What Does Award-Winning B2B Influencer Marketing Look Like?

Professional businessman making a heart with his fingers image.

In a time of increased competition and uncertainty, standing out is more important than ever.

Of course there’s plenty of B2B marketing that stands out, but what kind performs? Is it ads, content marketing, SEO, social, ABM or influence?

At TopRank Marketing we make it our business to deliver on and exceed expectations for content experiences that will inspire customers through influencer marketing. But what does award-winning B2B influencer marketing look like?  How can you infuse your own campaigns with the type of powerful elements that combine to deliver stellar marketing performance?

To help answer those questions, let’s take a look at two highly-successful efforts from our clients LinkedIn and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) to find out what common elements both campaigns share to make for decidedly uncommon success.

Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing in Action

Awards Image

We were thrilled that the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) B2 Awards awarded TopRank Marketing its silver winner in the social media category, for our work with LinkedIn in the successful “LinkedIn’s Social-First Approach to Engaging Influencers & Audiences Alike” campaign, and that the 2020 Content Marketing Awards has selected TopRank Marketing as a finalist in its best content marketing program in technology, for our work with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) in the successful “IT Vanguard Awards” campaign.

The ANA’s B2 Awards recognize the top performing B2B marketers with a unique focus on driving demonstrable business results, and in 2020 entrants submitted in 47 categories which have evolved to reflect the growing role of B2B marketing and rapid industry changes.

The 2020 Content Marketing Awards recognize and award the best content marketing projects, agencies and marketers in the industry each year, recognizing all aspects of content marketing, from strategy to distribution, from design to editorial, and is the leading international awards program for corporate content creation and distribution.

LinkedIn’s Social-First Approach to Engaging Influencers & Audiences Alike

LinkedIn Case Study Image

The average daily time that a user spends on social media is approximately 153 minutes (Statista). And, with 706+ million registered users (63 million of which are in decision-making positions), the LinkedIn platform presents a big opportunity for brands to engage their target audience. (LinkedIn).

But reaching and connecting with both marketers and sales professionals has become increasingly difficult due to the overload of information thrown at them each day. The brand LinkedIn also faced this challenge, even on their own platform.

So, in order to better reach these decision makers, LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales Solutions set out to create a social-first campaign that would communicate authentically to then attract attention to specific LinkedIn Showcase Pages. Goals included:

  • Increase engagement and continue to humanize LinkedIn as a brand by partnering with well respected industry experts to share real-life struggles, stories and obstacles with a focused audience.
  • Drive new audiences to the targeted Showcase Pages via the influencer’s audiences (that were not already following or engaging with the LinkedIn brand).
  • Continue to nurture and grow relationships with the influencers themselves as part of an ongoing influencer program.
  • Engage the audience in-channel (versus sending to alternate content off platform).

LinkedIn Campaign Insights & Strategy

LinkedIn Image

To create and optimize this social-first influencer content campaign, specific insights and strategies were leveraged:

  • High-level audit of the LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Showcase pages to identify the most engaging content based on:
    • Content Length
    • Topic
    • Visuals
    • Featured Influencers
    • Best Publishing Time/Day
  • Identification of best-fit target influencers based on:
    • Audience Relevance
    • Participation Likelihood
    • Best Stories
    • Relevance and/or admiration of target audience
  • Research into appropriate hashtags for the campaign.

Based on these insights a campaign approach was created, including:

  • A messaging/post formula including:
    • Context at the beginning of each post
    • Tagging the contributing influencer
    • Showcasing their story/insights
    • Utilizing hashtags
    • Compelling visuals
  •      Activation of influencers when posts went live.

Influencer Content Campaign Concept

In order to better reach an overloaded audience, we focused on the idea of partnering with influencers to make professional networking more personal vs. more traditional “best practices” content that fills most professionals’ social feeds.

Instead, relevant influencers we asked to share real-life stories based on 3 key questions:

  • Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped you as a marketer or sales professional.
  • What is one thing not on your LinkedIn profile that people should know about you?
  • Who is one rising star in your field that you’d like to recognize? What makes them amazing?

By shifting from purely professional content to a combination of professional and personal, LinkedIn was able to better connect with the audience around their own professional opportunities and provide them a platform to engage directly with experts they respect.

B2B Social Influencer Campaign Results

Results for this influencer marketing and social media program exceeded all target goals. Below is a breakdown of the results:

#MyMarketingStory

  • 239% above reaction benchmark
  • 348% above comment benchmark
  • 150% above shares benchmark
  • 100% influencer activation around the campaign

#MySalesStory

  • 247% above reaction averages/goal
  • 215% above comment averages
  • 400% above shares averages
  • 100% influencer activation around the campaign

Influencer Metrics

  • 14 influencers activated (leading to 75+ over time)
  • 228 total social posts (excludes LinkedIn data)
  • 853 engagements (excludes LinkedIn data)
  • 5.84M estimated reach (excludes LinkedIn data)

LinkedIn Social Influencer Campaign Insights

The goal of this campaign was to drive authentic engagement, on platform, between LinkedIn and their customers. With over 706 million registered users including 63 million in decision-making positions, LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales created a powerful and successful social-first campaign leveraging LinkedIn Showcase Pages by connecting with content on both a personal and professional level.

LinkedIn Looks at What’s Next in Marketing Content Together

“At LinkedIn, we’ve worked with the TopRank Marketing team for about two to three years now, and what I really like about working with TopRank is they really, truly come to the table as collaborative partners,” Judy Tian, marketing manager at LinkedIn observed.

“I’ve worked with a number of agencies where in marketing, I’m asking for deliverable A and they just give me deliverable A. But what’s great about TopRank is they also think about B, C, and D and really try to push my thinking of what’s next,” Judy added.

“I think in marketing you are only as good as the creativity of your team and your ideas. The more voices that we bring to the table and the more proactiveness and willingness of everyone contributing ideas, the better off your marketing campaigns will be, and for us at LinkedIn, TopRank has truly become an extension of our own marketing team,” Judy explained.

TopRank Marketing & Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Not Afraid To Innovate: The IT Vanguards Awards Program

Alcatel Screen Shot

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE), a 100-year-old business technology company, decided it was time to raise the stakes in sales funnel management. While ALE had hundreds of contacts, the company was not achieving the desired traction with their current methods.

Their big idea was a recognition program for IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders. By celebrating industry leaders, ALE hoped to forge stronger relationships with clients and prospects — and build a more robust contact list.

But how could ALE make sure that this seed of an idea produced the desired fruit — not only in its inaugural year but in years to come? The company looked to TopRank Marketing to help them create an innovative program, unlike anything that had been done before.

TopRank Marketing provided end-to-end support for the initiative, collaborating with ALE on branding the IT Vanguards program, and then executing a strategic marketing plan which included influencer engagement, press releases, LinkedIn Pulse content, emails, and blogs.

The IT Vanguards website doubled as a way to collect nominations and celebrate the winners. Once the winners were announced, the IT Vanguards website was populated with the honorees’ top leadership advice. These insights positioned both the winners and ALE as thought-leaders while also providing meaningful value long after the close of the program.

All milestones — from announcing the program to celebrating the winners — were promoted using a strategic blend of content marketing, influencer marketing, and social media. The content was amplified on social channels through paid ads as well as posts by ALE employees, program judges, honorees of the IT Vanguards program, and relevant third-party organizations and industry associations.

Results of the IT Vanguards Program

By all definitions, the IT Vanguards program was a resounding success. With more than 50 quality, relevant nominations, the IT Vanguards program was an effective means to identify and celebrate the best IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders.

