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Client growth

How influencer marketing can make a difference to your business

Influencers are the latest buzz topic in the field of marketing and communications, and my latest ideation around that is ‘how does it translate from B2C brands to B2B’ and what is most effective. 

Quick dictionary definition- “Influencer marketing” is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organisations, my cynical side is saying it’s basically buying posts from people who have taken years to build up thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers! Case and point Kylie Jenner making $1m per post…! But when it’s comes to marketing a business though, there are tried and tested methods that work. 

Some more background; the levels of influencers are named as follows: Mega: 1 million + followers, Macro: 100,000- 1 million followers, Micro: 10,000- 100,000 followers and Nano: 10,000 or less followers. 

‘Influencer relations’ is different, it’s about building relationships specifically and the purpose isn’t always brand to the influencer, it can be fans, partners, or clients or having banter on twitter with another football fan for example. 

In the world of B2C, PR agencies and departments are wanting influencers to endorse their brands and will pay money for that to happen. Contracts are usually drawn up following an agreed brief, more details below as you read on. 

As I’m interested in how the negotiation works and set-up of brands and instagrammers words, I’ve gone out to some accounts I follow and asked for their opinions and insights. The results were so mixed and the ASA’s rules came up, they have only defined certain aspects of influencer marketing (see link) so a lot is still unclear. The most succinct description communicated was as follows: An #AD was always paid for, but #Gifted and #PR samples are given (free) but in return for content, that content would have to be approved by the brand prior to posting. There’s usually a written brief, key messages and hashtags, photographic style and comments, tags and timing that need to be used and final approval needed. 

Interestingly sometimes, so I’ve been told, brands don’t always like the photos or copy and demand changes or reject the content, even though the influencer has thousands of posts in the same style shown publicly on their feeds. It’s disappointing that fees are being discussed before thorough research is being conducted. 

In the B2B sector, I believe influencer marketing is defined in a variety of ways, yet all publications and articles state how incredibly important it is to every marketing mix and that it should be a big part of every marketing strategy. It’s another channel that needs careful consideration and its own internal discussion and planning. One article I read, defined B2B influencer marketing as ‘an area of marketing that focuses on working with key leaders to drive or showcase a brand message. It is also often said that influencer marketing B2C gets results within 30 days, but B2B can be six to twelve months. 

Some opinions are that the main audience groups for B2B influencer marketing are your clients and your team, whereas others have discussed credible industry experts adding value to your content. Your clients and your employees are two massive ‘influencer’ audiences who can or will speak volumes for you- can they succinctly discuss your business’ values and best case studies? I think that all three of the above audience groups (customers, team and credible industry experts) need to be communicated to clearly in order for them to repeat the messaging to their networks, but for your business to be actually doing influencer marketing – I think one-to-one business to market expert communication – is the definition of B2B influencer marketing. 

I also believe it could be argued that it isn’t a new section of your marketing strategy, and it’s something all businesses are doing anyway but now it’s a topic that needs focus and it will, in time, reward your business. 

The topic can be boiled down to really excellent communication; using word of mouth well and spot-on content marketing to generate buzz. This is something I hope all businesses are currently doing, and it is also something I’m able to help with, I wrote an earlier blog on communication here too. 

Something I learned in my early days of sales is that ‘people buy from people’. I’m Zara Deegan, Founder and Director of EXT MKTG, get in touch for more views and insights into marketing your business or brand. 

References: 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2019/07/02/why-influencer-marketing-is-the-next-hottest-thing-in-b2b-marketing/#29fc224c1192

https://cmo.adobe.com/articles/2019/3/5-tips-for-successful-b2b-influencer-marketing.html

https://www.pressboardmedia.com/the-top-100-instagram-influencers-in-the-world/
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Client growth

Making the right decisions

This article is written at the time of a global pandemic but ‘it’ will not be mentioned again. I also promise not to use the aggravating term ‘new normal’. We are focusing on the positives and acknowledging change happens while being fully respectful of the delicate situation we’re in and of course saddened by the loss of others from recent events.  As B2B marketeers and BDs, we want to help those on the journey of restructuring or repositioning, as like any business, there are tough times and times the ship feels fairly steady. In the life span of a business, there are places you have to turn, times for reflection, time to go back a step or take a big leap forward. These things can cause nauseating doubt for a business owner, lead to sleepless nights and sometimes thoroughly questioning whether the next step is the right one.

Depending on mood or mindset and the size of the necessary change, some will see it from a worst-case point of view but what’s most productive is to objectively analyse the situation and think about the view from your client or end-user. What’s most important is business survival. 

There are a few options on how to analyse the change you are going to make – you could make a decision matrix, list pros and cons, do a SWOT analysis, consult with your board or peers, or do what I do most of the time; rationalise it when explaining it (in my head) to the most critical or negative person you know; what would you say and how would you say it? Ask yourself; what are the alternatives and consequences? Is your assessment thorough? Do you need to gather evidence? Do you need a test audience/test scenario? What/who will be impacted? Can we carry on if we don’t make a change? 

Decision-making is reacting using learned behaviour. I read an article about the neuroscience behind decision-making and the research concluded that there are two hardwired processes for decision-making, one is pattern recognition and the other emotional tagging – in short (you probably guessed) pattern recognition is making assumptions based on previous experiences or ‘patterns’ using 30 different parts of the brain and emotional tagging is where emotional information attaches itself to thoughts and experiences stored in our memories. Why is this helpful? This insight tells us that our judgement is swayed and by trying to be as objective as we can, seeing the decision from different points of view, will hopefully bring us to the right decision.

Once you have chosen the route you are going to take – write down the script. Answer in note form; what are you doing, why are you doing it and what will be the positive and negative implications. This will form the start of your stakeholder communication. Remember stakeholders are clients, staff and investors. More than ever, clear and precise communication is key. Examples of decisions currently taking place – shutting or reducing your physical office, changing sectors you are working in, restructuring your team – all three are tragically happening across all sectors globally, and the method of delivering news is sensitive. Methods of communications include; email, posted letter, emailed letter, social media post, LinkedIn post, website announcement, phone call, text/Whatsapp, video call or Slack/Microsoft Teams message. Faxes are definitely over these days, right? You need to keep on message but tailor to suit the right audience. More on this in my next article and if you would like to hear more from me, get in touch via the Contact button.