‘B2B influencers’ like CEOs and doctors are seeing a surge in demand from brands for marketing campaigns. Here are 5 key findings from a new survey.

  • B2B influencers, those with “expertise that contributes to professional opinion,” are on the rise.
  • 75% of B2B businesses are already leveraging B2B influencers like CEOs, academics, and doctors.
  • Here are four other key findings from a new survey published by ad agency Ogilvy.

According to a new study from the ad agency Ogilvy, B2B influencers have become all the rage in influencer marketing, with 75% of B2B businesses already using them in their campaigns.

Ogilvy surveyed over 550 senior leaders from B2B brands around the world, including EY, JPMorgan, Nokia, and IBM.

According to the company, B2B influencers have “credible expertise rooted in proven experience that contributes to professional opinion.” Company founders, C-suite executives at brands, researchers, doctors, and academics are examples of B2B influencers. B2C creators, on the other hand, are more trendsetters and tastemakers, as defined by Ogilvy.

The following are five key findings from Ogilvy’s research.

1. 75% of B2B businesses are already leveraging B2B influencers for marketing campaigns

Furthermore, 93% of CMOs intend to increase their use of B2B influencers, and more than half of those who do not intend to use them in the future.

“This reflects the increasing demand we’re seeing from clients who are investing in the space,” said Rahul Titus, global head of influence at Ogilvy.

2. 67% of B2B influencer campaigns outperformed brand-only campaigns in terms of marketing performance.

In addition, more than three-quarters of marketers predicted that influencer marketing would outperform brand-only marketing in the near future.

According to the Ogilvy study, the lack of measurable outcomes in influencer marketing has traditionally been a barrier in securing marketing budget increases. To justify marketing spend or budget increases for campaigns and initiatives, the majority of marketers (84%) require proof of a return on investment (ROI).

Many influencer-marketing campaigns are classified as “awareness” campaigns, which aim to spread the word about a specific brand. The success of these is typically measured using metrics such as social reach, engagement, or shares, none of which are directly related to a measurable ROI.

However, according to this study, B2B influencer campaigns have an impact on generating sales rather than simply spreading the word about a product, with 43% of marketers reporting increased sales or other clear ROI from them.

3. 89% of C-suite marketers recognize the value of using employees as influencers in their businesses.

Employees, in addition to having access to large audiences, can communicate with the industry in ways that brands and independent thought leaders cannot.

“If you ask any CEO or CMO what the special ingredient is for their business success, they’re going to tell you that employees are the real strength and the biggest asset to their business,” James Baldwin, business director of B2B influence at Ogilvy, said during a panel presenting the report. “There’s this huge untapped opportunity for brands to use their employees as influencers.”

Beth Saint, CMO at asset management firm Schroders, stated that her company is heavily invested in employee advocacy.

“We look around and we’re sitting on an amplifier, our people,” she stated. “We’re absolutely sitting on something that can have 10 times the reach, and that’s almost free.”

4. 90% of marketers believe that B2B influencers on social media are important for staying current in their industry.

And, on a daily basis, more than half of them cited B2B creators as their primary source of information.

5. In addition to LinkedIn, YouTube is the most popular platform for B2B influence.

YouTube was rated as a significant platform by 50% of B2B marketing teams, followed by Facebook (48%), and Instagram (46%).

Apart from LinkedIn, which has already established its dominance in this space, the study asked marketers about their preferred platforms for B2B influencer marketing.

LinkedIn has leaned into its creator network in recent years, positioning itself as a place for professionals to share not only business knowledge, but also entertaining content.

LinkedIn’s most recent change was the addition of a “paid partnership” label, similar to those found on other social-media platforms. When a brand pays a creator to promote a product or service, this label appears, indicating that brands are increasingly hiring influencers on the platform.

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