Marketing was built on the foundation of The Four P’s: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. In today’s B2B market however, the famous Four P’s have been joined by The Four M’s, which map out the basic steps in reaching influencers within a business. When used correctly, the Four M’s can expand your reach and turn prospects into sales qualified leads (SQLs).
In the traditional sense, earned influencer marketing targets the people at a business who hold some influence over those with the real purchasing power. This means that a B2B technology company selling IT management services sells to an operations manager other decision maker only after forming a bond with a secondary influencer in the company, such as a chief technology officer or CEO.
The method can mean something altogether different in B2C, where brands conduct paid influencer marketing by using social media influencers, such as industry leaders and celebrities, to capture the attention of consumers. Some B2B brands are able to take advantage of paid influencer marketing, but most make use of the earned version to successfully navigate their complex sales cycle.
Learn about the 4 M’s of earned influencer marketing and how to apply them to your marketing strategy today.
1. Make the Influencers
Find the influencers for each potential buyer and make them brand advocates to move companies toward a purchase decision.
While there are three main stages to the Buyer’s Journey – awareness, consideration and decision –every company still maintains unique sales cycle permutations. Yet the constant beyond these three stages in B2B is the web of secondary influencers. This dynamic exists in many companies preparing to make a large investment and it coincides with the need to pinpoint both primary buyer personas and secondary influencers in a B2B marketing strategy.
To connect to potential customers, you’ll need to create brand advocates out of these influencers by meeting them on their level through engaging marketing tactics. Leverage the credibility of your leadership team; have your executives reach out to discuss how your product or service can benefit their company. Look into the benefits of referral marketing and to get even more granular, invest in account-based marketing to lock in highly qualified leads.
2. Manage the Impact
Once you find your influencers, consider the impact you have on their view of your brand and what they may pass on to their superiors.
To continually optimize your identified web of secondary influencers, you need to manage the impact they have on your buyer. By connecting with influencers, you may believe that buyers will be more inclined to make a purchase, however there is a chance that our influencers are creating an opposite or null effect. Ask the following questions of your influencer marketing efforts to keep track of the possible impact they have on buyers.2
- Did my efforts cause an increased negative or positive view of our product?
- Did my efforts move the influencer along to the next stage of the purchase life cycle?
- Did my efforts take the influencer off the purchase path altogether?
- Did my efforts disrupt or enhance our brand message?
3. Monitor the Relationships
Monitor the relationship and conversations between your influencers and prospective clients to gain valuable feedback.
Influencer monitoring is designed to gauge the positive or negative conversations that exist around a brand, as well as how influencers are talking about your offering to your buyers.
Similar to social media monitoring, influencer monitoring is designed to gauge the positive or negative conversations that exist around a brand, as well as how influencers are talking about your offering to your buyers. Monitoring will give you a holistic view about their principles, outlook and what matters most to them and their company, such as cost savings, operational efficiencies or client satisfaction.
For example, think about a thought leader in your industry. Browse his or her Twitter profile to view the type of content he or she regularly advocates and endorses. Does it support the purpose and intent behind your company’s product or service, or is it making a statement against your offering?
By determining where your influencers stand, you can adjust your outreach accordingly. Rather than leading with the benefits of your product or service, you may want to start a conversation with them by addressing their concerns and specifically combatting each of their perceived pain points.
4. Measure the Results
Measure your results to improve future marketing initiatives.
Measurement is the most important piece of information for performance marketers. In this case, it’s the ability to gauge your return on marketing investment (ROMI) from your influencer marketing efforts. Consider the ROMI formula and isolate the financial gain generated by your influencer marketing efforts.
With secondary influencers at play, it’s likely that the deals you close as a result of influencer marketing are more strategic and of a higher net worth. In addition to ROMI, other influencer marketing measurements you want to track may include:2
- Which industries and influencers drove the most deals?
- What message permeated through a group of influencers the most?
- How many messages did certain personas need to move to the next stage?
- How effective were our targeting and tactics?
If your CEO has been itching for a way to tap into your buyers’ web of influencers, The Four M’s are a great place to start. Schedule a free consultation to discuss how influencer marketing works in your industry and get a free marketing plan summary to take away with you.