The program also excelled as a way to generate brand awareness and engagement. There were nearly 14,000 combined landing page views during ten weeks of contest promotion. On social channels, the program boasted 100% engagement from program judges and honorees through activities such as direct conversations with the ALE and TopRank Marketing teams, social sharing, and internal sharing.

The program also spurred third-party recognition of the honorees’ prestigious achievement, including press releases and special ceremonies held by the honorees’ local governments, school boards, and companies. These activities further heightened the credibility of the IT Vanguards program and the market leadership position of ALE.

Lastly, the IT Vanguards program delivered in terms of business development. Using the IT Vanguards program to celebrate the IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders, ALE generated opportunities for meaningful conversations with prospects. The company attributes three million in the pipeline to the campaign.

We’re honored…

…to win the ANA B2 Awards silver award for our combined efforts with LinkedIn — an especially strong campaign as we outlined above, and to be named a finalist at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards in the best content marketing program in technology category for our joint efforts with ALE.

Get Your Own Award-Winning Results From TopRank Marketing

TopRank Marketing, the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, delivers award-winning work to clients including LinkedIn, AT&T, Adobe, SAP, Dell, 3M, monday.com and others. Contact us today to discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you.

For additional new case studies and to learn more about B2B influencer marketing trends, best practices and predictions for the future, be sure to access the all new 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, which features insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report Preview

Always-On Influence: 5 Examples of Ongoing B2B Influencer Marketing In Action

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks.

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks.

Always-on influence is especially vital today as brands look to combat increasing mistrust and apathy.

Why have top B2B firms including our clients LinkedIn, Adobe and Dell Outlet chosen always-on influencer marketing programs, and what results are they achieving using continuing influence programs?

We answer these questions and more with examples of always-on influence in action.

In the first installment of our new #AlwaysOnInfluence series, our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden explored what always-on influencer marketing is and why B2B brands need it now more than ever, and now we’ll move forward and look at why five major B2B firms have chosen ongoing influencer marketing.

First let’s refresh our marketing lexicon with an overview of just what always-on influence is.

What Is Always-On Influence?

Always-on influencer marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship-building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy.

Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts, rather than playing catch-up, stopping a campaign, and waiting to build a new one.

“Relationships take time and that means influencer engagement is an ongoing effort, not just when influencers are needed to provide content or promotion,” Lee explained, adding that “a relationship-driven endeavor like engaging with influencers requires an ongoing effort.”

Why Are B2B Brands Choosing Always-On Influence Now?

Always-on influencer marketing also happens to be an ideal way for brands to drive digital conversations during the global health crisis, as B2B brands seek to defeat audience apathy and skepticism by creating powerful influencer-infused content that bolsters brand credibility and authority.

Financial firms have increased their use of influencer marketing to drive awareness of services in higher demand due to the global health crisis. (eMarketer)

Using always-on influencer marketing helped our client 3M establish and popularize the Science Champions Podcast, paved the way for client DivvyHQ to see a 500 percent increase in awareness of its content platform, and led to our client Prophix seeing a 642 percent increase in engagement.

Our team at TopRank Marketing has been involved in always-on B2B influencer marketing since its inception, and we’ve had the honor of working with an array of major brands, and the success they’ve achieved utilizing ongoing influencer programs can serve as a guide for other B2B brands looking to try continuing influencer marketing.

“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action,” Amisha Gandhi of client SAP Ariba noted.

Amisha Gandhi of SAP Quote Image

[bctt tweet=”“Working with influencers, to co-create content, delivers value and can inspire audiences to take action.” — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi” username=”toprank”]

What Are Some of the Benefits of Always-On Influence?

There are many benefits to ongoing B2B influencer marketing programs, and we’ll explore them and then look at examples.

“When planned and implemented effectively, B2B influencer marketing programs build trust and confidence for buyers, influencers and the brand,” Lee recently noted.

“Many companies are meeting a boost in demand for information by engaging influencers to provide thought leadership, insights and how-to content. By collaborating with influencers on educational, entertaining and interactive online content, B2B brands can satisfy the hunger buyers have for credible content experiences that engage and inspire,” Lee added.

The uncertain times we face today can also be successfully addressed by brands through the use of always-on influencer marketing.

“Influencers are tapped into the current mood and interests of their audience. Their insights can help you craft your messaging to better resonate with your customers,” Tom Treanor, global head of marketing at our client Arm Treasure Data, recently said.

The Cadence & Drum-Beat of Ongoing Influencer Marketing

Ongoing influencer marketing also helps keep the kind of steady cadence consumers expect today more than ever from brands.

Marketers are being ultra-cognizant of their messaging and publishing cadences, and ensuring their point of view and messaging on COVID-19 — or lack thereof — are aligned with their brand values. Influencer marketing is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between what once was our 2020 marketing plan and what we now need to achieve,” Elizabeth Williams, TopRank Marketing account manager shared.

Live-streaming video from influencers is also increasingly helping to keep the ongoing drum-beat of brand messaging active.

“There has been a rush of business influencers live-streaming video on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” Lee said.

[bctt tweet=”Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

Always-On Influence Forms Lasting Relationships

The ongoing influencer relationships that brands build today can form a strong foundation from which to grow in the years ahead.

Engage an influencer for a campaign and they are your friend for the day. Help someone become more influential and they’re your friend for life,” Lee has astutely noted since the early days of B2B influencer marketing.

Consistency and persistence are among the key factors in successful always-on influencer marketing programs.

Consistency and persistency image

Long-term engagements, founded on solid relationships and strengthened through an always-on influencer strategy, will help you steer clear of stops and starts,” our senior content strategist Nick Nelson noted.

Always-On Provides Momentum, Nurturing & Commitment

Always-on influencer marketing offers brands a multitude of benefits, and is a multi-faceted undertaking, with some of the qualities being that it:

  • Works 24/7
  • Is an Ongoing Practice with Continuing Benefits
  • Focuses on Nurturing Long-Term Relationships
  • Builds Momentum
  • Helps Deliver Better Returns to Brands, Influencers, and Customers
  • Recognizes that Lasting Relationships Aren’t Built in a Day
  • Is a Two-Way Trust-Building Commitment

“Look beyond individual campaigns and think about how the brand and influencer relationship can create mutual value, influence and trust over time,” Lee has said, also noting that “Marketers need to be ‘on’ when it matters, and that might have to mean always on.”

Now let’s look at five examples of why major brands have chosen always-on influencer marketing, starting with LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“Engage an influencer for a campaign and they are your friend for the day. Help someone become more influential and they’re your friend for life.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

1 — Why LinkedIn Is Using Always-On Influence

Fresh off its latest tally of 690 million members, our client LinkedIn has continued to grow, with a 26 percent increase in user sessions and LinkedIn Live video streams that increased by 158 percent since February, according to parent company Microsoft’s fiscal year 2020 third quarter results release.

LinkedIn has remained in the top spot among senior B2B marketers for nurturing leads, with some 84 percent saying the platform is the most effective social media channel (Chief Marketer).

87 percent of Inc. 500 firms used LinkedIn for social media during 2019 (UMass Dartmouth), and for the third consecutive year LinkedIn has garnered the most-trusted social media platform spot, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s Digital Trust Report.

It may come as no surprise that engagement levels at LinkedIn have also risen during the pandemic, and this has been driven in part by the increasing use of always-on B2B marketing influencer initiatives.

