75% of B2B marketers now investing in influencer marketing, says Ogilvy report
According to a new report from Ogilvy, B2B influence has reached a global tipping point, positioning itself as one of the most rapidly growing priorities in marketing
Here's everything you need to know.
Substantial usage and value
Surveying marketing leaders from regions spanning the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the USA, the research demonstrates that c-suite executives are increasingly recognizing the potential of B2B influence activities in cultivating a reputable brand image and facilitating lead generation. Nearly half (49%) believe that influencers can enhance the credibility and trustworthiness of their brands, while 40% have witnessed improved lead generation and sales outcomes due to their influencer marketing strategies.
Untapped potential remains
Despite the high adoption rates, B2B influencers have yet to unlock their full potential. The research findings suggest that teams have not fully harnessed the power of post-sale influence, despite 47% acknowledging the potential for B2B influencers to have the greatest impact in post-sale interactions when executed effectively. With 60% of respondents still not experiencing enhanced lead generation from their B2B marketing endeavors, there exists a significant opportunity to realize greater value from B2B influencer marketing immediately.
Furthermore, the research reveals a mutually beneficial relationship between employees and influencers, a concept that has largely escaped the notice of many CMOs. Only a small number of them have recognized that employees themselves can serve as influencers, representing a missed opportunity for return on investment (ROI).
Rahul Titus, global head of influence at Ogilvy, commented on the findings: "“This is the first research in the space that clearly shows the untapped potential to be gained with B2B influencers. Some incredible CMOs, as part of this study, are showing examples of influencer impact up and down the customer journey, proving that influencer marketing is the most versatile weapon in the armory for B2B CMOs.”
Beth Saint, CMO at Schroders, reflected on the implications of the report’s findings: “The untapped potential is to unlock every individual within their circles to influence and advocate on behalf of the brand. It’s not really a question of how or should - but when. Those who move first and move faster will have the competitive advantage of space, but brands that are yet to develop their own influencer strategy, are already playing catch up with their competitors.”
Top 3 things for CMOs need to consider
1. Peer-to-peer 2.0
Recognized as the most trusted and effective marketing channel, this approach holds immense value in reassuring potential buyers. As we move toward an era where 75% of the workforce will be digital natives by 2025 (as per Harvard Business Review), businesses must adapt to the new reality of digital relationships and professional communication, which are becoming increasingly integrated with the physical realm.
2. Holistic growth
Influencers are more than mere content conduits meant solely for promoting products to new audiences. The research underscores how comprehensive business growth can be achieved by incorporating influencers across the entire business spectrum, from involving them in client meetings and engaging them in conversations with employees to including them in research and development sessions for product and service enhancement.
CMOs should recognize that influencers not only drive views, likes, and comments but also foster sustainable business growth by delivering better service, leading to increased sales and client retention. Notably, 44% of CMOs acknowledged that integrating B2B influencers into post-sale experiences represents the most significant untapped opportunity.
3. Employees as influencers
CEOs and CMOs concur on the factors that contribute to business success. It is not solely dependent on accurate balance sheets, the latest CRM systems, or even the charisma of company founders. 90% of c-suite executives recognize their employees as their most valuable assets. The collective network of a company's employees is, on average, ten times larger than the company itself. Activating an employee advocacy network can enable brands to access this invaluable, untapped resource. 89% of c-suite marketers acknowledge the immense value of using employees as influencers for their businesses.
About Ogilvy B2B influence
Ogilvy is the first agency globally to launch a specialized B2B influence division, tapping into the rapidly expanding sphere of brand influence. With experts in over 40 markets, Ogilvy stands as the world's largest and most celebrated integrated Influence agency, now offering the most extensive B2B influence services. Ogilvy's influence business has secured the title of the most awarded influence agency worldwide for the past five years, celebrated for its ability to deliver impact in line with the pace of cultural shifts – real people driving real impact. The agency has now embarked on the first-ever global research endeavor in this burgeoning field, reflecting the significant growth it has witnessed in influencer marketing, currently valued at $50bn.