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12 Knowledgeable B2B Influencer Advertising and marketing Predictions for 2021

What will B2B influencer marketing look like in 2021 and where will B2B marketers and brands lead when a post-pandemic world finally arrives?

To answer these questions, we have gathered the most important findings on B2B influencer marketing from industry experts as well as from our own team and presented their forecasts for 2021.

Let's jump right in and see how top B2B influencer marketing practitioners expect 2021 to change the way we do business and why it will likely be a breakout year for influencing building.

1 – Anti-Marketing and the Real versus the Ideal

 Ann Boyd "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Ann Boyd <br /> Vice President Communications, Section </p>
<p> I assume that we are going into an anti-marketing and influencer marketing world. Nobody has time for the deluge of commercial content that pops up on every platform these days. The pendulum has swung to where the obviously requested and carefully curated feedback floods our inboxes and social feeds. </p>
<p> The trick is to find authentic advocates and keep the content short, sweet, current, and targeted! In 2021 everything will revolve around the real versus the ideal. </p>
<p><span class= “The trick is to find authentic advocates and keep the content short, sweet, current, and targeted! In 2021 everything will revolve around the real versus the ideal. "- Ann Boyd @annb Click to tweet

2 – Ethos, relativity, affinity and true partnerships

 Ann-Handley "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Ann Handley <br /> Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs </p>
<p> I have 3 predictions for 2021: </p>
<p> 1. A long term approach to influencer marketing growth is the need for Miracle-Gro’s B2B brands. Influencer relationships were increasingly about building long-term partnerships – not short-term, one-off collaborations. This has been evolving for a while … but it's critical in 2021. Unique items are stifled so that real partnerships can flourish. </p>
<p> 2. Purpose-oriented partnerships become one thing. It's not the size of an influencer's audience – it's what it stands for. Brand, ethos, character, relativity, affinity … everything is important. </p>
<p> 3. A B2B brand works with a TikTok developer to create the first viral TikTok video. (Why not?) </p>
<p> 3 1/2. Instagram ends updating its platform in annoying ways that repel users. (Wait. Now I'm just making a Christmas wish list … Anyway.) </p>
<p> If the pandemic has taught B2B marketing anything, trust, relativity and TikTok are more important than ever. </p>
<p> I'm just kidding with the last one. </p>
<p> Or am I? </p>
<p><span class= "A long-term approach to growing influencer marketing is the need for Miracle-Gro's B2B brands." – Ann Handley @MarketingProfs Click to Tweet

3 – More B2B influencer marketing experts will move the needle

 Ryan Bares "width =" 199 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Ryan Bares <br /> Head of Global Social Programs: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy, IBM Systems </p>
<p> 2021 will be the year of focus for the influencer marketer. B2B brands should see the fruits of their influencer marketing efforts now, but is that really moving the needle? </p>
<p> Influencer marketing professionals – a position that will have more employees in 2021 – are expected to show results and focus on the right influencers who are engaging with your target audience rather than trying and seeing everything what's inside. </p>
<p><span class= “2021 will be the year of focus for the influencer marketer. Influencer marketing professionals are expected to show results and focus on the right influencers who are engaging with your target audience. "- Ryan Bares @RyanBares Click to tweet

4 – Virtual events become more powerful B2B marketing tools

 Anton Shulke "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Anton Shulke <br /> Head of Influencer Marketing (SEO), SEMRush </p>
<p> For me, influencer marketing is about relationships. </p>
<p> Between you as part of your brand and a person – an influencer. Sure, there is some kind of relationship between an influencer and the brand, but ultimately it still comes down to personal relationships between certain people. </p>
<p> Many of us build it with real meetings, a cup of coffee or a beer. What could be better than personal conversations? </p>
<p> With COVID, it stopped abruptly in 2020 and I suspect it won't be back anytime soon. I don't want to use a cliché – the world will not be the same – but it might be partially true. </p>
<p> What could replace real conferences and face-to-face meetings? </p>
<p> The obvious answer – online. I think in 2021 many influencer marketers will consider online events arguably the most powerful influencer marketing tool out there. We will organize virtual conferences with the main aim to steal the soul of our influencers. When you say this, think about the best way to please your influencer / spokesperson: Have a large, engaged audience. </p>
<p><span class= "In 2021, influencer marketers will consider online events to be the most powerful influencer marketing tool." – Anton Shulke @anton_shulke Click To Tweet

