According to a survey by TopRank Marketing, 78% of B2B marketers say that influencer marketing is effective, even with small campaigns. And we know that B2B buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service if it has been recommended by an industry influencer.
And yet, influencer marketing is still a challenge and a mystery to many brands. From finding influencers to measuring results, companies report significant challenges.
Why is influencer marketing such a big deal for B2B brands? Where are they going wrong, and how can they achieve and measure success?
That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.
Welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building… oh, and you get to learn too! Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy – with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.
Listen, as B2B CMOs and marketing executives, we have a real challenge facing us. A few years ago at a conference it was said that, “Empathy with customer needs and understanding the questions they have during the journey from awareness to purchase is essential for creating valuable content. Content Marketing must not only inform, but also engage and even entertain to create valuable experiences between customers and brand information.
How are we supposed to empathize, understand, inform, engage AND entertain?
That’s what influencers excel at, and that’s why Lee Odden, who made that statement, is here to help us.
In 2001, Lee co-founded the TopRank Marketing agency which has become the top B2B marketing resource, regularly ranking as one of the most influential marketing blogs on the web by Content Marketing Institute, Ad Age, and more.
On top of leading influencer marketing campaigns for major brands like LinkedIn, Lee is an incredible B2B influencer himself and someone I’ve admired for years as a global speaker, prolific blogger, and author of the book, “Optimize.” He is, without a doubt, one of the foremost experts on B2B influencer marketing, and you know I couldn’t wait to pick his brain.
Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to Lee Odden about:
♉️ Why influencer marketing is such a game changer for B2B brands
♉️ How to find and nurture great B2B influencers
♉️ How to measure the ROI of influencer marketing initiatives
Learn more about Lee Odden
Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode
- Top Rank Marketing
- Influencer Marketing Statistics
- Influencer Incubator program to nurture up-and-coming influencers
- Subscribe to the show calendar: agorapulse.com/calendar
- Learn more about Agorapulse with a free demo
Full Notes & Transcript:
Why So Many Brands Fail At B2B Influencer Marketing with Lee Odden[00:00:00] Mike Allton: According to a survey by Top Rank Marketing, 78% of B2B marketers say that influencer marketing is effective even with small campaigns. And we know that B2B buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service if it’s been recommended by an industry influencer. And yet, influencer marketing is still a challenge and to mystery to many brands from finding influencers to measuring results.
Companies report significant. Challenges. Why is influencer marketing such a big deal for B2B brands? Why are they going wrong and how can they achieve and measure success? That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.
is partnership unpacked your go-to guide to growing your. Through partnerships quickly. I’m your host, Mike Alton, and each episode unpacks the winning strategies and latest trends from influencer marketing to brand partnerships and ideas that you can apply your own business to grow exponentially.
And now, The rest of today’s
welcome back to Partnership on pk. Selfishly used this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building. Oh, and you get to learn, too. Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway.
Every episode from partnership experts in the industry. Now listen. As B2B CMOs and marketing executives, we have a real challenge facing us. A few years ago at a conference, it was said that empathy with customer needs and understanding the questions they have during the journey from awareness to purchase is essential for creating.
Content. Content marketing must not only inform, but also engage and even entertain to create valuable experiences between customers and brand information. How are we supposed to empathize, understand, inform, engage, and entertain? That’s what influencers excel at and that’s why Leo Odin who made that statement is here to help us.
In 2001, Lee co-founded the. Rank Marketing Agency, which has become the top B2B marketing resource, regularly ranking as one of the most influential marketing Bos on the web by Content Marketing Institute at Age and more on top of leading influencer marketing campaigns for major brands like SAP P.
These in incredible B2B influencer himself and someone I’ve admired for years as a global speaker, prolific blogger and author of the. Optimize. He is, without a doubt, one of the foremost experts on B2B influencer marketing, and you know, I can’t wait to pick his brain. Lee, welcome to the show.[00:02:46] Lee Odden: Wow, that’s quite an intro.
It’s great to see you, even though we just saw each other in person. This is a second. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This, it’s great to see you again. Awesome. Thank you.[00:02:55] Mike Allton: Well, We’ve known each other for years, and I have to say, I’ve always admired how you and your firm approaches influencer marketing, particularly when it comes to major industry events.