LinkedIn WFH Engagement Chart

A powerful example of how LinkedIn has used the always-on influencer marketing approach is LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ “Here’s Where Sales Leaders Should Focus in 2020, According to Experts,” which asked a variety of leading industry experts to share their top priorities for  B2B sales leaders.

LinkedIn Sales Screenshot

Ty Heath, global lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn, sees the power of influence in building ongoing relationships.

“People can break through the noise. People trust people. Influence is about relationships,” Ty has said.

LinkedIn Ty Heath Quote Image

[bctt tweet=”“Business buyers expect more personalized attention and customization of content.” — Ty Heath @tyrona” username=”toprank”]

Humanizing a brand using B2B influencer marketing is explored in more detail in a Break Free B2B video interview we conducted with LinkedIn’s marketing manager Judy Tian.

Judy finds that the relevancy and engagement influencer marketing offers is especially important.

[bctt tweet=”“Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, the relevancy and engagement are what’s most important.” — Judy Tian @judytian07″ username=”toprank”]

Our own Nick sees always-on approaches as becoming a part of the new marketing normal.

“Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm,” Nick Nelson wrote.

It’s a view echoed by our vice president of client accounts Alexis Hall.

Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts,” Alexis noted.

There are many benefits to building long-term influencer relationships that simply won’t occur when brands view influencer marketing as a tactic that can be turned on and off at will, however.

“Brands are best served by fostering long-term and mutually beneficial B2B influencer relationships, going beyond seeing influencers as just another of many projects. The loyalty an influencer will have towards your brand is largely dependent on building and maintaining ongoing relationships,” Lee shared during a recent webinar.

“When a brand provides long-term commitment to a partnership with an influencer, even when an influencer may not be actively involved in a campaign for the brand, the strength of the ongoing relationship will drive continued incentive for the influencer to be advocating for the brand,” Lee added.

LinkedIn has seen continuing success using the power of always-on influence, and to help you learn more about how the firm incorporates influencer marketing into its efforts, here are seven recent related articles we’ve written.

[bctt tweet=”“Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

2 — Why Adobe Chose Always-On Influence

Our client Adobe has successfully used always-on influencer marketing in multiple ongoing programs over a period of years.

Adobe engaged multiple influencers to provide insights around customer experience management in a popular interactive infographic in support of the Adobe Summit conference.

For its “Reshaping Customer Experience Management: The Future of #CXM” campaign, Adobe worked with TopRank Marketing to create a unique interactive online story that featured a wealth of helpful B2B influencer content to increase awareness of Adobe’s Customer Experience Management solutions.

Adobe Reshaping The Customer Experience image.

The campaign combined expert insight from top industry experts including Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies, Rachel Richter of Dun & Bradstreet and others, with enticing and genuinely useful interactive elements to bring Adobe’s CXM to life.

As we’ve seen, always-on influencer marketing delivers numerous benefits, including one that Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe, sees as especially important — bringing more of the humanizing element to B2B brands.

“The main benefit of B2B influencer collaboration is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo,” Rani said.

“Influencers raise brand awareness and engagement by giving companies access to an audience they may not otherwise have through a trusted and credible source,” Rani added.

“We at Adobe pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long term relationships with our influencers,” Rani noted, adding that “With an always on approach like this, it’s easier to match the right influencers with the right campaigns as they get launched.”

[bctt tweet=”“The main benefit of B2B influencer collaboration is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo.” @ranimani0707″ username=”toprank”]

In our annual list of top B2B influencer marketing predictions Rani suggested that influencers and brands will continue to strengthen their ongoing relationships both digitally and in the real world, something that will undoubtedly resume once the global health crisis subsides.

“In 2020, I predict in-real-life experiences between brands and influencers will grow and facilitate a greater sense of community,” Rani noted.

Rani also sat down with Lee and shared how working with B2B influencers can drive marketing results, how influencer engagement is organized at Adobe, along with a variety of tips on recruiting and engaging influencers, as well as listing some of her favorite B2B influencers to work with.

You can dig in with Rani and Lee’s entire fascinating exchange here.

Among Adobe’s always-on influencer initiatives has been its successful #AdobeInsiders program, which features top B2B influencers assembled by Rani and her team, with insider members including Lee, Goldie Chan, and others.

Goldie Chan Twitter Adobe MAX Screenshot

Goldie recently explored the role of personal branding — an element important to savvy influencers — in a Forbes article which also features several take-aways from Lee.

“Adobe has not only built continued trust in its brand amongst a community of influencers but with the Adobe customers those influencers reach as well,” Lee noted.

[bctt tweet=”“With an always on approach, it’s easier to match the right influencers with the right campaigns as they get launched.” @ranimani0707″ username=”toprank”]

3 — Why Dell Outlet & Dell Technologies Use Always-On Influence

Our client Dell Outlet’s certified refurbished server, PC, and workstation program has used always-on influence as part of its award-winning marketing.

An fine example of how Dell Outlet has utilized always-on influencer marketing comes from the “Into the Wild: The Buyer’s Guide to Picking the Best Computer” guide it launched, featuring insight from a variety of “fit-for-you and fit-for-earth” tips from industry experts.

Dell Outlet Sales Guide Image

Dell Outlet was also a finalist at the B2BMX Killer Content Awards — the Finnys — with a campaign featuring small business influencers advocating on video and audio, and testing for the value of refurbished computers.

Dell Outlet needed to build awareness as an entity distinct from their parent brand. With a focus on refurbished hardware and a commitment to a more sustainable, circular economy, Dell Outlet built a unique personality, purpose and value proposition. They needed — however — to both establish themselves as their own brand, and educate a small business audience on the value of refurbished equipment.

With targeted research and outreach, Dell Outlet connected and co-created content with small business influencers who had relevance and resonance with the brand’s target audience. The full campaign, featuring videos, a landing page, and social promotion, achieved strong results that were only possible with always-on influencer marketing:

B2BMX Finnys Dell Image

The campaign was 175 percent over its goal for traffic to product pages, and even though it was primarily an awareness campaign, the influencer contributions succeeded in driving conversions — a powerful testament to how successfully the campaign built trust with its target audience.

Our client Dell Technologies has also developed relationships with a network of influencers, including Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr, who hosted the popular Dell Luminaries podcast. Their discussions with technology visionaries from both inside Dell and elsewhere, put a human face on technology innovation, and build trust in the Dell Technologies brand.

It’s another of the many ongoing benefits of always-on influence that Lee has observed.

Don’t make your influencer involvement a one-and-done. Keep following and engaging with your influencers, helping promote them and developing a community. Better yet, introduce influencers to each other. They’ll have your brand to thank for meaningful connections they make with their peers,” Lee noted.

Here’s another example from Dell Outlet, highlighting the insights they’ve gathered from an array of small business experts and entrepreneurs on making smart tech purchases.

[bctt tweet=”“Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

4 — Why RateLinx Went With Always-On Influence

Our client RateLinx has used always-on influence to achieve new levels of engagement and reach for its platform in the supply chain software and consulting industry, whether through co-created blog content, influencer-rich information resources, or other forms of digital content.

For its recent “14 More Supply Chain & Logistics Leaders You Need to Follow” guide, RateLinx worked with industry influencers including Inna Kuznetsova, Ph. D. and Beth Morgan to provide ongoing advice, insight, and guidance, following up on an earlier successful effort.

RateLinx Screen

Supply chain industry influencer Lisa Anderson was featured in another recent blog post, “Supply Chain Strategy: Modernization Tips from Lisa Anderson.”

