Scrow: A conjunction of “scale” and “grow”, which is a word I made up to talk about the value of technology when it comes to ramping up the impact of B2B influencer marketing.
When B2B marketers think about how to “scrow” the success of their influencer marketing, they often start by looking beyond spreadsheets from transactional to more relationship driven influencer models. To support these efforts they often seek influencer marketing platforms.
There’s a lot to uncover when it comes to understanding what role technology plays in identifying, engaging, implementing and measuring influencer collaborations. Lucky for us, in this 7th episode of Inside Influence, we have Pierre-Loïc Assayag, CEO and Founder at Traackr to share his experiences plus a few relevant statistics from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report about how B2B marketers are using technology (or not) for their influencer marketing programs.
In this 7th episode of Inside Influence, Pierre-Loic and I talk about:
- Influencer Marketing in 2008 and 2021
- The business case for pandemic era B2B influencer marketing
- Crawl, walk, run options for influencer marketing software
- Influencer Marketing Success: Is it the software or Marketing technology?
- Skills needed to maximize influencer marketing platform ROI
- How influencer marketing software enables Always-On influencer engagement
- New updates to Traackr
- The future of influencer marketing tech and martech integration
- How B2B brands can justify dedicated internal influencer marketing leaders
Here are a few highlights on those topics with the full video interview embedded below.
What would you say the business case is for B2B brands engaging in influencer marketing in our current environment?
Pierre-Loic: So first and foremost, I’d say, “what else you got?” If you look at the tools available to a B2B marketer and you apply them in the context of a pandemic where people are not allowed to travel to go to events, whether they’re small venues or big venues, where just a whole bunch of other offline activities that we use to perform on a regular basis are just gone, those tools are not available anymore. So, in many ways what you are left with are the digital tools. The thing that has historically worked is influence marketing. In there I would include things like PR and analyst relations too, because they’re all versions of influencer marketing. And your own content.
You need a community of people that are there to both amplify (your voice) and compliment it. That’s influencer marketing. @pierreloic
In other words, what do you need to succeed? You need your voice and that voice to have a personality, to have a message that you give to communicate. And you need a community of people that are there to both amplify it and compliment it. That’s influencer marketing.
The pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies…really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results. @pierreloic
There’s not been a better time for influencer marketing to strive. If anything, the pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies that are B2B and B2C, I find personally extremely helpful because it really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results. It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad that we’re here from that vantage point.
What are some of the major trends you’re seeing with B2B brands in how they are evolving the use of influencer marketing?
Pierre-Loic: I’d say 2020 and the coronavirus crisis was a proxy for things that were already on the way that have really accelerated.
We’ve seen longer-term partnerships being formed between influencers and brands a lot more than we did before. @pierreloic
The first one is the move from transactional tactical influencer marketing to relational and more long-standing relationships. We’ve seen longer-term partnerships being formed between influencers and brands a lot more than we did before. There’s a lot less focus on just purely campaigns. That’s one trend that was there before, but it’s really been put into focus.
One that really transcends influencer marketing is this idea of values driven purchases. In the B2C world it’s happened a lot for some time now. You’ve seen the Nike ads from two years ago with Kapernick. But now you have a lot of brands that have started standing up for something. In the B2C world it’s a trend that has accelerated, but was there before. For B2B it’s somewhat new.
Some of the social movements in 2020 have really put an emphasis on the notion of brand purpose and how important that is to guide their decision, to interact with employees, partners, influencers, etc. That trend is also touching on influencer marketing because the only way it works is if it is received as being authentic for your community. The way you can get that seal of endorsement is through your community of influencers.
Our research found that 50% of the most successful marketers use influencer marketing software vs. just 25% of the least successful. Is this about influencer marketing software by itself or is it more about the overall ability of a company to use technology in an integrated marketing mix?
Pierre-Loic: I think you need to have technology in order to harness the amount of data that you need and to mix it with your other data sets in order to figure out your best practices. We’ve been advocating data driven, influencer marketing for just about a decade now. It’s really important that companies start immersing themselves in the richness of the data in order to learn their best practices.
I’m genuinely curious about the other 50%, if they don’t have access to this. I don’t know how you access it manually. That said, I’m not sure that it’s something special about influencer marketing software. I think it has more to do with a relationship between a company and their use of technology and marketing technology.
At the end of the day, success at scale only happens when you have a piece of software that powers your influencer marketing, that you can connect with your other data sets. @pierreloic
At the end of the day, success at scale only happens when you have a piece of software that powers your influencer marketing, that you can connect with your other data sets on the CRM side, etc. It’s true of every level. It’s true for reporting purposes. It’s also true in the way you build your marketing attribution models.
At a very small scale you can do all this manually. It’s not that big of a deal, but the minute you start seeing a sign of success at that very small scale, then you’re going to need to equip yourself. Not just with a piece of influencer marketing software, but with the ability to start merging your datasets together.
For that you have a piece of technology that you can connect with as you do with a Traackr, but you also need the skills of people that are able to build these dashboards, to create these data lakes, that they retrieve data from via attribution models. So there’s a layer of complexity that just goes with the world that we live in. Instead of deflecting or sidetracking that complexity, my advice would be to embrace it.
In our research, we found that 60% of companies running always-on influencer programs were very successful vs. only 5% who do periodic or intermittent campaigns. What role does influencer marketing software play in an Always-On approach?
Pierre-Loic: Good question. Software plays two roles really and you’re absolutely right about the stat. I’m not surprised by the results that you found. We have the same kind of data that shows that the response of an influencers audience is a function of how authentic the message from the influencer is, which itself, is a reflection of the duration of the partnership.
The response of an influencers audience is a function of how authentic the message from the influencer is, which itself, is a reflection of the duration of the partnership (with the brand). @pierreloic
In other words, if tomorrow I’m starting to promote TopRank Marketing, everybody’s going to believe me because I’ve talked about you guys forever. So there’s nothing that feels “off” about my communication. But if I start talking about a different topic or different brand, it will feel inauthentic to people who may listen to me. Right? So, so I completely agree with the finding.
With regards to software, there are two ways in which software is helpful. One is how you vet influencers, how you select your influencers to work with. What you want to find are people that will be on the fast lane of being able to build that relationship early. These are people that have endorsed either your brand or what you stand for as a company.
Finding people that already have a voice that is credible in the same topic area, even if they haven’t mentioned your brand or if they’re just a fan you just didn’t know, happens quite often, surprisingly. It gives you a leg up when you start these partnerships. In that selection process, technology is very important because you can take a look back at their communication, you can do it at scale and find the people that are the best match for you.
And then software is also helpful in the relationship building. So, you know, Traackr acts as a CRM for influencers, where as an organization you may not know Lee Odden, but probably somebody else at my company does. It’s good to know that we already have the beginning of a partnership. It also gives brands an opportunity to engage an influencer on a very regular basis. Even if your department or marketing is not doing something this month, there’s probably somebody else that is. Just being able to bring visibility into the true partnership between an influencer and a brand is quite useful.
To see the full Inside Influence interview with Pierre-Loïc Assayag, check out the video below:
Next up on Inside Influence, we’ll be talking to Srijana Angdembey, Director, Social Media Marketing at Oracle about
Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence B2B Influencer Marketing interviews: