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2020 Research: The Current State & Future of B2B Influencer Marketing

by | Nov 17, 2020 | Best Practice, ,

We are really excited to announce the launch of our research report on the current state and future of B2B influencer marketing, but from the influencers’ perspectives, in partnership with TopRank Marketing, Thulium and the Zeno Group.

The key to any successful relationship or partnership is open communication around expectations and preferences. In order for brand and influencer partnerships to truly flourish, both marketers and influencers need to lay their cards out on the table. TopRank Marketing recently launched a state of the industry report, whereby they surveyed over 300 B2B marketers, so we wanted to complete the puzzle by hearing the influencers’ side.

With the wonderful help from our influencer networks, we surveyed ~350 global influencers across a wide array of sectors such as Tech, Finance, Healthcare, Professional Services and Energy – to name a few, making this the most comprehensive influencer survey of its kind.

We are pleased to release this research in a time where marketers’ usual strategies have in many cases been turned on their heads. With in-person events still off the cards and with prolonged remote working, marketing strategies have never been so digital. With this comes the challenge to effectively reach and engage our audiences online – we believe, and this survey confirms, that influencers are a huge part of the solution.

“The future is looking brighter than ever for B2B influencer marketing with a large proportion of influencers having seen their influencer work increase since the pandemic. But this report highlights some weak points for us to improve as an industry. We need to better align opportunities, agree on business outcomes and work to professionalise the industry so that both influencers and marketers get maximum value from influencer collaborations.” – Tim Williams, CEO, Onalytica 

What are the report’s key findings?

  1. Always-on campaigns are far more successful for both influencers and marketers compared with one-off campaigns.
  2. Quality of outreach and research are very important and strongly linked to campaign success.
  3. Influencers prefer to be contacted by Senior Execs and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), highlighting the power of connecting influencer marketing and employee advocacy.
  4. Influencer marketing should be a collaborative process – influencers who can edit briefs report higher success.
  5. The brief is considered the most important factor for influencers when deciding to work with a brand or not.
  6. The size of an influencer’s audience and a brand’s headcount & budget isn’t important – the most important thing is alignment and an exciting opportunity.
  7. There is room for improvement on better aligning opportunities with what influencers enjoy doing.
  8. Influencers have different personas with different motivations for choosing to work with brands and should be treated accordingly.
  9. The majority of influencers, regardless of audience size, are willing to do free work if they believe in the product/cause – influencer identification is key!
  10. The need to professionalise the industry, particularly with payments and on-boarding.
  11. Most industries have seen no changes or increased work being the key trend throughout the pandemic – highlighting the increasing need for influencers.

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The Current State & Future of B2B Influencer Marketing

From the Influencers' Perspectives