I mean, you go out of your way to shine a light on key speakers and influencers for events like content marketing world, which in turn shines a light on you and the relationships you’re fostering with those speakers and influencers. I’d love to hear how you actually got started in influencer marketing[00:03:22] Lee Odden: way back when was new into the marketing space and you know, we’re trying to find as a fledgling agency how to get our message out and I started to notice how other people were creating content and doing other things to become credible.
They were driving conversations in the industry. People were citing them, mentioning them when they talked, everyone listened and I took note. Was being done, and I started to do this for myself. I started blogging, I started going to conferences and being active and started to notice this sort of influence of attraction effect in that, you know, a lot of customers were coming to us instead of us having to go out and chase for customers.
And why? Because the content they consume made them feel like they knew who we were and know me as a person. And before we even. And that was a very powerful thing. And so we started implementing that as a campaign strategy, as a marketing strategy for our agency to develop relationships with other influencers.
And eventually B2B brands started to come to us. The vast majority of customers we have have come to us asking to do the things that we’re already doing for ourselves or things that they heard about with other agencies. So we started doing some influencer engagement with, uh, content Marketing Institute to promote the Content Marketing World Conference and.
Dell wanted to publish the Forbes of the IT industry and so they wanted engaged us to, you know, recruit some influencers and start writing for them. And fast forward, we’ve celebrated nine years of doing work for LinkedIn a lot, running an influencer program there and doing. Influencer programs for a lot of other B2B tech brands, all the way from Adobe to Oracle and, and so forth.[00:05:02] Mike Allton: That’s fascinating. I I love hearing that. I, I like your approach to blogging, cuz of course I, I’ve seen the same thing, right? Having a writer for almost a decade now, or over a decade. I’ve always tried to write the way that I speak so when people meet me, they feel like they know me cuz they’ve, they’ve read my work.
So I, I’ve definitely experienced the same, you know, kind of phenomenon that you have. But I wanna. Trying to dig into this concept of influencer marketing for brands, cuz you mentioned once that it’s a game changer for brands. Why do you think that is?[00:05:34] Lee Odden: You cited, I think, some research that we had done, which folks can find at 2022 dot influencer marketing report.com.
It’s un gated. Just go, go take a look. But one of the really interesting things we’ve found in that research, this is the second time we’ve done that report, is over 80% considered. So those who are actually running influencer programs B2B brands, 86% said they considered the efforts successful. But I also thought it was really interesting that a third of those marketers said that.
Their influencer marketing programs were a direct contribution to sales and revenue. So that’s pretty, pretty compelling. Right? And but the thing is, is we’ve all heard a lot, you know, the adage that people don’t trust advertising. They don’t trust brands. And well, who do they trust? They trust people that they know.
They trust peers. They trust industry experts that they follow. And here’s the thing. In a time, like right now where there’s some economic uncertainty, a lot of brands are gonna pull back on their marketing budgets and they’re gonna take what’s left and they’re gonna focus it on how can we drive revenue, right?
End of funnel types of content. So when people start doing that, and some already have, what kind of experience is that? Right? If it, it’s gonna lead. Even more distrust in advertising if that’s the only kind of thing that’s out there. So people are going to increasingly look for trusted sources of information, cuz they are still going to be buying things.
They’re gonna be buying software, they’re gonna be buying hardware, they’re gonna be buying solutions in the B2B space, and the gap that exists there can be filled. By working with industry experts cuz the people they are paying attention to are those people creating utility and useful content in the industry.
And if brands can create relationships with people that have the attention and trust of the audiences that the brand is trying to reach and that are probably ignoring their ads, that’s a big game changer.[00:07:33] Mike Allton: So it really boils down to being able to establish no, like and trust. Sure. With your target audience, with an influencer as, as the proxy for the brand.
And we’re talking about it from this B2B perspective, but finding influencers, finding B2B influencers is certainly more challenging than b2c. How would you recommend brands go about actually finding and qualifying influencers for the kind of work that you’re talking about?[00:07:58] Lee Odden: So there are levels of sophistication to everything you.
