By the end of 2018, B2B Influencer Marketing was on the watch list of the industry, when predictions about what would happen this year would come up. And what we saw were some important advances in what B2B marketers had planned for Influencer Marketing in 2019, including:
Some of these initiatives rose to prominence in 2019, while others perished in everyday chaos. However, 2019 was the year B2B marketers learned influencer marketing in unprecedented ways. Many of the predictions from the past year have proven to be best practices for some of today's top brands.
What holds 2020? To turn your dreams of B2B influencer marketing into reality, we have gained 10 market leaders in influencer marketing to announce their top forecasts for 2020.
The Integration of Influence in 2020
TopRank Marketing has always been involved in B2B Influencer Marketing. We are constantly revising our approach and looking for new ways to help our clients achieve influencer marketing success. We are proud to have been recognized by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency with influencer marketing capabilities.
I expect that by 2020, EVEN MORE brands will integrate influencer marketing into strategic marketing initiatives in a way that supports multiple goals (and even departments or business units). We like to call the overlapping of business priorities, search queries and influencers the "Content Sweet Spot".
By integrating these three areas (and observing trend data), influencer programs have the potential to make strategic and long-term impact on your business even greater. What do our other experts predict for 2020? Read on to find out!
Focus on Commitment beyond Reach
Senior Communications Manager, Microsoft
Greater does not necessarily mean better when it comes to influencing. Brands place more emphasis on how followers engage with influencers than how many people see content. Measuring likes, comments and shares shows that the audience of an influencer listens and the content resonates. Addressing influencers who may not have millions of followers but who have a loyal audience can be important to brands, especially those seeking to reach a very specific audience.
Bigger means today and in the year 2020 not necessarily better when it comes to the reach of influencers. @alyssasamuelson # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
All-in for permanent influencer marketing
Group Marketing Manager, LinkedIn
I assume that organizations will focus more on maintaining deep, personal relationships with influencers. Influencer marketing has been largely fueled by the leverage of the scope and mass appeal of an influencer, but consumer sentiment and skepticism have made authenticity more important.
As a result, I expect organizations to focus on building lasting and lasting relationships with a more focused group of influencers. In addition to working with influencers as partners and collaborators, investing in a perpetual program that aims to uncover / share real, authentic messages and insights that arrive at customers will make it imperative to reach influencers ,
I assume that in 2020, organizations will focus more on maintaining deep personal relationships with influencers. @garnormorantes # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
Marketing Manager, LinkedIn
I assume that brands and influencers will become increasingly cooperative, involving influencers even earlier in the process. We already see collaboration in the content and creative development phase, but I expect influencers to collaborate on even earlier work such as brand messaging, idea review and campaign brainstorming – ultimately serving better content for the end user.
In 2020, I predict that brands and influencers will become increasingly cooperative, involving influencers even earlier in the process. @ judytian07 # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
Influencer Activations Beyond Digital
Head of Social Influencer Enablement, Adobe
Despite the fact that today's technology does not make it easy to connect virtually with people around the world, real (IRL) activations have something very special and different. Shared personal experiences enhance the sense of community and build bonds between people who may not be close to a lot of emails and social media likes.
Although it often takes a considerable amount of time and money, Adobe always looks for IRL influencer activations. It can be as simple and informal as taking a bite or planning something more, such as a visit to the headquarters to meet with the corporate strategy team and participate in product demos.
My favorite was our AdWeek-related Nasdaq interview, followed by our group cooking class. We could support each other and build on each other's thoughts and later hang our hair and engage in good, old-fashioned fun. We're all so energetic and have invested so much in the other's life that you just can not do it with online interactions alone.
In 2020, I predict that experiences between brands and influencers will increase in practice and foster a greater sense of community. @ ranimani0707 # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
Global Thought Leadership Program Manager, Dell Technologies
The biggest challenge for brands is the breakthrough of important differentiators, such as their unique selling propositions, their values, and the benefits to their stakeholders – online and offline. In addition to involving key speakers, brands will increasingly collaborate and create content through real-world engagement with external experts who influence their audience.
