With a rapidly growing user base of 610 million professionals, LinkedIn provides organizations with unique opportunities. Beyond being a prime place to share content Read more...Read More »
Technology is one of the fastest-growing B2B sectors, for reasons that are self-evident. As new solutions and innovations continue to enhance the way businesses operate across every industry, every key department has increasing tech needs and buying power these days.
The folks at LinkedIn* recently released a 2019 global report, The Enlightened Tech Buyer: Powering Customer Decisions from Acquisition to Renewal, and it merits attention from marketers of all stripes. As the “enlightened” descriptor implies, tech buyers (for reasons that are also self-evident) tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to research, consumption, and purchase behaviors.
Today we’ll take a deeper look at LinkedIn’s new data around this trendsetting cohort, breaking down five key revelations within.
5 Telling Trends Revealed in LinkedIn’s Tech Buyer Report
Here are some of the most eye-opening tidbits we saw based on LinkedIn’s survey of “5,241 global professionals who participated in or influenced the purchase of various hardware or software solutions at their organization within the last three months.”
#1 - Tech Buying Committees are Expansive and Diverse
We all know that, in general, B2B buying committees are expanding faster than the Night King’s army of wights. This dynamic is especially pronounced in the tech space.
“Where previously 3/4 of enterprise employees were part of technology decision-making,” LinkedIn reports, “today the total universe of end-users and decision-makers who impact business technology investments encompasses 4/5 of employees (roughly 86%).”
As tech products and services become increasingly integrated with every aspect of an organization, more voices are coming into play. End users, external influencers, and cross-functional stakeholders all tend to have a role. This reinforces the imperative of establishing strong brand awareness throughout a business, which is a central focus of account-based marketing.
#2 - The Purchase Cycle is Shortening
The report notes that the process of reviewing, selecting, and implementing new tech solutions has accelerated over the past few years, with the average purchase cycle now checking in at about 25 months. This could be viewed as good news or bad news, depending on how you look at it.
On the one hand, that’s still a fairly long timespan, providing plenty of opportunity for marketing content to make an impact. Meanwhile, the increase in velocity could suggest buyers are becoming more deliberate and urgent in identifying solutions.
But on the other hand, this also means that we as marketers have a smaller window than before to engage and persuade. We now need to make each interaction count more than ever — especially if we’re pursuing a new account. LinkedIn’s study shows that shortlists are becoming more competitive than ever for vendors.
#3 - Vendor Websites Are a Prime Resource
Across every B2B tech category, vendor website/mobile app is the top research destination for buyers. In aggregate, this source is followed by blogs/forums/discussion boards, product review websites, and technology media/trade journals:
In short, buyers are seeking out trustworthy information — be it from a company’s own website or from unbiased third party resources. This accentuates the importance of building credibility with best-answer content, which can satisfy a decision maker’s questions during research while also positioning your brand as helpful and knowledgeable.
#4 - Buyers Want Partners, Not Sellers
Above all, tech buyers value the overall quality of a product or service above all when choosing a vendor. (Duh.) But the next two factors are interesting: both the ability to consistently meet a buyer’s needs, and the ability to answer questions to a buyer’s satisfaction, rank above affordability/pricing in importance:
This is why the customer experience is becoming such an overarching imperative. Effective marketing now goes beyond the scope of traditional functions. Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm. And this level of attentiveness should go beyond the actual purchase itself...
#5 - Smooth Implementation is Essential
Per LinkedIn, “The #1 indicator of customer renewal success is successful adoption and product satisfaction.” No surprise there. But it’s another reminder of why the full customer experience needs to be addressed.
“The data shows direct vendor engagement among buyers dropping off in later stages of purchase, meaning that there’s an opportunity to be more present and engaged with customers post-sale,” according to the report. “Marketers need to play an active role in the implementation and adoption process of new technology. A seamless customer experience also demands alignment with customer support in activities, training and key education resources.”
How can marketing continue to shape experiences in these later stages and after the sale? It’s a vital consideration for profitability, since we all know the relative cost of acquiring new customers compared to retaining existing ones.
Follow the Tech Buyers
None of the nuggets revealed in LinkedIn’s “Enlightened Tech Buyer” report are especially surprising, but they do reinforce some of the trends we see playing out at large:
- Buying committees are becoming more distributed
- Researchers seek out objective information and best-answer content
- We need to help, not sell
- Marketing is starting to impact more parts of the customer experience
To get the full scoop on today’s B2B tech buyer preferences, check out LinkedIn’s report.
*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.
The post Top Takeaways from LinkedIn’s New ‘Enlightened Tech Buyer’ Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.Read More »
Want to better understand your Facebook ad performance? Have you considered using Google Data Studio? In this article, you’ll discover how to create seven valuable Google Data Studio charts that can help you better analyze your Facebook advertising campaigns. How to Create Charts in Google Data Studio Data Studio is a free tool created by […]
The post How to Use Google Data Studio to Analyze Your Facebook Ads appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.Read More »
If you’re a regular Facebook user, you might have noticed a surge in the number of video ads on the platform. While businesses still Read more...
