New research from Ogilvy shows that B2B Influence is one of the fastest growing marketing priorities
75% of B2B marketers are already utilizing B2B Influencer marketing
93% of those are planning to increase B2B Influencer activity
However, it’s potential in lead generation and aftersales still drastically unrealized
B2B Influence has reached a global tipping point to become one of the fastest growing marketing priorities, according to a new report* from Ogilvy. Based on interviews of 550 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) across 11 markets, from brands including LinkedIn, Dell, EY, IBM, and Samsung, the first-of-its kind study research shows that 75% of B2B marketers are now utilizing B2B Influencer marketing, and 93% of those are planning to increase B2B Influencer activity.
High usage, high value
The survey, which polled marketing leaders from across UK, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and the USA, proves that c-suite leaders are already recognising the potential of B2B Influence activity in building a credible brand and supporting lead generation. Half (49%) believe Influencers can help their brands be more credible and trusted, while 40% experienced improved leads or sales because of Influencer marketing strategies.
Even more potential to be realized
However, despite high usage, the full potential of B2B Influencers are yet to be realised. Findings from the research suggest that no teams are utilizing after-sales Influence to its full potential, despite 47% agreeing there is an opportunity for B2B Influencers to have the biggest impact during aftersales when executed correctly. With 60% not yet experiencing improved lead generation from B2B marketing activity, there is also a large opportunity to immediately realise more value from B2B Influencer marketing.
In addition, there is a symbiotic relationship between employees and Influencers that few CMOs have spotted, with limited numbers identifying that employees can be Influencers themselves – representing a missed opportunity for ROI.
Rahul Titus, Global Head of Influence at Ogilvy, said about the findings: “This is the first research in the space that clearly shows the untapped potential to be gained with B2B Influencers. Some incredible CMOs, as part of this study, are showing examples of Influencer impact up and down the customer journey, proving that Influencer marketing is the most versatile weapon in the armoury for B2B CMOs.”
Beth Saint, CMO at Schroders, reflected on the implications of the report: “The untapped potential is to unlock every individual within their circles to influence and advocate on behalf of the brand. It’s not really a question of how or should – but when. Those who move first and move faster will have the competitive advantage of space, but brands that are yet to develop their own Influencer strategy, are already playing catch up with their competitors.”
Three key imperatives for CMOs identified by the report include:
Peer-to-peer 2.0: This has been widely recognised as the most trusted and effective marketing channel. Its value when reassuring prospective buyers is undisputed, and the revolution of digital has democratised access to those trusted inner circles. In an age where 75% of the workforce will be digital natives by 2025 (Harvard Business Review 2) businesses must adapt to the new reality of the digital relationships & professional communication landscape becoming increasingly integrated with our physical one.
Holistic Growth: Influencers are not simply content vehicles existing only to promote products to new audiences. The research shows how wider business growth comes from using Influencers throughout an entire business operation, from including them in client meetings and having them talk to employees, to bringing them into R&D sessions and feedback to improve products & services. CMO’s need to appreciate Influencers don’t just drive views, likes and comments. Create real business growth throughout the business that benefits customers long term by providing a better service, and that will come back in new sales and client retention. One of the biggest points of the research was that 44% of CMO’s acknowledged the biggest opportunity that they weren’t yet using was integrating B2B Influencers in the post-sale experience.
Employees are Influencers: CEO’s and CMO’s agree on what makes a successful business. It isn’t based on accurate balance sheets, the latest CRM system, or even their founder charisma. 90% of C-Suite recognise their employees as the most valuable asset in their business. The collective network a business’ employees is on average ten times larger than the company itself. Activating an employee advocacy network will help brands access their most valuable untapped resource. 89% of C-Suite Marketers recognise that using employees as Influencers holds immense value for their business.
Ogilvy is the first agency globally to launch a B2B Influence specialism, tapping into the rapidly growing channel for brands. With experts in over 40 markets, Ogilvy is the world’s largest and most celebrated integrated Influence agency, now with the most extensive B2B influence offer. Ogilvy’s Influence business has become the most awarded influence agency globally for the last 5 years in a row, celebrated for its ability to deliver impact at the speed of culture – real people, driving real impact. Now they are the first agency to launch global research into this expanding market, reflecting the huge growth the agency is experiencing in Influencer Marketing, now valued at $50bn.
Download the full report here.