RateLinx Screenshot

For RateLinx and all of the brands we’ve shared examples from, the time for always-on influence in marketing has arrived, however brands have been slow to adopt the practice, as we explored in “Why Always-On Is Always Better for Driving B2B Influencer Marketing Success.”

[bctt tweet=”“Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts.” @Alexis5484″ username=”toprank”]

5 — Why AT&T Is Using Always-On Influence

Whether it’s a major name influencer or niche industry micro-influencers, AT&T’s always-on influencer approach has seen continued success, such as its recent inclusion in the popular “#SomeGoodNews with John Krasinski” YouTube videos.

AT&T Screenshot

AT&T also notes that “92 percent of people trust recommendations from people over brands, even if they don’t know them,” and has worked with influencers on campaigns including its successful “History by Us” initiative to celebrate Black History Month.

AT&T Black History Month Screenshot

Take Action by Adding #AlwaysOnInfluence To Your Marketing

As we’ve seen with our examples from LinkedIn, Adobe, Dell, RateLinx, AT&T and others, always-on influence is a powerful long-term method for driving brand authority and increasing brand trust and engagement, especially during uncertain times.

We hope that you’ve found inspiration in these various examples for your own efforts. To learn more about how TopRank Marketing can help you develop a premier always-on influencer marketing program, please contact us.


Source: SEO blog

25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020

B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign Ideas

In the business world, you don’t have to look far to see that the number of B2B companies engaged with influencer marketing is growing. As more companies are moving beyond experimentation to conducting pilots, sequential campaigns and always on programs, there is an increasing desire to expand how brands engage with business influencers.

To help B2B marketers solve that problem, I’m going to share a swipe file of sorts of different business influencer campaigns and engagement opportunities. Implementing just a few of these could help a company with a substantial amount of influencer program activity.

Of course just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! As with all effective marketing, it’s important to match up the campaign approach with the criteria for your customers and how they want to engage with influencer/brand content.  Check out the list below and hopefully some good ideas will spark and ignite your 2020 B2B influencer marketing to new levels.

25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign and Engagement Ideas for 2020

1. Conduct a series of video interview with influencers – Pick a theme and topics you want your brand to be influential about, then interview the top experts. The Break Free B2B interview series is a good example of that. The great thing about video is that you can repurpose as a podcast or even as text for social shares and quotes for related blog posts, presentations, reports and newsletters.

2. Engage an Influencer host on a brand podcast@TamaraMcCleary does an amazing job for the SAP Tech Unknown podcast, interviewing other influencers and executives from SAP.

3. Invite Influencers to provide content for an interactive content experience – Of course we’ve been specialized in this form of content collaboration for many years and have numerous examples. The interactive content format is engaging for your audience and also for contributing influencers because it elevates their status and visibility. One of my favorite examples of this is this microsite featuring 10+ influencers and a simulated voice assistant named Penny, who helps you navigate the world of finance, machine learning and AI.

4. Publish a list of top influencers in each industry vertical where you operate – Many companies want to begin developing an influencer program but have no meaningful connections with influencers yet. One of many ways to get on influencers’ radar is to publish a qualitative list of who is leading the field. Then reach out to share the honor followed by an invitation to collaborate. Go beyond one-off lists and make it an annual event like the list we’ve been publishing each year for the past 10 years of women who rock on digital marketing.

5. Add influencer reactions and expertise to a research report – When IT Service Management leader, Cherwell Software released their research report on Work Process Integration and Digital Transformation, they engaged a group of relevant influencers including Dr. Sally Eaves, Tim Crawford and Ray Wang to share their expertise.

6. Enlist influencers as judges in a contest – This is exactly what Alcatel Lucent Enterprise did with their IT Vanguard Awards. Industry influencers were invited to review nominations for IT network and communications professionals. The program created great exposure for the winners, the judges and for ALE, resulting in multiple six figure leads.

7. Engage influencers to interview brand executives either online or in real-time at a conference – The influencer marketing team at SAP engaged multiple influencers to interview SAP executives during the SAPPHIRE conference, an ideal time to connect industry pros with in-house thought leadership like this interview I did with Oliver Betz, General Manager, Innovative Business Solutions at SAP, on innovation.

8. Invite influencers to an event at brand HQ: tours, executive meet and greets, education, social content creation – Adobe does a great job with this kind of B2B influencer activation and hosted 18 industry marketing, design, tech and business influencers to San Jose for a deep dive into topics like CDP, CXM and of course, Adobe’s solutions. The bonus was a fun visit to the company store for Adobe swag.  Here’s a fun video from Ross Quintana documenting the experience.

9. Invite influencers to write a series of articles published on the brand site – Brands that answer buyer questions provide a valuable service. Inviting 3rd party experts to answer those questions through useful content is even more valuable. Keep in mind, in most cases a commitment to writing on a regular basis is a paid engagement with the contributing influencers.

10. Engage influencers to keynote or workshop at your brand’s user conference – Another common form of paid influencer engagement is as a featured speaker at a company event. These engagements can elevate the performance of an event when a talented performer that also has deep industry expertise can inspire the audience.

11. Partner influencers with your customers to interview each other for a web video series – Customer trust in brands is not high but trust in peers and experts is. Creating conversation opportunities between credible industry experts and your clients can inspire truly meaningful dialog that resonates with potential customers.

12. Invite influencers to an event to livestream and document their experience – I have been invited by multiple B2B companies to attend events and share my impressions using whatever media I was comfortable with including Adobe, SAP, IBM, and Oracle. A small number of influencers experiencing a brand event can have a big impact. At SAP’s annual conference, 15 influencers drove 25% of all social media impressions.

B2B Marketing Influencers
13. Invite influencers along with clients and prospects to VIP dinners where your brand presents, sponsors or attends industry events – This is one of my favorite things about attending industry conferences: connecting our clients with top industry influencers. There’s no selling, just an experience and connection that everyone involved remembers – and that top of mind effect is priceless.

14. Create an ebook featuring brand thought leadership accentuated by relevant industry influencer insights – Oracle Dyn created the Cybersecurity Intelligence Report featuring a combination of respected influencers and practitioners as well as an Oracle executive, building credibility by association.

15. Run a webinar or series of webinars featuring an influencer as host or guest and a brand executive – Featuring an industry expert in a webinar is a fairly common influencer activation and the reason is, it works! So why not create a series of webinars to build audience, momentum and a body of content that can be repurposed?

16. Engage influencers to contribute expertise to content that advances a key brand theme – It sounds pretty basic, but I can’t tell you how many B2B brands produce content without any 3rd party credibility. Adobe engaged multiple influencers to provide insights around customer experience management in this interactive infographic in support of the Adobe Summit conference.

17. Feature quotes from a group of influencers for a roundup blog post or landing page – Dell Outlet Small Business added commentary from multiple small business influencers about the value of refurbished computers on this landing page to drive awareness and engagement.

18. Curate quotes from influencer contributions and repurpose them as social shares throughout the year – Modular content means planning repurposing by using templates with influencer interviews and content capture. This makes it easier to create a library of influencer quotes organized by topic for social shares, use in contributed articles, newsletters, blog posts and presentations. Not only does reposting influencer quotes add credibility to brand content, but they also give the influencer ongoing exposure, which they will appreciate.

19. Engage influencers with a blog network, or podcast network to come up with a creative campaign for your brand – The notion of “creator” is most often associated with B2C influencers. But more B2B influencers are adapting and acquiring media creation savvy. Better yet is when influence creators and media publishers bundle themselves together.

