The latest edition of Inside Influence: What’s working and what’s not inside the world of B2B Influencer Marketing, features B2B Influencer Marketing “OG”, Amisha Gandhi, VP Influencer Marketing & Communications at SAP. At TopRank Marketing, we’ve had the pleasure of working with Amisha for several years on a variety of influencer marketing programs from the launch of SAP Leonardo to developing a virtual reality experience featuring influencers for use at tradeshows.
In this 6th episode of Inside Influence, I talk with Amisha about the power of how creating mutual value between B2B brands and influencers drives returns across the customer lifecycle. Of course we also hit a few highlights of the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.
In this 6th Episode of Inside Influence, we cover:
The impact of the pandemic on influencer marketing for B2B brands
How influencer marketing fits in the marketing mix
What mutual value creation means for B2B brands and influencers
The difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing
When to pay influencers
Why Always-On influencer marketing is more powerful than campaigns alone
How to win budgets for influencer marketing programs
Where agencies can be most helpful for B2B brands with influencer marketing
Top B2B influencer marketing mistakes
Looking forward to post-pandemic influencer marketing
Check out the full interview podcast here:
Here are a few highlights with the full video interview embedded below.
You know as much as anyone the impact that the pandemic has had on people’s lives and on business. What has the impact been when it comes to B2B influencer marketing?
Amisha: I think (B2B) people are definitely looking at their entire customer journey as now completely digital. I think you see an increase in digital social selling and you see an increase in digital demand gen if it wasn’t already. And with more maturity, many have now made that shift. People are looking at creating more engaging online experiences and virtual experiences now.
Many (B2B marketers) have had to go a hundred percent digital overnight and that just creates a really great opportunity for influencer marketing. @amishagandhi
I think many had to go a hundred percent digital overnight and that just creates a really great opportunity for influencer marketing. When you think about the customer journey, because we’re really trying to create conversations and engagement, now everything has to be done virtually, right? So even live experiences with your influencers, customers, employees, everyone has to be online. I think it just creates that opportunity for us to work with influencers, to manage and make those experiences as valuable as possible.
The research we did for the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report found that B2B marketers are engaging influencers for content that does everything from build brand awareness (84%) to help generate leads (69%). Do you view influencer marketing as something you apply to specific objectives or can it be used more broadly? Or both?
Amisha: I think both, but it depends on what you’re trying to do. Something that we always talk about and we agree on is that influencer marketing, when you’re creating it, should be an ongoing relationship. It’s almost like you want to create a community of influencers around your business. Or if you’re at a large place like SAP, around the topic that you’re really trying to influence and the persona that you’re trying to influence. You really want to think about that long term aspect of it.
Influencers can really help you broadly, but they can also help you at every step of the customer journey. @amishagandhi
These influencers can really help you broadly, but they can also help you at every step of the customer journey. Think of how you can infuse influencers into those motions all the way across the customer journey, so when you do a campaign, you have influencers from awareness all the way down to advocacy.
You’ve said many times that effective influencer marketing is about mutual value creation. What do you mean by that?
Amisha: Sure. There are people who are influencers and that’s their business. But I think there are a lot of influencers, especially in B2B who are developers, who are actual implementers of technology, or they’re in the position of influence like CIO of CFO. Some of them have written books and some of them are academics. It depends, but they have some sort of inspirational guidance out there, right? And people follow them for reason. When you’re working with folks like that, it’s not always a contract. There’s value for them as well.
For example, it could be, you know, we have a large ecosystem partner ecosystem at SAP. Some of our influencers are also partners and some of the partner organizations like to come and do business with us, so we’re making introductions into our ecosystem on behalf of the influencer. They’re actually doing business with us or with our partners.