Inviting celebrities to speak at events used to be the ‘done thing’. Don’t get me wrong, brands and their marketers still love the cool-factor associated with celebrities. For example, we had comedian Eddie Izzard headlining at the MOI-developed Oracle Modern Business Experience (MBX) 2018.
But while Izzard no doubt got people excited, I don’t think he was the real reason why we achieved 4,286 registrations from a target of 3,700.
In recent years, I’ve been working closely with my clients to re-evaluate their attitudes towards influencers – people who act as social champions within their particular industry.
I’ve seen a surge in preference towards influencers over the traditional celebrity speaker. And there are good reasons for it. Influencers tend to:
- Have in-depth knowledge
- Extend the life of an event
- Be followed by Millennials
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room
I know that influencer marketing doesn’t have the best reputation right now. It was only recently that Samsung’s global CMO, Younghee Lee, talked about her pessimism around influencers.
But keep reading and you’ll see that B2C and B2B are worlds apart when it comes to influencers.
B2B influencers know what they’re talking about
While Eddie Izzard helped to bring in the punters, he isn’t an expert in cloud computing, AI, data analytics or any other hot topic in B2B technology. I know… it’s shocking.
A celebrity influences people through their image, whereas a B2B influencer makes an impression through their expertise.
Who do you think a B2B buyer is more likely to listen to when it comes to making a buying decision?
Extending the life of an event
Since B2B influencers breathe the same air as your audience, they won’t just rock up for an hour and then go home. They’ll help to generate interest before and after an event too.
When they tweet about how excited they are to be attending your event, they’ll probably mean it. Your audience will feel that sincerity and be more likely to engage with any pre- or post-event content that they share – even if it’s content you’ve created and published for them, as MOI often does for clients.
With influencers extending the life and impact of an event, you’ll sleep happier, in the knowledge that your budget is continuing to add returns.
Their influence doesn’t only last for the hour they’re speaking at the event, but for days and even weeks before and after. Spend a bit of time creating some content to support their message, and you’ll make an even bigger impact.
Millennials are now the largest demographic (though it apparently won’t stay that way for much longer – hello, Gen Z), and it’s a generation that our clients – the world’s biggest technology brands – are keen to attract.
Influencer marketing is still a key strategy because, strangely, while half of Millennials are now less trusting of influencers, the other half are more trusting.
Finding your influencers
You know why you should consider using influencers. Now it’s time to find them.
When you’re looking for influencers within the B2B space, you needn’t worry so much about the potential for controversy. They work in the same space as your brand, so they’d also be putting their own reputations on the line.
But you do need to think carefully about how relevant they are, their social reach, and how much they’ll resonate with your audience.
Technology makes things a whole lot easier. Being part of a fully integrated marketing agency that specialises in B2B technology, our event team has done this a lot. Plus, we already know some of the most influential people in the game, so please get in touch if you’d like any more advice.