20. Invite influencers to an executive meeting or retreat to discuss topics of mutual interest, then publish a summary – Guided discussions amongst industry experts and internal subject matter experts can generate a goldmine of ideas. The Digital Marketing Institute has formed the Global Industry Advisory Champions with representatives from major brands Google, Facebook, IBM, CocaCola, The Economist, LinkedIn and even TopRank Marketing 🙂 to share insights around the state of digital marketing and education. Summaries of conversations are released along with industry research.

21. Engage an influencer to be an Emcee or digital correspondent during a brand conference – A few people I know do this really well. First, Jay Baer and Katie Martell are excellent emcees and influential in their unique ways. Sarah Evans is an amazing digital correspondent that can cover a conference with interviews and commentary to really level up the brand.

22. Make your influencer community available to a publication – 12 influencers including Dion Hinchliffe, Tamara McCleary, and Ronald Van Loon were interviewed by The New Economy publication during the SAPPHIRE conference for this video focused on a key topic of interest to SAP: The Experience Economy.

23. Create a series of blog posts featuring author influencers and their books  – The team at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has published a series of posts honoring top marketing authors that have been well received by their readers and inspiring for authors to share. Even better, is when authors recommend other authors to be featured.

24. Have a tech influencer do an “unboxing video” of a server or other hardware from your tech brand – Many B2C influencer tactics could be cleverly applied to B2B products. Go ahead and search for “server unboxing” on YouTube and you may be surprised at how many there are. Maybe a “haul” video from an office supply store isn’t such a bad idea?

25. Publish a list of the most influential speakers at conferences relevant to your industry – Of course this is something we’ve been doing here on our blog for several years including Content Marketing Influencers / Speakers and B2B Marketing Influencers / Speakers. Publishing influencer lists before the conference can open up conversations while attending the event and complement other outreach afterwards.

BONUS! (Thanks to Debbie Friez @dfriez and Jack Fitzpatrick @fitzJackrick from our Influencer Marketing team)

26. Invite influencers to do software walkthroughs and post them to IGTV, Facebook, and YouTube. They could could also be live-streamed on platforms like Twitch.
27. Host a networking happy hour with influencers and your key customer contacts during a conference or in your city.
28. Co-create a series of podcasts on the influencers channels that include supporting content like blogs, twitter chats/polls and cross-channel amplification.
29. Create an ask-the-expert video series on your brand YouTube channel where influencers join a brand co-host to answer top questions.

While there’s a variety of solid and actionable ideas in this list, it’s really important to lay the groundwork and strategy for an influencer marketing program in terms of understanding what kind of influencers and topics make the most sense for your brand and customers.

Influencers are not magic, but when you develop strong relationships with a relevant group of influencers, the impact on your marketing across the customer lifecycle can seem magical.

If you would like to learn more about influencer marketing for B2B, see these resources and be sure to check out the following list of upcoming conferences where I will be sharing strategies, best practices and case studies featuring B2B brands of all sizes:

February 24-25, 2020 – B2BMX – Scottsdale, AZ
How to Optimize ABM Results with Influencer Marketing

March 19, 2020 – Convergence Summit – Minneapolis, MN
In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience

March 24, 2020 – Pubcon – Miami, FL
B2B Influencer Marketing Workshop

April 20-22, 2020 – Content Tech – San Diego, CA
How to Optimize Content Performance with Influence

April 22-23, 2020 – Content Marketing Conference – Boston, MA
Be Best Answer for Your Customers with SEO and Influence

May 27 -28, 2020 – B2B Ignite USA – Chicago, IL
In Marketing We Trust: How to Build Influence with the C-Suite and on the Street

I hope to see you there!

25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020

B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign Ideas

B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign Ideas

In the business world, you don’t have to look far to see that the number of B2B companies engaged with influencer marketing is growing. As more companies are moving beyond experimentation to conducting pilots, sequential campaigns and always on programs, there is an increasing desire to expand how brands engage with business influencers.

To help B2B marketers solve that problem, I’m going to share a swipe file of sorts of different business influencer campaigns and engagement opportunities. Implementing just a few of these could help a company with a substantial amount of influencer program activity.

Of course just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! As with all effective marketing, it’s important to match up the campaign approach with the criteria for your customers and how they want to engage with influencer/brand content.  Check out the list below and hopefully some good ideas will spark and ignite your 2020 B2B influencer marketing to new levels.

25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign and Engagement Ideas for 2020

1. Conduct a series of video interview with influencers – Pick a theme and topics you want your brand to be influential about, then interview the top experts. The Break Free B2B interview series is a good example of that. The great thing about video is that you can repurpose as a podcast or even as text for social shares and quotes for related blog posts, presentations, reports and newsletters.

2. Engage an Influencer host on a brand podcast@TamaraMcCleary does an amazing job for the SAP Tech Unknown podcast, interviewing other influencers and executives from SAP.

3. Invite Influencers to provide content for an interactive content experience – Of course we’ve been specialized in this form of content collaboration for many years and have numerous examples. The interactive content format is engaging for your audience and also for contributing influencers because it elevates their status and visibility. One of my favorite examples of this is this microsite featuring 10+ influencers and a simulated voice assistant named Penny, who helps you navigate the world of finance, machine learning and AI.

4. Publish a list of top influencers in each industry vertical where you operate – Many companies want to begin developing an influencer program but have no meaningful connections with influencers yet. One of many ways to get on influencers’ radar is to publish a qualitative list of who is leading the field. Then reach out to share the honor followed by an invitation to collaborate. Go beyond one-off lists and make it an annual event like the list we’ve been publishing each year for the past 10 years of women who rock on digital marketing.

5. Add influencer reactions and expertise to a research report – When IT Service Management leader, Cherwell Software released their research report on Work Process Integration and Digital Transformation, they engaged a group of relevant influencers including Dr. Sally Eaves, Tim Crawford and Ray Wang to share their expertise.

6. Enlist influencers as judges in a contest – This is exactly what Alcatel Lucent Enterprise did with their IT Vanguard Awards. Industry influencers were invited to review nominations for IT network and communications professionals. The program created great exposure for the winners, the judges and for ALE, resulting in multiple six figure leads.

7. Engage influencers to interview brand executives either online or in real-time at a conference – The influencer marketing team at SAP engaged multiple influencers to interview SAP executives during the SAPPHIRE conference, an ideal time to connect industry pros with in-house thought leadership like this interview I did with Oliver Betz, General Manager, Innovative Business Solutions at SAP, on innovation.

8. Invite influencers to an event at brand HQ: tours, executive meet and greets, education, social content creation – Adobe does a great job with this kind of B2B influencer activation and hosted 18 industry marketing, design, tech and business influencers to San Jose for a deep dive into topics like CDP, CXM and of course, Adobe’s solutions. The bonus was a fun visit to the company store for Adobe swag.  Here’s a fun video from Ross Quintana documenting the experience.

9. Invite influencers to write a series of articles published on the brand site – Brands that answer buyer questions provide a valuable service. Inviting 3rd party experts to answer those questions through useful content is even more valuable. Keep in mind, in most cases a commitment to writing on a regular basis is a paid engagement with the contributing influencers.

10. Engage influencers to keynote or workshop at your brand’s user conference – Another common form of paid influencer engagement is as a featured speaker at a company event. These engagements can elevate the performance of an event when a talented performer that also has deep industry expertise can inspire the audience.