And a lot of people superficially understand how to work with influencers, and they think that, you know, there’s one kind of influencer, someone who’s well known, and so a lot of executives think, oh, I know who the top players are in our industry. Let’s just go get them. Well, the problem with that is that in terms of identification and qualification of who’s the right influencer for you, how are you going to work with them?
What are your expectations? Are you trying to be known for this or that? What topics do your customers care about? So data is really, really important. It’s an important player when you’re trying to identify the right influencers for what it is that you’re trying to do. So you could go to the C-suite and say, yeah, who are the top players?
And yeah, you can have those famous names associated with a campaign. And then the campaign doesn’t do well because no one is used to hearing. That famous person talk about that brand or that solution in that particular way. So we look for three data points out of many to identify the right kind of influencers.
And it all starts with the topic again, that you’re trying to be influential about something that your customers care about, something relevant to the campaign or whatever it is that you are doing. And with that topic in mind, Go to a platform of some kind that pulls data from the social web usually, but also from blogs and other places, and helps us understand, number one, who’s the most relevant for that topic?
How do they self-identify? And then also what kind of content are they publishing that is relevant to the topic you want to be known for? And the second thing would be resonance. To what degree does that topic published by that person resonate with their audience? Does their audience. Engage with content around that topic, published by that person.
And then the third thing we’re looking for is reach. We’re looking for network size and the right kind of network. It’s not the first thing. And a lot of people fail by only looking for the most popular people. And if no one’s listening to those popular or, and no one’s listening to that popular person around the topic you want to be known for, then it’s kind of a, it’s a wash, right?
So relevance, topical relevance, residents of that topic amongst the audience. And then of course, we want to find people that have the right size or the right kind of audience that makes sense. There are other characteristics we look for. We wanna look for someone who’s actually publishing. We wanna look and what kind of content are they publishing?
Where are they publishing at? What cadence do they promote things. A big mistake people make is that they’ll pick someone who’s influential, but they don’t tend to advocate for anyone. So when they do start to advocate for your brand, it doesn’t resonate with the audience. And we look for people who are brands safe, so they don’t go off the rails and talk about things that really go off the reservation, as it were, to, in terms of political things or toxic things.
They don’t get crazy with some of the things that they’re saying. And you know, there’s gotta be values alignment and that sort of thing. And. Are they persuasive? Do they have charisma? And this is something that isn’t as often, uh, isn’t as common in the B2B space as in the consumer space. You have a lot of people who are influential, but they’re not necessarily comfortable behaving as an influencer, right?
So we take all these things into account as we identify and qualify who’s the right match for brand for.[00:11:25] Mike Allton: First, I just wanna underline that you spent a significant amount of time outlining all these different factors that need to be considered before a brand starts working with an influencer. And for those of you listening, I just wanna stress, there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into thinking about.
Specific influencer, specific influencers, if you’re gonna do it right, right. We have to create that brand fit, and there’s a lot that can go into that. So give yourself time, give yourself space to start looking at a lot of different influencers at once, so to begin to work with several of them. And some of them may pan out in some of them.
Won’t. And then you also talked about the charisma value of a B2B influencer, and that’s such an interesting point. I’ve never really thought about it that way, but it’s true, right? B2C influencers are a little more mainstream. We’re a little more used to seeing them in our feed on Instagram and and so on.
So we kind of know what they look like and they understand what they’re supposed to look like, how they’re supposed to act a B2B influencer to your. May not be in the position of thinking of themselves as an influencer. They might not have contracts, they might not have, like you said, that history of espousing for a particular brand or product.
So that’s something to be mindful of. Another thing that I’d love to talk to you about though is when it comes to. The actual campaigns and the courting of the influencers. You’ve talked about creating an influencer experience before. Can you break that apart for a little bit and what are the benefits of creating an influencer experience and what does that actually look like in your experience?[00:12:58] Lee Odden: So there’s a lot of conversation in our industry, in the marketing industry about customer experience for quite a while now. And increasingly there’s even conversation about the importance of employee experience, right? And that translates to any human interaction. People, you know, want meaningful experiences with brands and a lot of folks will drop to, okay, well let’s send the influencers a goodie bag, or let’s have a V I P dinner or, uh, or a happy hour or something like that.
