FIR B2B #13: Why Online Influencer Marketing is a Waste of Time

FIR B2BPaul again anchors the podcast solo this week. In this episode:

News & Trends

There’s good news and bad news for marketers in this week show – mostly good news. FierceCMO has an interview with Gartner’s Laura McLellan in which McLellan discusses research that indicates that companies are redirecting budgets from sales to marketing in recognition of the fact that more early-funnel work is being done independently by customers. That’s marketing’s sweet spot. Top executives are clearly coming around to the understanding that marketing matters, particularly as customer referrals become a critical lead generator. But that means marketing needs to own the customer relationship, and they’ll have to fight sales and customer support for that privilege. Nevertheless, we could be entering the golden age of marketing, she suggests.

The news isn’t as good from Forrester Research, which reports that only 14% of respondents to its survey rated their content marketing efforts as very good. Most said they’re doing only a fair to middlin’ job. Forrester lays the blame squarely at the feet of marketers, saying they’re too beholden to their thought leadership comfort zone and don’t give buyers enough of the case studies, technical advice and research that drive decisions.

Special Guest: Nick Hayes of Influencer50

Special guest Nick Hayes agrees that marketers are too reluctant to engage with customers directly. Pressure to prove ROI and use of marketing automation tools has created a culture of statistical accountability in which the only activities worth using are the ones that boil results down to a number, he says. Incredibly, most marketers he has spoken to say they wouldn’t attend a dinner with the top influencers in their market because the results couldn’t be quantified.

Hayes is particularly skeptical of influencer marketing, the hot new trend that tries to convince people with big online presences to promote products to their friends and followers. Hayes and his colleagues at Influencer50 have been on a multi-year campaign to convince people that online influence is overrated in B2B markets. His 2007 book, Influencer Marketing, makes a persuasive case for devoting much more attention to policymakers, consultants, academics and even competitors.

In our interview, Hayes draws a distinction between true influencers and social media “noisemakers” and offers advice on how to find and cultivate the influencers who really matter.

Follow Nick’s blog, The Buyer-side Journey,.


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About Your Hosts

Paul GillinPaul Gillin is a veteran technology journalist and a thought leader in new media. Since 2005, he has advised marketers and business executives on strategies to optimize their use of social media and online channels to reach buyers cost-effectively. He is the author or co-author of five books, including Social Marketing to the Business Customer (2011), the first book devoted entirely to B2B social media marketing. He is also a social media trainer and coach at Profitecture, a training firm for B2B companies and their channel partners.

Allan SchoenbergAllan Schoenberg is based Vice President, Corporate Public Relations and Communications at TIAA-CREF in New York. As part of the firm’s Enterprise Communications team within Marketing, this role helps the team drive firm-wide corporate communications, employee communications, reputation and crises management, social media, CEO positioning and public policy communications. He has more than 20 years of experience in B2B communications, including his work for Accenture, Edelman Worldwide, Fleishman Hillard and CME Group..

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Posted by Paul Gillin on 07/30 at 08:46 AM

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