Even B2B Can Benefit from a Respected Influencer

When it comes to choosing who will be the face of a product, businesses understand that consumers will associate their offering with the qualities of the person advertising it. There are some obvious standouts: Santa for Coca-Cola, Fabio for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and William Shatner for Priceline. You may be surprised to learn that such influencers have been ­used in B2C marketing since as early as the 1800’s when the Queen of England, Ulysses S. Grant, and the Pope acted as spokespeople for Vin Mariani “tonic.”

In today’s information-overloaded society, consumers are more apt to tune out loud, repetitive ads and focus on honest recommendations from someone with whom they are familiar. In fact, Forbes estimates that 87% of buyers give credence to industry influencer content when choosing which product to purchase. When nearly 90% of people respond to influencers, B2B marketers could take a page from B2C’s playbook. Here are some tips on using influencers in B2B interactions:

Rather than scouting out the latest viral celebrity, start by identifying product experts using peer-reviewed sources such as journal articles or white papers. Next, see which expert’s content is current and trending by finding out whose is more widely or more often cited. Then, research this published content to make sure the expert’s values align with your company’s principles.

Finally, consider hiring the content professional as a B2B educator for your product. The professional’s task will be to educate potential buyers on the topics and ideas that are important to your brand and not to promote your business. Leave that to Santa, the Cadbury Bunny, or whomever your marketing team sees fit.

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