And that satisfies us creating the experience. Well, it’s, it’s a part of it. Sure, sure. But every communication. That you have with an influencer is part of the experience you’re creating. Everything from how relevant your pitch is, how thoughtful your pitch is to try to win them. If a brand doesn’t have a relationship with an influencer, for example, and has never really talked about the brand, and then the brand goes after that influencer and says, Hey, we’re important, and we think you’d be a.
Addition to our campaign, please send us 250 words by tomorrow end of day. And that’s, there’s just gonna be deleted. And I get, I get those. A lot of people get those. It’s just sort of like a one-off type of thing. So, Being thoughtful, being relevant in the way you romance an influencer. Even if you have money to spend, it’s still part of the experience is showing that you’re relevant.
Now, in a time like this, people might think, well, money is what rules. Paying influencers is all you need to do to win them on your side. But the experience really is a big factor because a lot of these folks, they’re not a professional influencer that in a B2B space, there are not that many professional influencers.
This isn’t the only thing they do. They’ve got a day job, right? And so, you know, getting paid to do something for a brand as an influencer isn’t the always the most important thing to them, how they’re treated. For example, if you reach out to an influencer and you say you’re special. And we’d like to invite you to be a part of something that we can make together the better our industry, then treat them special.
Don’t just treat them as a transaction, as a commodity. And, and this happens a lot. So the influencer experience goes, includes everything from how you approach them. It’s thoughtful, it’s relevant, it’s timely. You’ve done your homework about. You found an intersection of what they’re doing, what content they’re creating that intersects with interests of your brand and of your customers.
And there’s a very relevant and compelling reason why you should po potentially work together. And you know, there are the logistical communications that happen. Like, here are the very clear things that we’re asking you to do. Here’s the money. Or if there’s not money, that’s okay too. Here’s the. Pure examples.
Here’s feedback on the thing you gave us. Here’s a thank you for working with us. A lot of these things are oftentimes missing, and so ultimately creating a great experience such that once the influencer is done engaging with your brand, they’re still talking about you. The organic advocacy of you continues to happen.
Well, All happens because of the experience that you’ve created for them.[00:16:19] Mike Allton: There’s a fun analogy that was in the news this week from the N F L of all places where they pulled all the N F NFL players and asked them about where they were working, the teams that they were working, right? They asked the N F NFL players, what do you think about the teams that’s employing you and paying you?
And we would all imagine, kind of like you said about influencers. The N F L players are just in it for the money. They get a big fat paycheck or what do they care? Right. Well, they had some very interesting opinions and they found that your Minnesota Vikings were the number one organization to work for.
And they’re talking then about, like you said, you know, contract handling, you know how the players are treated, the locker rooms. These are things that as a. We wouldn’t see. Mm-hmm. But it makes that organization more enticing, more comfortable for the influencer, in this case, the N F L player to work for and potentially perform better.
Now, we’ll may see, we may see in the years to come what the R o ROI was for the Vikings and some of the other organizations who’ve invested in their infrastructure. They might find it easier to bring in higher paying talent, higher performing talent, younger talent. From an influencer marketing perspective, how are you seeing brands successfully measure the ROI from everything they’re investing in?
Influencers?[00:17:35] Lee Odden: Well, obviously with, or maybe not. Obviously, you know, when you’re working with influencers, you’re giving them track URLs to the content that they partnered with you to make. And with that, you’ll be able to identify whether they published, how often they published, what kind of reaction there was to what they published.
And then in some cases, if it’s the kind of campaign that has a, a, a form fill or something like that, you can measure all the way to that point and then maybe even to revenue if it’s that, that sort of, uh, initiative, almost all of the, uh, influencer engage. Result in content. So in terms of measuring ROI of an influencer program, and, and again, in our case, content is what we’re doing, content is what we’re looking for.
All the metrics you would have associated with a content marketing program would be valid. So, you know, we’re trying to look at attract metrics, you know, to what. Did we reach the audience we were after? Engage metrics, uh, the degree to which people consume the content and interact with it. And then conversion metrics.