5 – Better mutual long-term influencing factor

 Tim Williams "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Tim Williams <br /> CEO, Onalytica </p>
<p> As an industry, the early introduction phase is now over. B2B influencer marketing is now a more general strategy that is incorporated by marketers who are not specialists. </p>
<p> This in turn has resulted in many brands and agencies stepping on the scene and working with the same top global influencers with mixed results. </p>
<p> Growing adoption has highlighted the knowledge gaps and improvements that marketers and influencers need to better collaborate as the industry matures. </p>
<p> There are three key areas in which marketers can improve in 2021: </p>
<p>Better design of the first brand / influencer partnerships to achieve mutual value in the long term<br />
Help build a community of internal and external influencers as content creators on thought leadership topics<br />
Improve influencer onboarding and management, as bad processes can negatively affect the relationship</p>
<p><span class= “As an industry, the early introduction phase is now over. B2B influencer marketing is now a more general strategy being incorporated by marketers who are not specialists. – Tim Williams @WilliamsTim Click here to tweet

6 – A mixed and humane approach

 Nic Michael "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Nic Michael <br /> Influencer Marketing Strategist, TopRank Marketing </p>
<p> What we see now is a distinction between creating B2C and B2B influencer content – but why not mix the two ?! </p>
<p> I assume that B2B content will take a more B2C approach, as the way influencers develop content will be a little scratchier and more human, rather than buttoned up and polished. </p>
<p><span class= "B2B content will increasingly take a B2C approach as the way influencers develop content will be a little scratchier and more human instead of being buttoned up and polished." – Nic Michael @TopRank Click to tweet

7 – Deep commitment and search for a valuable sweet spot

 Rachel Douglas "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Rachel Douglas <br /> Senior Manager Marketing and Branding, Prophix * </p>
<p> Influencers are always smarter about the brands they work with and why. Businesses and marketers have to work harder to nurture important relationships and make sure we don't just ask for content or activation, but find a valuable sweet spot where both parties benefit and win. That means meaningful content, authentic voices and deep commitment. </p>
<p><span class= “Influencers are getting smarter about the brands they work with and why. Businesses and marketers have to work harder to maintain important relationships and make sure we're not just asking for content or activation. "- Rachel Douglas Click to tweet

8 – Search for aspiring influencers who align themselves with brand values ​​

 Tom Treanor "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Tom Treanor <br /> CMO, Treasure Data * </p>
<p> With the pandemic, we have seen a massive onslaught online and many of these new habits will persist in 2021 and even after the pandemic. </p>
<p> Because of this, the importance of online influencers has only increased. Expect brands to increasingly partner with influencers in B2C and B2B environments. The wise money will go after the rising influencers. So, watch out for aspiring influencers who are getting some success on the platforms your audience prefers and who align themselves with your brand's values. </p>
<p><span class= “The importance of online influencers has only increased. Expect brands to increasingly partner with influencers in B2C and B2B environments. "- Tom Treanor @RtMixMktg Click To Tweet

9 – Always influence and greater sophistication

 Debbie Friez "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Debbie Friez <br /> Influencer Marketing Strategist, TopRank Marketing </p>
<p> Brands often hired influencers for events, and that's where they could get budget. With so many virtual events going on, I see brands re-evaluating this tactic. More and more brands are trying to engage influencers all year round and have a constantly updated program. Hence the budgets and alignments change. </p>
<p> Furthermore, virtual events are not new, but their meaning and sophistication are already radically improving. In 2021, more and more influencers will improve their game around lighting, microphones and cameras to get the best experience for their audience. I'm excited to see how influencers will develop their video and audio presence to help companies share information. </p>
<p><span class= "More and more brands are looking to engage influencers throughout the year and have an ongoing influencer marketing program." – Debbie Friez @dfriez Click to Tweet