11. Partner influencers with your customers to interview each other for a web video series – Customer trust in brands is not high but trust in peers and experts is. Creating conversation opportunities between credible industry experts and your clients can inspire truly meaningful dialog that resonates with potential customers.

12. Invite influencers to an event to livestream and document their experience – I have been invited by multiple B2B companies to attend events and share my impressions using whatever media I was comfortable with including Adobe, SAP, IBM, and Oracle. A small number of influencers experiencing a brand event can have a big impact. At SAP’s annual conference, 15 influencers drove 25% of all social media impressions.

B2B Marketing Influencers
13. Invite influencers along with clients and prospects to VIP dinners where your brand presents, sponsors or attends industry events – This is one of my favorite things about attending industry conferences: connecting our clients with top industry influencers. There’s no selling, just an experience and connection that everyone involved remembers – and that top of mind effect is priceless.

14. Create an ebook featuring brand thought leadership accentuated by relevant industry influencer insights – Oracle Dyn created the Cybersecurity Intelligence Report featuring a combination of respected influencers and practitioners as well as an Oracle executive, building credibility by association.

15. Run a webinar or series of webinars featuring an influencer as host or guest and a brand executive – Featuring an industry expert in a webinar is a fairly common influencer activation and the reason is, it works! So why not create a series of webinars to build audience, momentum and a body of content that can be repurposed?

16. Engage influencers to contribute expertise to content that advances a key brand theme – It sounds pretty basic, but I can’t tell you how many B2B brands produce content without any 3rd party credibility. Adobe engaged multiple influencers to provide insights around customer experience management in this interactive infographic in support of the Adobe Summit conference.

17. Feature quotes from a group of influencers for a roundup blog post or landing page – Dell Outlet Small Business added commentary from multiple small business influencers about the value of refurbished computers on this landing page to drive awareness and engagement.

18. Curate quotes from influencer contributions and repurpose them as social shares throughout the year – Modular content means planning repurposing by using templates with influencer interviews and content capture. This makes it easier to create a library of influencer quotes organized by topic for social shares, use in contributed articles, newsletters, blog posts and presentations. Not only does reposting influencer quotes add credibility to brand content, but they also give the influencer ongoing exposure, which they will appreciate.

19. Engage influencers with a blog network, or podcast network to come up with a creative campaign for your brand – The notion of “creator” is most often associated with B2C influencers. But more B2B influencers are adapting and acquiring media creation savvy. Better yet is when influence creators and media publishers bundle themselves together.

20. Invite influencers to an executive meeting or retreat to discuss topics of mutual interest, then publish a summary – Guided discussions amongst industry experts and internal subject matter experts can generate a goldmine of ideas. The Digital Marketing Institute has formed the Global Industry Advisory Champions with representatives from major brands Google, Facebook, IBM, CocaCola, The Economist, LinkedIn and even TopRank Marketing 🙂 to share insights around the state of digital marketing and education. Summaries of conversations are released along with industry research.

21. Engage an influencer to be an Emcee or digital correspondent during a brand conference – A few people I know do this really well. First, Jay Baer and Katie Martell are excellent emcees and influential in their unique ways. Sarah Evans is an amazing digital correspondent that can cover a conference with interviews and commentary to really level up the brand.

22. Make your influencer community available to a publication – 12 influencers including Dion Hinchliffe, Tamara McCleary, and Ronald Van Loon were interviewed by The New Economy publication during the SAPPHIRE conference for this video focused on a key topic of interest to SAP: The Experience Economy.

23. Create a series of blog posts featuring author influencers and their books  – The team at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has published a series of posts honoring top marketing authors that have been well received by their readers and inspiring for authors to share. Even better, is when authors recommend other authors to be featured.

24. Have a tech influencer do an “unboxing video” of a server or other hardware from your tech brand – Many B2C influencer tactics could be cleverly applied to B2B products. Go ahead and search for “server unboxing” on YouTube and you may be surprised at how many there are. Maybe a “haul” video from an office supply store isn’t such a bad idea?

25. Publish a list of the most influential speakers at conferences relevant to your industry – Of course this is something we’ve been doing here on our blog for several years including Content Marketing Influencers / Speakers and B2B Marketing Influencers / Speakers. Publishing influencer lists before the conference can open up conversations while attending the event and complement other outreach afterwards.

BONUS! (Thanks to Debbie Friez @dfriez and Jack Fitzpatrick @fitzJackrick from our Influencer Marketing team)

26. Invite influencers to do software walkthroughs and post them to IGTV, Facebook, and YouTube. They could could also be live-streamed on platforms like Twitch.
27. Host a networking happy hour with influencers and your key customer contacts during a conference or in your city.
28. Co-create a series of podcasts on the influencers channels that include supporting content like blogs, twitter chats/polls and cross-channel amplification.
29. Create an ask-the-expert video series on your brand YouTube channel where influencers join a brand co-host to answer top questions.

While there’s a variety of solid and actionable ideas in this list, it’s really important to lay the groundwork and strategy for an influencer marketing program in terms of understanding what kind of influencers and topics make the most sense for your brand and customers.

Influencers are not magic, but when you develop strong relationships with a relevant group of influencers, the impact on your marketing across the customer lifecycle can seem magical.

If you would like to learn more about influencer marketing for B2B, see these resources and be sure to check out the following list of upcoming conferences where I will be sharing strategies, best practices and case studies featuring B2B brands of all sizes:

February 24-25, 2020 – B2BMX – Scottsdale, AZ
How to Optimize ABM Results with Influencer Marketing

March 19, 2020 – Convergence Summit – Minneapolis, MN
In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience

March 24, 2020 – Pubcon – Miami, FL
B2B Influencer Marketing Workshop

April 20-22, 2020 – Content Tech – San Diego, CA
How to Optimize Content Performance with Influence

April 22-23, 2020 – Content Marketing Conference – Boston, MA
Be Best Answer for Your Customers with SEO and Influence

May 27 -28, 2020 – B2B Ignite USA – Chicago, IL
In Marketing We Trust: How to Build Influence with the C-Suite and on the Street

I hope to see you there!

The post 25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

5 Examples of Remarkable Content Marketing in Action

Mountains and wildflowers image.

Remarkable content marketing is able to inspire us to reach out and try for newfound levels of success, through powerful storytelling and the kind of compelling and relevant information that provides best-answer results.

Here are five recent examples of how this kind of remarkable content marketing wins minds, hearts, and wallets — utilizing tactics that are memorable, well-targeted, and helpful.

#1 — Sigstr’s Customer-Fueled E-book

Sigstr Example Image

Email marketing platform Sigstr prominently incorporated some of its brand customers into a fashion-styled e-book for a recent campaign, a unique twist on a tried-and-true format that garnered the campaign the first-ever B2B Choice Award at B2B Marketing Exchange’s eighth-annual Killer Content Awards — The Finnys — in addition to the event’s customer lifecycle marketing award.

This type of customer-centric content showcases a fun take on a traditional format, leveraging it to boost engagement with potential customers. An interview with two of the people behind the Sigstr campaign, Brad Beutler and Justin Keller, shows how the campaign unfolded.

Only four days after launching the campaign, the e-book quickly topped Sigstr’s view count records for both e-books and case studies, and led more than 50 percent of asset visitors to explore additional Sigstr content, including over 25 percent of traffic sourced from the issue’s selected customers sharing the resource with their social media networks.

