Ask any B2B marketer about their top digital marketing challenges and one of the first answers you’ll likely receive is: Getting in front of the right audience at the right time. In fact, Ytel’s 2018 State of B2B Marketing Communications survey revealed that 55% of respondents agreed that they have a hard time getting their message and content in front of their target audience.
Why is that? Well, there’s more content at buyers’ fingertips than ever before, search engines are getting in touch with their human sides, and organic visibility on social media is effectively extinct. But, let’s real talk for a minute, marketers—this is all old news. In today’s digital marketing landscape, creating meaningful connections with your audience on any channel really comes down to trust and credibility.
Consumers are increasingly numb to advertising and marketing messages—and they’re actively trying to avoid it all. Last year, PageFair reported that adblocking usage had grown by 30% globally. In addition, Facebook’s recent decision to de-emphasize brand content was in response to users saying that posts from businesses, brands and media were crowding their News Feeds.
However, buyers are increasingly looking to those they know and those they think they know for insights, answers and recommendations. Multiple reports have shown that somewhere around 90% of consumers trust influencers or individuals over straight branded content. In addition, according to a recent report from CMI and SmartBrief, 40% of B2B decision-makers say that credibility trumps the source of the information.
This means B2B brands and marketers need to double-down on creating quality, credible content to drive marketing objectives and wins. But how? By infusing credible voices, perspectives and insights from influential sources—namely industry experts and thought leaders—into the content marketing game plan.
To highlight how creating more credible content with influencers can help your B2B brand get in front of interested buyers, create an engaging experience, and inspire action, take a look at these three examples from the TopRank Marketing playbook of successful client influencer content marketing programs.
Case Study #1 – Introhive: Reaching, engaging and inspiring a niche audience.
Introhive is a leading customer relationship management (CRM) solutions provider. Working across a variety of industries, Introhive aims to help their clients gain and effectively leverage customer intelligence in a way that can grow their business.
The Situation: The legal sector is one of Introhive’s focus industries. However, it’s an industry that’s been reluctant to adopt CRM technologies. Why? Oftentimes business development isn’t an established department within law practices, making it hard to justify investments in a “sales” technology. But law firms large and small have growth aspirations—and Introhive wanted to empower them to realize those opportunities.
Another challenge with attorneys and other legal professionals is that they often build their careers on evidence and witness testimony. Essentially, this industry is by nature hard to reach without offering credibility, authority and proof.
The Solution: With two unique challenges to overcome, our team knew that engaging other legal professionals to share their expertise and insights on business development, we could not only showcase the Introhive brand, but also needed to provide their audience with unique, relevant and trustworthy insights.
TopRank Marketing worked with the team at Introhive to develop an integrated influencer content program that began with a survey of legal community members. Conducting the survey helped facilitate building influencer relationships, while also collecting valuable data that could be used to further bolster campaign content. Other pieces of the integrated content marketing mix included an eBook—our anchor asset—blog posts, organic social amplification, paid social, and email.
The Results: For starters, we saw 15% more eBook downloads in the first month than the benchmark asset had in its lifetime. During the same time period, the accompanying blog content garnered over 600% more views compared to benchmarks for average blog content. Finally and without specifics available, the Introhive team reports that the program has delivered “medium to huge” marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Suffice it to say, this program leveraged credible content within influencers and research to generate substantial results.
Read the full Introhive integrated influencer campaign case study.
Case Study #2 – Cherwell: Increasing brand visibility and thought leadership in a competitive space.
Cherwell Software is a leading IT service management (ITSM) company with a mission to help their customers leverage intuitive technology to enable better, faster and more affordable innovation.
The Situation: Since its inception a little over a decade ago, Cherwell has been rapidly gaining traction in the competitive ITSM space—but they’re still one of the newer kids on the block with other new competitors emerging rapidly. To continue their growth and fend off competition, Cherwell wanted to expand its marketing channels, increase brand awareness, engage industry thought leaders and—of course—eventually drive leads.
The Solution: Given Cherwell’s position in the competitive ITSM space, the team at TopRank Marketing worked to design an influencer content campaign that was highly-targeted to key the decision-makers they wanted to reach. How? We knew in order to stand out in news feeds and build near-instant credibility with our content, we needed to understand what influences the target audience the most.
To uncover the people, publications, and content topics and types that “moved” our audience the most, as well as where they spent time on social media, we designed a new research tool—the RITHM report.
Using insights from the RITHM report to inform the content marketing approach, the resulting campaign included an eBook anchor asset, blog posts, an SEO-driven landing page, paid and organic social media.
The Results: According to Alison Munn, Social Media and Digital Marketing Lead at Cherwell: “Not only did this program meet the defined goals and objectives, but the results and process exceeded my expectations!”
With this campaign responsible for 22% of new revenue for Cherwell in 2017, it was a recent winner of the B2B Marketing Exchange “Killer Content Award”.
You can learn more about this program in the case study video below:
Case Study #3 – SAP SuccessFactors: Driving awareness and action by connecting to a specific audience pain point.
SAP SuccessFactors is a leading human capital management (HCM) suite that helps human resources (HR) professionals unleash the full potential of their workforce through transformation and engagement, and ultimately drive results across the business.
The Situation: For this niche human resources audience, employee wellness programs are part of the strategy to unleash the potential of their employees. However, the pain point for many organizations is finding a holistic solution in one place that also provides understanding of the true impact their efforts can have on the workplace. SAP wanted to drive awareness around their holistic solution, while also educating and engaging their audience.
The Solution: TopRank Marketing partnered with SAP SuccessFactors to craft an multi-pronged, influencer-driven content campaign that would not only raise awareness around their solution, but also provide their audience with credible, relevant, and actionable insights.
This campaign was anchored with an influencer eBook that featured insights from 10 top workplace culture, wellness, and technology experts, as well as internal experts from SAP SuccessFactors. In addition, other tactics such as a well-optimized landing page, social media promotion, and customized motion graphics were part of the mix.
The Results: For downloads, we saw a 272% increase over SAP’s established benchmark. In addition, the accompanying landing page boasted a 68% conversion rate. Lastly, organic social promotion of the content—from the brand and influencers—drove 86% of overall views and 69% of overall conversions.
Read the full SAP SuccessFactors influencer-driven content campaign case study.
The Big B2B Takeaway for Credible Content
We’re in an era of a distrust and indifference to B2B marketing messages—which means if buyers don’t find your content credible and trustworthy, they’ll move on.
From skepticism to standing out in a crowded and more seasoned field, each of the aforementioned brands were living the trends and looking for a way to capture the attention of their audiences.
By cleverly leveraging influencers to create more credible and authoritative content and more trusted amplification, these brands were able to deliver their audiences with thoughtful opinions and diverse insights, bolster brand authority and make more meaningful connections with their audiences. But perhaps the most exciting campaign result was that building credibility led to audience activation—or conversions in other words.
To put it simply, with the right strategy, insights and influencer infusion, credible content can help brands win over your audience at every stage of the buyer journey.
Want to learn more creating more credible content? Check out our post on building credibility and authority with content marketing.