Again, anything related to a form fill. So whether it’s a download, a trial subscription, an inquiry, or even a sales contact, we’ll be able to associate. With that particular influencer program for a campaign that’s designed, and I know a lot of people might be thinking right now, okay, influencers might be a great way for us to generate some revenue.
It’s like, well, here’s the thing. If you have a campaign that’s designed to generate revenue, it’s gotta. It’s probably gonna be most successful if it involves influencers that you’ve already been working with for a while, that you’ve already, your community is already used to hearing from those influencers.
Talk about your brand for a while. So there’s familiarity there in that connection and. They’ve gotta be the kind of folks that provide that confidence around decision making, that confidence around that one solution is better than another. They might be practitioners as opposed to what we call brand individuals.
People who simply pontificate write books, do keynote speeches and all that sort of thing. There’s value in that, don’t get me wrong, but those folks don’t, individuals don’t te necessarily tend to inspire people to spend money. So what my point there is, is, Your expectations and your intent with the marketing will of course drive the kinds of ways in which you’ll measure roi, but with influencers, and if you’re outputting content, you’ve got all the stuff you’re used to.
But then on top of that, you do have community engagement sorts of metrics and anything associated with those tracked URLs you give them that you can measure as well.[00:20:10] Mike Allton: This is fascinating and I love how focused you are on utilizing the influencers and partnering with the influencers to create content.
Folks, we’re talking to Leo and about B2B influencer marketing and how to measure your ROI from those activities. Now, let’s hear from our CMO and Gore Pulse, and important it is to measure the ROI from your organic social media activity as well.
It’s the arc of triumph. Can you imagine if you’re in charge, if you’re the c.
Of marketing Paris, what are your main channels? The arc of Triumph. There’s the Eiffel Tower, there’s the Louv. Those are your channels you’re gonna use to drive tourism dollars in. Okay, now, but you’re not the CMO of Paris. In fact, you’re the CMO of your company product service. So what are your main channels?
So I’m gonna guess there are things like paper click, maybe Trade Joe’s events, maybe content. Those are all pretty predictable, right? Let me ask you this question. Are you treating social media as a main channel? By the way, only 1.8% of you today measure social media and can prove an ROI in that investment.
HubSpot and Gartner say, social media’s the number one channel to invest in this year. Are you doing it? If not, I can tell you why you’re not doing it. Because you don’t have the tools, you don’t have the mentality, and that’s okay. We’ve got you covered. You changed the mentality. We’ll give you the tour four.
Tracks all the ROI for you. One place to manage all your social media activity, your number one channel, change your success. Treat social media as a channel one CMO to another. My name is Daryl. I’m with the Agora Pulse. I’ll talk to you soon.
All right, we’re talking influencer marketing with Lee, and we’ve been talking about essentially paid influencers outside, external influencers, people who have established themselves outside of the company brand. But what about employees? What about employee advocacy Are internal influencers? That’s important.
To B2B brands.[00:22:08] Lee Odden: They absolutely are. Especially if we get to take trips to Paris and talk in front of the Archie room. That, that would be fantastic. So, you know, next time I go there, I’ll have to make, make sure I take some video. You’re right, it’s, it is increasingly important for brands to invest in elevating the influence.
Of the brand, not just through external experts, but also through internal folks. There are key opinion leaders, subject matter experts. Clearly they’re executives, people who are already influential to varying degrees inside the organization. There’s then an opportunity to tap that influence and even grow the influence of those individuals and.
In that research I mentioned before, we found that 63% of B2B brands are already working with executives to grow their thought leadership and influence. And 65% said that effort was successful, not just helping the executive be influential. That wasn’t the point. 65% said that their work with executives to help them become influential was affected at making the brand.
More influential. And so I think that’s a pretty important point there because a lot of folks think, well, if I have this superstar employee become even more influential, then they’re gonna go to another brand. Or if they leave, we lose that influence. It’s like, well then you’re doing it wrong. And when we found, and we work with executives through social content and that sort of thing, we’re also partnering them.
