcus Sheridan has a wonderful example of this. When my colleague attended Inbound last year, she was impressed by Marcus’s presentation in which he described a single blog post that earned him $2 million in sales. (Heidi Cohen has a great write up about it.)

Why did it work? Because he shared information no one else wanted to share: the actual cost of a fiberglass pool. Rather than hiding the information and revealing it later in the sales process, he was forthright and answered the question people wanted the answer to. Clearly this strategy paid off.

We use the same philosophy at Fractl, explaining exactly how we go about doing our work and building our clients links and brand awareness. There are process details we haven’t disclosed, but all and all, we’ve been very transparent about how we operate, and it’s worked well for us.

In fact, people still recall an Experts on the Wire podcast interview with Kerry Jones, our previous marketing director, in which she walked through our strategies. I’ve had marketing folks tell me that this is how they heard about Fractl in the first place. Years later, it’s still featured on the podcast’s main page:

People appreciate when you’re open and honest. In our case, even if people knew our strategy, clients often partner with us because they don’t have the bandwidth to execute the strategy at scale, as it requires a lot of time and resources. So by knowing how we work, they can trust us to handle it for them.

How to execute this strategy: Consider what information you have that you can share, even if (sometimes especially if) your competitors haven’t shared it. You can leave a big impression of you’re open about your industry in a way others aren’t. Of course, don’t do something that will jeopardize your company, but consider the question and see what might make sense.

Conclusion

The very act of investing in content marketing is a big step in building more brand authority. By creating content that’s beneficial for your audience, you’re demonstrating your own knowledge and utilizing your expertise.

By continuing to build on your strategy with the above tactics, you can greatly improve the chances your audience will not only remember your brand, but begin to trust your brand. Additionally, it’s likely the Google algorithm will recognize your authority, as well, especially after building an impressive link portfolio, and your results will rise in the SERP ranks.

Good luck amplifying your strategy, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!