This post 5 best practices to amplify your Facebook video ads originally appeared on Sprout Social.Read More »
Although it joined the game a bit later than some of the other popular social networks (Instagram launched on October 6, 2010 while Facebook Read more...
This post 17 Instagram stats marketers need to know for 2019 originally appeared on Sprout Social.Read More »
While Instagram influencer marketing is expected to hit $8 billion in spend by 2020, the growth trajectory of influencer marketing is not limited to consumer brands.
B2B companies are also realizing the value of collaborating with influential experts for marketing purposes and count the practice as one of the top 4 tactics planned for 2019, according to a study by Spiceworks of B2B tech marketers in North America and Europe.
Many B2B brands are considering engaging influencers for marketing but are not clear on exactly how or what the best practices are. Having worked with B2B brands that range from Dell to SAP to LinkedIn on influencer marketing programs over the past 6 years, I’ve had a chance to dig deep into exactly what makes influencer marketing work for B2B.
To help illustrate how business brands we work with are driving results with influencer marketing, I’ve pulled together ten examples of B2B companies that represent a mix of approaches and performance outcomes.
B2B tech marketers’ adoption of influencer marketing is expected to grow to 48% by the end of 2019. @marketingcharts
1. Prophix - Driving a Message of Innovation and Influence with Interactive Audio
Situation: Prophix is a corporate performance management software solutions company serving the finance industry. They believed that finance leaders have the opportunity to shape the future of business and take a more prominent seat at the leadership table.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will be critical to the innovation of finance, so Prophix wanted to start conversations and answer key questions on the role of AI in the next evolution of finance amongst its target audience.
Solution: To build thought leadership for the brand around AI and ML innovations in finance amongst its audience, experts collaborated to co-create an industry resource.
To add a tech-savvy flavor to the content experience of this resource, a simulated AI personality voice named Penny was created to help users navigate a microsite featuring industry experts. The site was titled, Adapt & Innovate: AI and the Next Evolution of Finance.
The microsite was complemented with a mix of content including promotional motion graphics video, email promotions, landing page, supporting blog content, social content and custom graphics for the contributing influencers to share.
Results: 642% increase in engagement, new relationships with top influencers and numerous conversations amongst the target audience about AI and finance in connection with the Prophix brand.
2. DivvyHQ - Create Thought Leadership & Lead Gen Momentum with Multi-Campaign Influencer Program
Situation: As an award-winning content planning and marketing software company, DivvyHQ wanted to elevate its reputation and more actively engage potential buyers.
Solution: A survey was conducted to surface top challenges and insights around content planning and marketing, sparking a multi-campaign program focused on future-proofing content marketing that included over 30 marketing influencers.
Each of the 5 campaigns focused on content and influencers specific to the topic ranging from the research report to a strategy ebook to a series of video interviews about content planning.
The final campaign repurposed the “best of content” from the first 4 campaigns into an interactive microsite using a Back to the Future theme. Each campaign was supported by blog posts, organic social content, influencer promotion and some paid social.
Results: Each campaign exceeded goals including 300% more downloads of the research report, hitting some KPI goals within a week of publishing, thousands of video views, new relationships with top marketing industry influencers and 140% of one conversion KPI within a week of publishing.
3. Introhive - Improve Lead Quality with Influencer Insights and Research
Situation: The legal industry has been slow to adopt Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, something that Introhive, an automation solutions provider wanted to change.
Solution: With the goals of raising awareness and leads from the legal community, Introhive wanted to engage the audience they were marketing to through an industry survey and insights.
The survey identified the top challenges and Introhive designed a Playbook to solve those problems with a combination of brand insight and expertise from speakers at the industry’s Legal Marketing Association event. During the conference, the contributors shared the playbook and Introhive promoted it using the event hashtag.
Additional pieces of the content mix included 12 blog posts, landing page, organic and influencer social shares, paid social and email promotions.
Results: Improved marketing qualified lead quality, more playbook downloads in the first month than in the entire lifetime of previous reports, nearly 50% of all brand blog content views for the quarter and an 85% increase in new Twitter followers.
4. Cherwell Software - Achieve Thought Leadership, Engagement & Lead Gen Goals with Influence Optimization
Situation: With ambitious objectives to continue its rapid growth, Cherwell Software wanted to increase brand awareness as a leading ITSM software provider and develop a network of IT influencers.
Solution: Using insights gained from research of target accounts, 15 influencers were researched, identified and engaged to co-create content and promotions around next-generation IT Service Management.
The content mix included blog posts, IT Service Management 2020 ebook, landing page and both paid/organic social content for influencers to share.
Results: The ebook was viewed 170% more often than previous assets and shared nearly 2,000 times. Additionally, this one campaign was accountable for 22% of all sales leads for the entire year.
5. SAP SuccessFactors - Increase Performance with a More Sophisticated Influencer Mix
Situation: Wellness programs are common but SAP SuccessFactors wanted to accentuate the importance of employee wellness from a more holistic approach to wellbeing.
