On the heels of the release of the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report and the announcement that several of our clients (LinkedIn and Alcatel Lucent Enterprise) have won awards for B2B influencer marketing campaigns, I am very happy to share the launch of a new video interview series: Inside Influence: Interviews with B2B Influencer Marketing Insiders.
What is Inside Influence?
This is a show that goes behind the scenes of B2B influencer marketing and showcases conversations with insiders from the world of B2B influencer marketing. We’ll be talking with practitioners at B2B brands of all kinds and sizes to answer the rising number of questions about working with influencers in a business context.
The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report has provided data for B2B brands to benchmark some of their strategies, operations and best practices. The report has also helped drive more conversations around B2B influence and the Inside Influence series aims to answer questions, provide deeper insights and also highlight many of the talented and unsung heroes of influencer marketing in the B2B world.
First up is the amazing Rani Mani, Head of Employee Advocacy at Adobe where among many responsibilities, she manages the B2B Adobe Insiders program which I am very happy to be a member of. We’ve had a chance to work with Rani and Adobe on an influencer content campaign as well as get her opinion on all things B2B influence. With this Inside Influence interview, you will get to see the conversation happening on fresh topics that matter today and into the future.
In this first episode of Inside Influence, we talked to Rani about
- 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report
- The role of influence across the customer lifecycle
- How influencers bring freshness and creativity to brand content
- The benefits of working with B2B influencers during the pandemic
- How influencers can help humanize B2B brands, including Adobe
- Top challenges working with B2B influencers
- Insights into the B2B Adobe Insiders community
- The future of B2B influencer marketing
What are some of the other outcomes B2B brands can expect from working with influencers?
Rani: For us it’s been thought leadership in terms of getting some fantastic minds to tap into, you’ve got your pulse on what’s happening in the community and you’re able to anticipate what’s coming up around the corner. Also reach of audience that you normally wouldn’t is also a really nice benefit.
Something we’ve seen firsthand is crisis management and reputation management. When folks are misconstruing who we are and what we stand for, it’s so nice to have trusted advisors swoop in and save the day and explain what’s happening in a way that’s relatable and digestible for the everyday person. And it’s so much more believable when it comes from a peer vs. an executive from the company or a brand channel.
In the report, you mentioned one of ways influencers help B2B marketers create advantage is that influencers bring a heavy dose of freshness and creativity to the content a brand produces. Can you share an example of that influencer creativity in action with Adobe?
Rani: I have so many. One is what we did a couple of years ago with you and your company, TopRank, when we did this very unique and interactive digital storytelling around reimagining and reshaping customer experience management and the future of CXM. We leveraged several brand personalities such as Ann Handley, Scott Monty and Shama Hyder. That was a very interesting piece of content that lives on today.
In addition we went to New York, you were there with us, for Advertising Week and we had all of our Adobe Insiders on camera at NASDAQ where you gave your top challenges in advertising and also gave predictions on what the future of advertising would look like. That was super compelling because not only did it produce wonderful wisdom for the industry, I think you had mentioned, what a fabulous experience it was for the individuals going through it.
You know our good friend and colleague Abhijit Bhaduri, he is out of India and does these fantastic visually compelling sketchnotes when he does his content. It’s really a wonderful way to get through thought leadership and it really cuts through the clutter out there in the digital area. Similarly there’s Kathleen Hessert and her GenZ Group, they do a lot of infographics chock full of memes and emojis that relate to that generation, very fun and playful. Adobe has benefitted from a lot of fresh, creative content from all of you.
Let’s talk about the future of B2B influencer marketing – what do you think will change in 2021, What needs to change?
Rani: I really think the power is shifting. Individual influencers are taking more control and have the opportunity to be more selective about who they do work with and what kind of work they do.
I think we’ll see a lot more influencers standing up for their creative freedom and creative license and I think we’ll see less prescriptive micromanagement from brands. I think the high quality influencers simply won’t stand for that any more. You’re not here as order takers, right? You’re here to collaborate and to co-create and you’re here to be thought partners, not to be puppets. I love that statement and I feel that is the evolution that’s going to happen. It’s already underway but I think it’s going to go in full force as we move past the pandemic and into the future.
Check out the full video interview with Rani Mani here.
Next up on Inside Influence we will be talking with with Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn and the brains behind the LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions influencer community.