Creating a great customer experience from the very beginning takes skill, time, and effort, and our own Joshua Nite has taken a dedicated look at the process, in “How Marketers Can Improve the Customer Experience (And Why They Should Want To).”

Every touch point with a customer or potential customer is an opportunity to enhance the #customerexperience. It’s everyone’s responsibility. – @NiteWrites says to #marketers everywhere Click To Tweet

Building memorable and strong customer experiences is also an important part of successful marketing, and customer service and experience expert Shep Hyken presented his insight on the subject at Social Media Marketing World, and our own Anne Leuman was there to cover his fascinating session, in “How to Use Customer Service as a Marketing Opportunity With Shep Hyken.”

“Even though you compete with your competition, your customers compare you to the best service they ever received from anyone.” @hyken Click To Tweet

View the Sigstr campaign here.

#2 — Oracle’s Influencer Marketing Campaign

Oracle Example Image

Multinational technology company Oracle* built a pilot influencer marketing program featuring blog stories from five internal and seven external influencers, to both expand its thought leadership efforts and build new influencer relationships.

The program was successful in numerous areas, and went on to win top influencer campaign at the 2019 Finnys, using cohesive storytelling and a “Benchmark Yourself” element, to subtly tie-in to certain Oracle engineered systems products.

“B2B tech marketers’ adoption of influencer marketing is expected to grow to 48% by the end of 2019.” @marketingcharts Click To Tweet

Combining internal experts with well-known external thought leaders brought the Oracle campaign over 2,000 social media engagements, more than 134,000 social impressions, and over 4,300 combined blog views.

Building strong B2B influencer relationships is a subject near and dear to our hearts at TopRank Marketing, and driving success using influencer marketing is the subject of several of our recent helpful articles, including the following three:

If you want your content to be great, ask influencers to participate. @LeeOdden #B2BInfluencerMarketing Click To Tweet

View the Oracle campaign here.

#3 — Adobe’s Creative Cloud Multi-Touch Campaign

Adobe Example Image

Adobe* Creative Cloud partnered with the International Design Association (IDA) in a multi-touch campaign that created a series of global one-day events highlighting “diversity and inclusion in design” to unite the design community.

Search-optimized blog posts accompanied hundreds of events which took place worldwide and heavily utilized videos, photos, and quotes from the people behind the content. The campaign showed the power of partnerships, as cross-promotion from the IDA drove massive reach and amplified the varied content through social efforts.

Cutting edge B2B influencer marketing focuses on both online and offline engagements. @konstanze Click To Tweet

Collaborative marketing efforts make sense in many situations, and our team has examined best-practices from the basic how-to’s through the sutler nuances of collaboration with both individuals and businesses, and here are three recent articles exploring the practice:

Always make sure your marketing materials are written in a way that anyone in the organization can understand and identify quickly. @jeannieymullen Click To Tweet

View the Adobe Creative Cloud campaign here.

#4 — PathFactory’s GDPR Wars Design Concept

PathFactory Example

Content insight and activation platform PathFactory used a creative take on a “Star Wars” theme to build a campaign turning the generally dry issue of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance into an entertaining promotion and to boost email opt-ins.

Creativity is an important element in marketing, and PathFactory presented GDPS as a “new hope” for the ubiquitous email inbox, enlisting subscribers to ward off the “dark side” by joining the fight through opting-in.

The fun design and clever copy succeeded, and led to performance 241% greater than average.

“To go from boring to remarkable, marketing doesn’t have to be loud or flashy. Show up daily (consistent), be yourself (authentic), and become a guide (add value).” @sangramvajre Click To Tweet

Augmenting your marketing efforts with the right creative content is covered in detail in the following recent article, to help you strike the right creative balance in your own campaigns:

Click Here to see the Break Free from Boring B2B Guide in Full Screen Mode

View the PathFactory campaign here.

#5 — NBC News Brand Studio’s State of Pay Video Campaign

CNBC Example Image

An example of marketing success from powerful video comes from NBC News Brand Studio and Synchrony Financial, who partnered for a video content series — State of Pay — focusing on thought leadership and innovation.

Video interviews and a variety of supporting digital content including written analysis and stand-up reporting combined to boost engagement rates and greatly expand content reach.

Achieving more than 18,000 page views, successful social media amplification on Twitter and Facebook, and over 9 million impressions, the campaign also saw more than 700,000 video views and engagements.

A recent breakdown of video channels used by marketers shows YouTube as the leading platform, followed by Facebook, as seen in the following graph.

SME Video Channels Chart

The power of video to deliver meaningful brand storytelling is an area we’ve covered in detail, and here are three of our most recent looks at video marketing to get you started:

View the NBC News Brand Studio campaign here.

Remarkable Content Marketing with Best-Answer Results

The content marketing campaigns we’ve seen here from Sigstr, Oracle, Adobe Creative Cloud, PathFactory, and NBC News Brand Studio can serve as helpful examples for our own future content efforts, and we hope that they also encourage you to consider using some of the tactics they’ve implemented in order to be the best answer for your audience.

Whether it’s from the use of influencer marketing, storytelling through video and imagery, powerful design concepts, multi-touch campaigns, or e-books, there’s always plenty to learn from great examples.

It takes time, skill, and sometimes a massive effort to build campaigns such as the five we’ve looked at, which leads some to choose a top marketing agency, such as TopRank Marketing. We recently had the honor of being named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its latest “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”

* Oracle and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients.

Inspiring Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing in Action

B2B Influencer Marketing Examples

B2B Influencer Marketing Examples

While Instagram influencer marketing is expected to hit $8 billion in spend by 2020, the growth trajectory of influencer marketing is not limited to consumer brands.

B2B companies are also realizing the value of collaborating with influential experts for marketing purposes and count the practice as one of the top 4 tactics planned for 2019, according to a study by Spiceworks of B2B tech marketers in North America and Europe.

Many B2B brands are considering engaging influencers for marketing but are not clear on exactly how or what the best practices are. Having worked with B2B brands that range from Dell to SAP to LinkedIn on influencer marketing programs over the past 6 years, I’ve had a chance to dig deep into exactly what makes influencer marketing work for B2B.

To help illustrate how business brands we work with are driving results with influencer marketing, I’ve pulled together ten examples of B2B companies that represent a mix of approaches and performance outcomes.

B2B tech marketers’ adoption of influencer marketing is expected to grow to 48% by the end of 2019. @marketingcharts

Prophix Influencer Marketing Example

1. Prophix – Driving a Message of Innovation and Influence with Interactive Audio

Situation: Prophix is a corporate performance management software solutions company serving the finance industry. They believed that finance leaders have the opportunity to shape the future of business and take a more prominent seat at the leadership table.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will be critical to the innovation of finance, so Prophix wanted to start conversations and answer key questions on the role of AI in the next evolution of finance amongst its target audience.

Solution: To build thought leadership for the brand around AI and ML innovations in finance amongst its audience, experts collaborated to co-create an industry resource.

To add a tech-savvy flavor to the content experience of this resource, a simulated AI personality voice named Penny was created to help users navigate a microsite featuring industry experts. The site was titled, Adapt & Innovate: AI and the Next Evolution of Finance.

The microsite was complemented with a mix of content including promotional motion graphics video, email promotions, landing page, supporting blog content, social content and custom graphics for the contributing influencers to share.

Results: 642% increase in engagement, new relationships with top influencers and numerous conversations amongst the target audience about AI and finance in connection with the Prophix brand.

