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The 4 M’s of Influencer Marketing

By: Andrea Panno

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 of influencer marketing 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 or 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 different altogether 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. A prime example is aiming for a shoutout or endorsement from a well-known industry influencer on LinkedIn, the most popular social media platform for B2B marketers.

As one of the top three trends identified by Sagefrog for B2B marketing in 2023, promoting brand reputation and thought leadership through influencer marketing is a valuable and effective tool for successful lead and sales generation.

What are the 4 M’s of Influencer Marketing?

These proven methods will help boost your influencer marketing capabilities and improve your B2B campaigns’ targeting abilities, reach, and effectiveness.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing for B2B companies is a marketing strategy that involves partnering with influential people or thought leaders in a specific industry or niche to promote a company’s products or services to their followers or audience. Unlike traditional B2C influencer marketing, where the focus is on consumer-facing products, B2B influencer marketing aims to build brand awareness, thought leadership, and credibility for a company in a specific industry or market.

In B2B influencer marketing, the influencers may include industry experts, analysts, consultants, and other influential figures who have a significant following in the relevant business community. They may create content or participate in webinars, podcasts, or other events to promote a company’s products or services, provide valuable insights and perspectives, and share their experience and expertise with their audience. The goal of B2B influencer marketing is to leverage the influencer’s authority to build trust and credibility for your brand, increase its reach and visibility, and ultimately generate leads and sales.

The 4 M’s of Influencer Marketing & How to Use Them for Your Marketing Strategy

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 (ABM) to lock in highly qualified leads.

ABM is one of the top marketing trends and tactics for 2023 according to our annual B2B Marketing Mix Report, and involves identifying, obtaining, and marketing to targeted, high-value accounts and communicating directly with decision-makers who have authority in large purchasing or contractual decisions. This strategy is especially successful for B2B companies because it targets executives directly, filters out unqualified prospects, and aligns marketing and sales on strategy, content, and account engagement.

4 steps for getting started with account-based marketing

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 LinkedIn 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? If it’s the ladder, then avoiding an endorsement from that individual is likely the best decision.

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.

In addition to your chosen influencers supporting your brand and business, perhaps you can benefit from doing the same for them, as co-marketing is another leading trend in 2023 for B2B marketers. When companies are strategically aligned with growing their clientele and industry through their respective services, the growth potential can be limitless, and the payoff can be fruitful for all involved.

the future of b2b marketing: emeging trends & tactics

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?

Closing Thoughts on B2B Influencer Marketing

The Four M’s of influencer marketing—Make the influencers, Manage the impact, Monitor the relationships, and Measure the results, are valuable principles to follow when executing a B2B influencer marketing initiative. This approach to influencer marketing can expand your company’s reach and turn prospects into SQLs.

Companies can optimize their influencer marketing efforts by managing the impact their influencers have on their buyers and monitoring the relationship and conversations between their influencers and prospective clients. Ultimately, promoting brand reputation and thought leadership through influencer marketing is a valuable and effective tool for successful lead and sales generation, even in the B2B sector.

Implementing the 4 M’s in Your Organization

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, but we can help you take your influencer marketing a step further. Contact us today to discuss how influencer marketing works in your industry.

how can we accelerate your success?

  1. Breaking Down the Four Ms of Influence Marketing for Better ROI, Business 2 Community
  2. Breaking from Tradition: The Four Ms of Influence Marketing, Convince & Convert