Solution: To raise awareness of their health care management suite, SAP SuccessFactors developed a program to share relevant, useful and actionable insights about wellbeing from trusted experts, peers and even one business celebrity.
Just as the best wellness solutions are holistic, so was this approach to partnering with influencers including industry influencers, internal experts, SAP partners and clients.
The content mix included an ebook titled The True Impact of Health and Well-Being featuring 10 influencers, motion graphics, landing page, social content for the brand and influencers to share.
Results: 272% increase over the goal and a 68% conversion rate on the ebook downloads. Influencer shares represented 86% of all ebook views and 69% of the conversions.
6. Dell Technologies - Increase Brand Thought Leadership with Influencer Interview Podcast
Situation: While many companies focus on working with influencers, Dell Technologies wanted to partner with industry influencers to simultaneously create useful content for their customers and increase the influence of their internal experts.
Solution: Dell has developed relationships with a network of influencers including Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr, who host the Dell Luminaries podcast.
Their discussions with technology visionaries from inside Dell and out, putting a human face on technology innovation.
Results: The Dell Luminaries project effectively created a single platform to bring voices from multiple companies under the Dell brand together following a common thread while staying true to their individual expertise and influence.
7. 3M - Humanize Science with Influencers and a Podcast
Situation: Science can seem out of reach to many and 3M wanted to make the innovations and complexities of science accessible to the everyday person.
Solution: 3M conducted the largest ever science study about global attitudes about science, the State of Science Index research report along with the launch of 3M’s first podcast: Science Champions Podcast.
Hosted by 3M’s Chief Science Advocate, Jayshree Seth, the first season of the podcast featured twenty one science experts and influencers on topics ranging from an introduction to science in everyday life to careers in science.
Results: Outside of creating relationships with science influencers and showcasing an internal influencer, the Science Champions podcast exceeded all expectations for downloads and engagement, resulting in the launch of season two in March 2019.
8. Content Marketing Institute - Activate Event Awareness & Engagement with Themed Influencer Content
Situation: There are many choices for marketers to attend industry events and Content Marketing Institute wanted to create broader awareness of its conference and showcase its speakers in a way that tapped their influence and helped them become more influential.
Solution: Many months before the conference, a selection of content marketing speakers were identified and engaged to share their expertise on specific content marketing topics.
With a conference theme of “Game on", the 36 influential marketing speakers’ contributions were assembled into a 48 page ebook called The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing with a retro video game theme. Each section of the ebook was supported by corresponding animation videos using an 8-bit video game theme featuring game character avatars for each influencer.
The content mix also included 6 long-form interviews, multiple promotional blog posts, email marketing, custom social graphics for the brand and influencers to share, organic and paid social promotion.
Results: A 258% increase in views of the main ebook asset and over 30,000 views of the promotional 8-bit video game interviews.
9. SAP - Create New Platform Thought Leadership & Credibility with Influencers
Situation: SAP launched its Leonardo platform at the annual SAPPHIRE conference. With an event this large, key announcements can blur in the noise of communications. SAP wanted to launch Leonardo as a transformative technology vision.
Solution: An interactive experience called The Path to Digital Innovation was created showcasing SAP CEO Bill McDermott and 32 top industry influencers sharing insights across transformative technologies including IoT, machine learning, AI, blockchain, analytics, big data and cloud.
Results: 100% of participating influencers shared the Leonardo Path to Digital Innovation content, many of them multiple times. Reach was unprecedented, with over 21 million views of the interactive experience.
Where Does B2B Influencer Marketing Go From Here?
In the research report, Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing by Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, 48% of B2C companies are running ongoing influencer marketing programs vs. only 11% of B2B brands. Nearly half of B2B brands are still in the experimentation stage, according to the study, which was conducted by Traackr and TopRank Marketing.
But this trend is changing and more B2B brands are realizing that while different than B2C, working with influencers in a business to business context represents a significant opportunity to create more credible content that can be promoted to interested buyers by people they trust.
Many of the examples in this article started with customer research and added outside expert commentary in a way that was relevant to both the brand and the audience. This shift in focus from the brand talking about itself towards a more collaborative approach involving external and internal influencers represents a key change successful B2B marketers have realized.
Trends come and go, but the value of trusted sources of information to customers looking for solutions couldn’t be any more timeless.
For more information about how TopRank Marketing works with B2B brands to improve industry awareness, increase influence and community engagement, drive leads and sales by partnering with industry experts, check out the influencer marketing section of our website.
A version of this post originally published on the Digital Marketing Institute website.
The post Inspiring Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing in Action appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.Read More »
Looking for better ways to create videos, audio, and images? Want a list of tools to help? In this article, you’ll explore 26 apps and tools for mobile and desktop from the Social Media Marketing podcast’s Discovery of the Week. #1: Listen Notes Listen Notes is a free search engine just for podcasts and it […]Read More »
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Facebook Ads Manager updates, new ad bidding strategies, and inventory filters with special guests Charlie Lawrance and Amanda […]Read More »