People that make sense as an influencer outside the organization. We do that for a couple of reasons. One, it’s content collaborations in which we, you know, if we look at b2c, there are content collab, they’re co-marketing efforts all over the place. Well, this makes sense in content collaborations through social media and, and, and, and B2B influence as well.
But also we’re looking to develop relationships. I, I can’t tell you how many times our executive, our B2B brand executive clients have said, I’ve. Formed a professional personal relationship with the influencers that you’re connecting me with, and we’re doing these collabs with. That goes on beyond, you know, the campaign if, if you will.
The other thing is, is by helping executives become more influential on topics that matter, not only to the business and to their customers, but also to the sales team has. Proven some interesting roi. As an example, we’ll reach out on behalf of the executive to interact with people that might be on an upcoming sales call, right?
And to create some social engagement. So we’ll pick an influential executive or someone we’re working on to become more influential and create some connection, some inter social interactions with them and other people at Prospect Brands. And so when the time comes from the have that sales call, there’s this familiarity.
And that has accelerated outcomes from some of the sales conversations. So there’s a lot of different dimensions to it. The point is, is that you’re organized, that you’re focused, and that you have a, a reason for doing these things, not just making someone’s f. Fans, friends and follower accounts go up, but that you are meaningfully, topically working with individuals in the organization to accentuate how they’re already well-known or influential, partnering them with external influencers, and that raises the influence of the brand.[00:25:24] Mike Allton: That makes so much sense. It’s a lot of what we’ve been doing at a Gore ball without even necessarily articulating it the way that you just did. I mean, we saw Daryl in the video. Yes, we, we flew him out to Paris. He was already an influencer before we hired him. That was one of the reasons why we hired him as C M O.
He was very influential on LinkedIn in the sales and revenue world. We bringing him over as a C to help us. Uplift the entire organization and frankly and transparently, this entire podcast is the same thing, right? This is me, this is my podcast, but this is all supported by a Agora Pulse. So this is me elevating my influence in the partnership and influence marketing world, which helps me, and it helps the Agora pulse.
But earlier we talked about brands making the mistake of targeting the wrong influencers, going after people who were very popular, but necessarily truly influential to their target audience. Doing their due diligence and, and creating a pitch that’s really unique and thoughtful and, and, you know, respective of the influencer’s time.
How else are brands failing at influencer marketing?[00:26:23] Lee Odden: Well, imagine a situation like this. You’re standing on the street and someone comes up to you and says, would you like to get married? So, so what does that mean? Uh, the lack of romance, you know, again, these are, the top people are high in demand. They’re very, very busy.
They have a lot of options available to them. Pitching them to close them on an engagement in one email or one conversation is really. Simply unrealistic. So romance really plays a factor. That means getting on their radar, saying hi, engaging on social, following ’em on LinkedIn and Twitter, interacting with their content, adding something of value from a, a res reply, or retweet or re-share of their content.
If you get to see them in person, that’s even better. That’s great. If you see them speak, walk up, say hi, how’s it going? I know this is something we’ve done. It’s a science, right? You know, it’s like if we see someone who’s an influencer or that, that we wanna engage with, sometimes we’ll, uh, live, blog their presentation.
Now, no one’s writing blogs at conferences anymore, but we do. Or we’ll live, tweet their presentation. So obviously you get on people’s radar if you give them exposure. So lead bearing gift. Right. The gifts aren’t just gratuitous compliments, but highly relevant and researched comments about something that you can tell is very important to them, and how that is a relevant conversation to what you’re trying to do as a brand.
Another, uh, a fail is dictating exactly what they’re supposed to do with no room for creativity. This, this makes no sense. Um, if the influencer is also a creator. And they have media creations savvy, they’re probably gonna know what resonates with their audience a heck of a lot better than you do as a brand.
So while you know you might have some specs or guidelines or something you might wanna share with them, you’re really gonna get the most value if you tap into the power and expertise of that influencers creativity. Another fail is not involving the influencer at all in content creation and then pitching them on promoting that content.
