The world of B2B influencer marketing continues to grow and we continue to tap the top marketing executives in charge of leading the industry for their insights and experience.
In this installment of our Enterprise B2B Influencer Marketing Interview series, I talk with Luciana Moran (@lucymoran) Senior Vice President, Digital, Content & Creative at Dun & Bradstreet. Our mutual connections have only the best things to say about Lucy and in this generous interview you’ll learn why.
You’ll learn about how influencer marketing is organized within the company, tips on handling compliance, campaign structure and favorite influencer marketing platforms.
What brought you to the world of Influencer Marketing?
I began to get more involved in Influencer Marketing as the scope of my role at Dun & Bradstreet grew to include Content Marketing. I had been exposed to the great Influencer programs that Konnie and others at Dell managed while I was working for Dell, but did not have any direct involvement. However, once I started working with our Content team, I saw Influencer Marketing as an opportunity to expand the reach of our perspectives outside of some of the more traditional tactics of organic search, social & paid media.
How is influencer marketing different for B2B than B2C?
In my mind, strong Influencer programs should be grounded in the same core principles, regardless of audience. That said, while I don’t have direct experience managing B2C Influencer programs, B2C seems to be a riskier endeavor in some ways. Technology has really simplified the process of finding potential B2C Influencer partnerships, and if you are a brand with limited resources trying to scale for Influencer programs, the potential of putting your brand at risk seems much greater.
On the B2B side, influencers have to be true subject matter experts in their category.
In addition, on the B2B side, influencers have to be true subject matter experts in their category. You want to ensure you align your brand with someone with the right following, but also someone who truly understands your business & can education your audience on the value of your solutions. On the B2C side, influencer marketing is largely based on who is using a product and finding a celebrity to endorse you can easily deliver success.
What are 2-3 of the main benefits of collaborating with influencers for B2B companies?
- Exposing your message to a new or different audience than you are currently reaching today, especially thru your website or other organic channels
- Adding credibility to your message by partnering with a trusted voice in the industry
How is influencer marketing positioned within your company? Ex: independent department that serves the brand and departments / business unites or is it more decentralized? What are the advantages of that structure?
Influencer relationships are managed centrally thru our Comms or Content & Social teams. We partner with our individual lines of business to help guide our influencer strategy, but the programs are managed centrally. The benefit of this model is that those with the expertise in influencer marketing are responsible for the programs, and we are able to extend learnings across multiple LOBs rather than have those learnings exist in a silo.
We do our homework to make sure that each influencer has substance behind their influence.
There has been some interesting press about influencer marketing in the past year, especially with discussions about better vetting of influencers with fake followers and failure to disclose brand relationships. How does your organization handle compliance and ensuring influencers and their communities are “real”?
The influencers that we tend to work with are those that we already have an existing relationship with in some way – either directly thru our team members and/or thru our networks. Like any business relationship, having some connection with a potential influencer can help limit risk. Influencer marketing agencies can help here, as they are able to bring experience across many clients. We also do our homework to make sure that each influencer has substance behind their influence. Things we have been especially cognizant of are influencers who seems to have expertise across too broad of a range of topics and influencers with a large follower base, especially those that seem to not have deep subject matter expertise based on content they develop or share.
How do you organize influencer engagement initiatives? Is it campaign focused, always on, opportunistic or a combination?
Where we’ve had the opportunity to partner with influencers on a campaign, such as a launch or new initiative, we have done so and seen success. We also have had long-standing relationships with other influencers and work with them as opportunities arrive.
If you are new to Influencer programs and don’t have deep subject matter expertise in-house, consider bringing in an agency to help.
What tips can you share about being more effective about influencer identification, qualification and recruitment?
If you are new to Influencer programs and don’t have deep subject matter expertise in-house, consider bringing in an agency to help. Once you have a program up & running, you can then either bring the work inside your organization or continue to partner with the agency.
Another way to be more effective at influencer identification, qualification and recruitment is to ask your customers who they follow/read. They are your target audience and you want to be where they are.
What characteristics make for a successful influencer / B2B brand relationship?
The key here is a relationship- realize that in order to be successful, the work has to be mutually beneficial to both parties. For example, think about how your campaign or program can benefit the influencer – what can you do to help promote them, in addition to them promoting your brand.
Be very clear up front on the goals of your Influencer program and what success looks like.
Also, be very clear up front on the goals of your Influencer program and what success looks like.
Do you have a favorite B2B influencer marketing campaign that you can share? What made it successful?
We’ve done a series of videos with Michael Krigsman, host of CXO Talk, and some of the leaders in our marketing organization. Overall the content is super engaging – Michael is a great host – and leveraging the video format really drove a lot of strong success on our social channels.
What advice can you share about measuring success with influencer marketing?
Establish your goals up-front. Don’t go into a campaign or program looking to start an Influencer program because it sounds interesting or it seems like something you “should” be doing. Know what KPIs you want to impact, and what KPIs you actually can impact.
What information sources do you rely on to stay on top of influencer marketing best practices and technologies?
Marketing blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn. And of course my team & co-workers. I work with a lot of extremely smart people who are focused on building their own influencer profiles.
Speaking of technologies, any favorite tools or platforms you can share?
One of my favorite technologies that we use related to influencer marketing and increasing the exposure of our content is LinkedIn Elevate. It allows a group of content curators to share content relevant to different aspects of our business, and then employees can easily share out to their networks thru LinkedIn & Twitter.
Aligning your brand with credible & trusted thought leaders will be more and more important.
How do you think influencer marketing will have evolved in the next year or two? What will it look like in 2020?
I think Influencer Marketing will grow in importance for brands as they look to explore how to continue to round out their strategies & tactics to meet their marketing goals. Especially with the continued & growing concern around fake news & content, as well as ad fraud & transparency, aligning your brand with credible & trusted thought leaders will be more and more important. I think we will see more technologies that will allow brands to better find new influencer relationships, which seems to be more prevalent for B2C than B2B.
What are you most influential about?
Leadership, how to navigate relationships at work, and how to best manage career & family commitments. I would say I do a better job influencing those I have relationships with at work or thru friendships – I need to do a better job at building my influence outside of my network.
What are you most looking forward to at MarketingProfs B2B Forum?
Of course, I am looking forward to Ann Handley as the event Host, as she is so witty and fun. Also seeing Gopi Kallayil, as I am really passionate about brand marketing, as well as Margaret Molloy, as she is a CMO that I have been following for some time.
Thank you Lucy!
If you would like to learn more about B2B influencer marketing from a panel of brand experts, be sure to check out our sesssion at MarketingProfs B2B Forum November 13-15th featuring Konstanze Brown from Dell, Amisha Gandhi from SAP Ariba and Lucianna Moran from Dun & Bradstreet.
Here are the details:
Content and influencer marketing are hot topics for B2B marketers all over the world as two of the most promising strategies for attracting, engaging and converting ideal customers. What many marketers don’t realize is how collaborating with influencers can create even more credible, relevant, and optimized experiences for target accounts. Join moderator Lee Odden and an expert panel of B2B brand influencer marketing executives from SAP, Dell and Dun & Bradstreet to learn how working with influencers and their communities can help scale quality B2B content that gets results. You’ll learn:
- The variety of benefits from B2B influencer collaboration
- How major B2B brands plan, implement and measure influencer content
- About processes and technologies that support influencer marketing success
We hope to see you there!