10 – Networking and Credential Building Activities in a Mature Influencer Industry

 Paul Dobson "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Paul Dobson <br /> Senior Director for Social Marketing and Influencer Marketing, Citrix </p>
<p> This is what I thought when I was thinking about planning for 2021. Given the ongoing discussion of misinformation in the media, I think B2B influencer teams will look for a solid balance between the influencer's network and their credential building activities that will continue to build on their reputation as a strong voice in theirs the represented industry. </p>
<p> As the influencer industry matures and the mind space in social media shrinks, competition for the right person to promote B2B brands and brand messages will increase. </p>
<p><span class= "B2B influencer teams will look for a solid balance between the influencer's network and their credential building activities." – Paul Dobson @svengelsk Click To Tweet

11 – Long-term cooperation and deepening of influence relationships

 Michaela Underdahl "width =" 200 "height =" 200 "/> <br /> Michaela Underdahl <br /> Senior Community Manager <br /> Flink </p>
<p> I predict two major trends in marketing for B2B influencers in 2021. The first will be the continued focus of brands on maintaining existing relationships and building new long-term connections. </p>
<p> At Nimble, we believe in treating business relationships the same as any other important relationship in our life. Long-term collaboration with influencers is our top priority as this is a win-win situation for everyone. </p>
<p> Both we and the influencers we work with invest time, energy and resources in every campaign we run. We only turn to people with whom we want to build a long-term relationship. The ultimate goal of our influencers is to eventually turn them into nimble power users and lifelong brand advocates. </p>
<p> The other thing that companies will focus on in 2021 is “fishing out” the micro-influencers from the deep waters of their existing base. It's much easier to deepen your relationship with someone who already loves your product and make them an evangelist than teaching an influencer the product after you've spent months – sometimes years – building a new relationship. </p>
<p><span class= "It is much easier to deepen your relationship with someone who already loves your product and make them an evangelist than teaching the product to an influencer." – Michaela Underdahl @Nimble Click To Tweet

12 – Experiences, Doing Business with Influence, Network Influencer Networks, and Brand Individuals


Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing

In our 2020 B2B Influencer Marketing report, 80% of B2B marketers agree that influencer marketing will be more important in the coming year and 80% expect their influencer marketing budgets to increase or equal stay. Since the pandemic has decisively digitized B2B marketing activities, the influence will continue to play an increasingly important role in the B2B marketing mix and as follows:

Experiences – 74% of marketers believe that working with influencers improves prospects and customers' experience with the brand. This trend will continue as more influencers get creative with brands for messaging and trusted content. The definition of influencer is expanding so that brands can engage more people, internally and externally, to play a role in delivering the best customer experience.
Business of Influence – In the B2B world, more professional influencers will emerge to bring brands everything from expert analyst-level knowledge to turnkey research and promotional projects to creating professional media and content not just for “potential social Impressions ”are responsible. “Business influence in 2021 is accountability to the bottom line, not just superficial KPIs.
Agency Influencer Networks – As more B2B brands get on the influencer marketing train, they want to speed up the hardest part: identifying, qualifying, and recruiting influencer partners. Specialist agencies maintain relationships with networks of industry-specific influencers and can provide new customers with near-instantaneous connections to experts that could otherwise take months to maintain.
Brand Influencers – Employee advocacy can make the difference in the B2B brands that their employees can activate, and this trend will continue. Additionally, more B2B brands will invest in building influence for their key executives. B2B brands that both build relationships with leading industry influencers and empower their key executives and subject matter experts could see a multiplier effect on market warming, trust building, thought leaders and credibility in terms of the trust needed to make buying decisions .

"The definition of influencer is expanding so that brands can engage more people, internally and externally, to play a role in delivering the best customer experience." – Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click to Tweet

Put 2021 B2B influencer marketing trends to the test

2021 will lead B2B marketers not only into a new year, but also into a new, more general, era of wider big brand adoption, and the insightful predictions we've examined here are sure to turn into Completely new and sometimes unpredictable situations affect ways.

* Prophix and Treasure data are TopRank Marketing customers.

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