DivvyHQ Influencer Marketing Example

2. DivvyHQ – Create Thought Leadership & Lead Gen Momentum with Multi-Campaign Influencer Program

Situation: As an award-winning content planning and marketing software company, DivvyHQ wanted to elevate its reputation and more actively engage potential buyers.

Solution: A survey was conducted to surface top challenges and insights around content planning and marketing, sparking a multi-campaign program focused on future-proofing content marketing that included over 30 marketing influencers.

Each of the 5 campaigns focused on content and influencers specific to the topic ranging from the research report to a strategy ebook to a series of video interviews about content planning.

The final campaign repurposed the “best of content” from the first 4 campaigns into an interactive microsite using a Back to the Future theme. Each campaign was supported by blog posts, organic social content, influencer promotion and some paid social.

Results: Each campaign exceeded goals including 300% more downloads of the research report, hitting some KPI goals within a week of publishing, thousands of video views, new relationships with top marketing industry influencers and 140% of one conversion KPI within a week of publishing.

Introhive Influencer Marketing Example

3. Introhive – Improve Lead Quality with Influencer Insights and Research

Situation: The legal industry has been slow to adopt Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, something that Introhive, an automation solutions provider wanted to change.

Solution: With the goals of raising awareness and leads from the legal community, Introhive wanted to engage the audience they were marketing to through an industry survey and insights.

The survey identified the top challenges and Introhive designed a Playbook to solve those problems with a combination of brand insight and expertise from speakers at the industry’s Legal Marketing Association event. During the conference, the contributors shared the playbook and Introhive promoted it using the event hashtag.

Additional pieces of the content mix included 12 blog posts, landing page, organic and influencer social shares, paid social and email promotions.

Results: Improved marketing qualified lead quality, more playbook downloads in the first month than in the entire lifetime of previous reports, nearly 50% of all brand blog content views for the quarter and an 85% increase in new Twitter followers.

Cherwell Software Influencer Marketing Example

4. Cherwell Software – Achieve Thought Leadership, Engagement & Lead Gen Goals with Influence Optimization

Situation: With ambitious objectives to continue its rapid growth, Cherwell Software wanted to increase brand awareness as a leading ITSM software provider and develop a network of IT influencers.

Solution: Using insights gained from research of target accounts, 15 influencers were researched, identified and engaged to co-create content and promotions around next-generation IT Service Management.

The content mix included blog posts, IT Service Management 2020 ebook, landing page and both paid/organic social content for influencers to share.

Results: The ebook was viewed 170% more often than previous assets and shared nearly 2,000 times. Additionally, this one campaign was accountable for 22% of all sales leads for the entire year.

SAP SuccessFactors Influencer Marketing Example

5. SAP SuccessFactors – Increase Performance with a More Sophisticated Influencer Mix

Situation: Wellness programs are common but SAP SuccessFactors wanted to accentuate the importance of employee wellness from a more holistic approach to wellbeing.

Solution: To raise awareness of their health care management suite, SAP SuccessFactors developed a program to share relevant, useful and actionable insights about wellbeing from trusted experts, peers and even one business celebrity.

Just as the best wellness solutions are holistic, so was this approach to partnering with influencers including industry influencers, internal experts, SAP partners and clients.

The content mix included an ebook titled The True Impact of Health and Well-Being featuring 10 influencers, motion graphics, landing page, social content for the brand and influencers to share.

Results: 272% increase over the goal and a 68% conversion rate on the ebook downloads. Influencer shares represented 86% of all ebook views and 69% of the conversions.

Dell Technologies Influencer Marketing Example

6. Dell Technologies – Increase Brand Thought Leadership with Influencer Interview Podcast

Situation: While many companies focus on working with influencers, Dell Technologies wanted to partner with industry influencers to simultaneously create useful content for their customers and increase the influence of their internal experts.

Solution: Dell has developed relationships with a network of influencers including Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr, who host the Dell Luminaries podcast.

Their discussions with technology visionaries from inside Dell and out, putting a human face on technology innovation.

Results: The Dell Luminaries project effectively created a single platform to bring voices from multiple companies under the Dell brand together following a common thread while staying true to their individual expertise and influence.

3M Influencer Marketing Example

7. 3M – Humanize Science with Influencers and a Podcast

Situation: Science can seem out of reach to many and 3M wanted to make the innovations and complexities of science accessible to the everyday person.

Solution: 3M conducted the largest ever science study about global attitudes about science, the State of Science Index research report along with the launch of 3M’s first podcast: Science Champions Podcast.

Hosted by 3M’s Chief Science Advocate, Jayshree Seth, the first season of the podcast featured twenty one science experts and influencers on topics ranging from an introduction to science in everyday life to careers in science.

Results: Outside of creating relationships with science influencers and showcasing an internal influencer, the Science Champions podcast exceeded all expectations for downloads and engagement, resulting in the launch of season two in March 2019.

CMI Influencer Marketing Example

8. Content Marketing Institute – Activate Event Awareness & Engagement with Themed Influencer Content

Situation: There are many choices for marketers to attend industry events and Content Marketing Institute wanted to create broader awareness of its conference and showcase its speakers in a way that tapped their influence and helped them become more influential.

Solution: Many months before the conference, a selection of content marketing speakers were identified and engaged to share their expertise on specific content marketing topics.

With a conference theme of “Game on”, the 36 influential marketing speakers’ contributions were assembled into a 48 page ebook called The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing with a retro video game theme. Each section of the ebook was supported by corresponding animation videos using an 8-bit video game theme featuring game character avatars for each influencer.

The content mix also included 6 long-form interviews, multiple promotional blog posts, email marketing, custom social graphics for the brand and influencers to share, organic and paid social promotion.

Results: A 258% increase in views of the main ebook asset and over 30,000 views of the promotional 8-bit video game interviews.

SAP Leonardo Influencer Marketing Example

9. SAP – Create New Platform Thought Leadership & Credibility with Influencers

Situation: SAP launched its Leonardo platform at the annual SAPPHIRE conference. With an event this large, key announcements can blur in the noise of communications. SAP wanted to launch Leonardo as a transformative technology vision.

Solution: An interactive experience called The Path to Digital Innovation was created showcasing SAP CEO Bill McDermott and 32 top industry influencers sharing insights across transformative technologies including IoT, machine learning, AI, blockchain, analytics, big data and cloud.

Results: 100% of participating influencers shared the Leonardo Path to Digital Innovation content, many of them multiple times. Reach was unprecedented, with over 21 million views of the interactive experience.

Where Does B2B Influencer Marketing Go From Here?

In the research report, Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing by Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, 48% of B2C companies are running ongoing influencer marketing programs vs. only 11% of B2B brands. Nearly half of B2B brands are still in the experimentation stage, according to the study, which was conducted by Traackr and TopRank Marketing.

But this trend is changing and more B2B brands are realizing that while different than B2C, working with influencers in a business to business context represents a significant opportunity to create more credible content that can be promoted to interested buyers by people they trust.

Many of the examples in this article started with customer research and added outside expert commentary in a way that was relevant to both the brand and the audience. This shift in focus from the brand talking about itself towards a more collaborative approach involving external and internal influencers represents a key change successful B2B marketers have realized.

Trends come and go, but the value of trusted sources of information to customers looking for solutions couldn’t be any more timeless.

For more information about how TopRank Marketing works with B2B brands to improve industry awareness, increase influence and community engagement, drive leads and sales by partnering with industry experts, check out the influencer marketing section of our website.

A version of this post originally published on the Digital Marketing Institute website.

The post Inspiring Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing in Action appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


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