To bring the stories and evidence to life requires a "braid" of the right voices. For example, at key events, brands can collaborate with influencers to shape public engagement by providing important insights to the audience and the industry, as well as participants to promote the conversation and / or digitally enhance activation.
In 2020, I predict that brands will increasingly collaborate and create content together through real activations with outside experts who influence their audience. @JanineWegner # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
Read: Integration of Online and Offline Tactics for Influence Management
Combination of Content and Influence
Vice President, Influencer Marketing & Communications, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass
In the B2B area, the emphasis is on building "Communities of Influence" around industry experts, employees and trademark attorneys / customers. Communities will act as a watering hole where people can learn, exchange ideas, and find value in one direction through authentic interactions with content. This will go well with ABM's efforts to personalize content by making it more interactive and engaging. The effect will be to attract target consumers instead of directing content to them.
I assume that the focus in 2020 will be on building influence communities between industry experts, employees, and trademark lawyers / customers. @AmishaGandhi # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
CEO, TopRank Marketing
Content is the value currency that B2B brands and influencers exchange. However, as more and more shoppers fall prey to the flood of information and brand marketing, it is not enough for B2B companies to provide buyers with expert offers, interviews and webinars.
To truly attract attention in 2020, B2B influencer marketing programs need to be optimized to be unreachable. Influencer-driven content experiences – from audio to video to interactive – deliver engaging information that inspires buyers to take action. If the content is tangible and influential, everyone wins.
In 2020, I predict that influential experiences will be the foundation for optimizing influencer marketing programs that are unreachable and stimulate action. @leeodden # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
Integration into the legal profession of employees
Head of Global Social Programs: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy IBM Systems, IBM
I build brand ambassadors by empowering employees to engage in social media.
Every influencer strategy needs to involve employee advocacy.
… it's not one or the other.
I've made some success with my bespoke social media education for IBM subject matter experts. This included Social Media 101 for more advanced topics such as social listening and long-form content creation. I then provided interested IBM staff with great influencer content (topic-based) so they can join in the conversations and participate online.
I expect more brands to focus on employee coaching and mentoring in 2020 to improve their influencer strategy. Employees are an important part of the mix, so do not overlook them.
I expect more brands to focus on coaching and mentoring employees in 2020 to improve their influencer strategy. @RyanBares # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
The Rise of Video & Audio
Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP
2020 will be the year of B2B influencer marketing, where companies are finally beginning to understand how they can tell their stories and reach new audiences with videos, podcasts, and long-form content such as blogs. And storytelling will be the key to this success as the influencer narrates the brand story through his lens.
2020 will be the year of B2B influencer marketing, where companies will finally understand how they can use different types of content to tell their stories and reach new audiences. @ursularingham # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click To Tweet
Make authenticity a priority
Influencer Relations Manager, SAS
Five years ago, many B2B marketers did not understand how influencers can upgrade a brand if they do not support it. They have not understood that the essence of the value of an influencer lies in its neutrality.
To be a trusted advisor, an influencer must remain objective. Therefore, for reasons of authenticity, it is important that brands do not expect influencers to rekindle a brand message that is fundamentally detrimental to the brand, the influencer, and the consumer. When you work with an influencer that suits you, its vision should match your vision. Give them the freedom to do what they do best. educate and inspire.
I assume that by 2020, more brands will understand the true essence of the value of an influencer: neutrality. To be a trusted advisor, an influencer must remain objective. @AngelaLipscomb # B2BInfluencerMarketing #MarketingPredictions Click to Twitter
Find Your Influencer Marketing Focus for 2020
According to CMI's B2B Content Marketing Benchmarking Report and MarketingProfs from 2020, 46% of marketers who identify themselves as high-performing companies are investing in Influencer Relations.
The question then remains, what will your Influencer Marketing Travel 2020 look like? And which of the above predictions will you rely on first?
What else is on the marketing horizon 2020? Get an overview of the most important trends and forecasts in B2B content marketing for 2020.
* Disclosure: LinkedIn, Dell and SAP are TopRank marketing customers.