I think a lot of people undo understand this, but a lot of people don’t, and so they’ll go to an influencer and say, Hey, we just published this white paper. Would you help us promote it? Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But I tell you what, if you include that influencer in the report itself, if you ask them to share a quote in a reaction to a statistic or something like that, if you ask somebody part of an advisory group that’s helping formulate the survey questions, anything to involve them in the content creation, they.
Far more inspired to help you promote that content. People who’ve had a hand in making something are gonna be inspired to help make it successful. So, being transactional, mechanical, or I like to say often, uh, soulless in your communications with influencers, uh, telling they’re special and then treating them like a commodity.
These are all fails and there are many more. I actually did a post about this. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. Right. 50 Ways to Fail Influencer Engagement You Can Find On Top Rank Blog.[00:29:32] Mike Allton: Cool. And I love how many times you talked about how important that connection to the influencer is, how they’re not just proposing marriage right from the start.
Right. So you’ve kind of already answered this question, but I do wanna ask cause I love asking this question. How important are relationships when it comes to influencer market?[00:29:52] Lee Odden: I love to say that influencer marketing is a relationship business, right? It’s not a transactional business. And certainly there are a growing number of professional influencers in the B2B space that you can engage, like you’re doing an ad buy, but there are not very many.
I mean, it’s gonna be the minority where. You know, you fill out an insertion order and they create very specifically defined content that they publish on their distribution channels. Whether it’s a blog or a podcast or mailing list or, or whatever, right? So that’s gonna be the minority that is growing though.
But relationships are key, even in those cases because you wanna do business with something you don’t feel good about. Do you wanna do business? Do you wanna go the extra effort? You know, with a brand that you don’t feel good about. So feeling good about a brand that you’re working with comes from someone actually investing in the relationship.
So they’re thoughtful, as I’ve mentioned, but they’re also empathetic. They’re good listeners. They make an effort to understand who you are and what’s important to you, and then how that matters to the thing the brand wants to do. So, The effort that an influencer? Well, whether an influencer says yes to you again in a campaign pitch is dependent on the relationship that they’ve already built with you.
The amount of work they’re gonna put into content that they create, the enthusiasm with which they’re going to promote the content that they. Worked with you to create the organic advocacy that happens long after the campaign has ended. All those things are gonna be dependent on the relationship, and here’s a very important one, and that is when a dissenter starts to target your company, says things about your brand, maybe they’re not true.
And the degree to which influencers come to your defense organically without being asked at all is dependent on the relationship you have with them. So people need to, if they wanna be successful at influencer marketing in the B2B space, I’d say invest in the relationships with people and create a c.
And that means always on ongoing effort. It doesn’t mean a lot of effort, but it does mean a persistent effort, just like any other kind of relationship. It requires care and feeding. Think about what kind of effort you can put forth in the power. Of having a whole community of the most important people in your industry there to work with you whenever you ask there to defend you, when there’s defending to be done and there to be a partner with you and even suggest ways in which you can work together in the future that you didn’t even think of.
Think of how powerful that would be. That’s all gonna be fueled. Relationship.[00:32:36] Mike Allton: Such a powerful answer. And you touched on the importance of organic advocacy and organic defense, which is fantastic. And you even brought in this concept of community as a mote to protect the whole brand and, and that applies influencers, employees, and your customers.
Fantastic. Lee, this has been amazing and such an important and informative interview. Can you tell folks where to connect with and learn more about you?[00:33:01] Lee Odden: Sure. Well, you can certainly find me on, on the socials, l e e. D d e N. So that’s on LinkedIn and Twitter especially, even Instagram. You wanna see photos of me running or eating ice cream or whatever.
And certainly I would invite folks to take a email@example.com, which is my agency, and that’s where our blog is. Our blog has been live since late 2003. So for a long, long time, we’ve been publishing a lot of really useful content around myriad B2B marketing topics, especially B2B influencer marketing.
And then you can get a, a copy of the report at 2022 dot influencer marketing report.com.[00:33:39] Mike Allton: Awesome. And that’s all we’ve got for today. Friends. Thank you so much for tuning in. Don’t forget to visit the Partnership Unpacked podcast on Apple and leave us. We’d love to know what you think. Until next
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