Why Europe Must End Its 30-Year Digital Winter to Ensure Its Long-Run Future

As B2B Operations Digitize, Marketing Does Too: Enter the B2B Influencer 

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The consumerization of the B2B landscape has at its heart a central insight: people are people. Increasingly, they want the whole of their lives to be as convenient as possible — both the professional bits, and the personal bits. And while businesses may sell to other business, it is ultimately the individual decision makers who have the final say over B2B business decisions.

That’s why, as the next generation of behavioral expectations borrowed from buyers and suppliers’ personal lives are increasingly driving the workflows and innovations transforming B2B payments, so too is consumerization coming for other elements of the B2B ecosystem — including marketing.

That’s right — the era of the B2B influencer may soon be upon us.

The rise of digital B2B marketplaces, and the ongoing digitization of the B2B ecosystem more broadly, has created an environment where tactics like the use of influencers for B2B growth campaigns can potentially have an outsize return on investment (ROI) when benchmarked against traditional strategies.

But these aren’t your run of the mill TikTok influencers. For B2B influencers to play a transformative role, they and their campaigns need to be tailored to the specificities of their industry with clear value propositions.

Still, there are still some key approaches that B2B marketers can learn from their B2C cousins.

Read moreB2B is Going Digital and Getting More Personal

Winning Hearts By Targeting Minds

While B2C positioning often focuses on differentiation, lifestyle and emotional appeal to stand out in a crowded consumer market, B2B positioning should emphasizes expertise, credibility and the ability to deliver tangible business outcomes that can establish trust and reliability.

Sujatha Mamidibathula, head of SMB at TikTok, told PYMNTS it is a mistake to focus on virality alone, advising, “My suggestion is for SMBs to focus on community. Focus on building that and virality will come to you.”

B2B influencer marketing should prioritize content that is more informational, focusing on product and service features, performance and how to address specific business challenges. By engaging with businesses and understanding their pain points, influencers can provide insights that help providers enhance their offerings and better meet the needs of their B2B clientele. 

For example, within the construction technology space, Vivin Hegde, co-founder and managing partner for North America at Zacua Ventures, told PYMNTS: “You need to understand workflows very well. We use a term called gentle disruption for construction, as in, it’s not coming and breaking everything that exists… Filling the trust of people…is very important for product market fit.”

By identifying collaborative partnerships with potential subject matter experts within a specific industry, B2B firms can leverage influencer messaging campaigns that are both detailed and geared toward business objectives. 

“Creators are becoming this new distribution channel,” Kit Ulrich, general manager of creator shopping at LTK, told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster in October. 

Read moreThe Power of Precision: Driving Revenue From B2B Customer Data

The Impact of Positive Influence 

B2B transactions involve longer, more complex decision cycles with multiple stakeholders and departments involved. Decisions are usually based on rational factors such as cost-effectiveness, ROI and business needs.

With rising behavioral expectations fueling an experience-driven world, businesses must deliver relevant, personalized digital experiences across the entire B2B customer journey — but without comprehensive, trustworthy data, efforts might not yield the results firms expect. 

“The moment you slice the world through the lens of historical transactional behavior, you can then leverage a predictive GenAI framework and say something about the likelihood of those future transactions,” Pecan CEO and Co-founder Zohar Bronfman told PYMNTS. “It’s evolutionary in terms of how businesses can operate.” 

And while the B2B procurement process doesn’t exactly get the blood flowing, influencers can inspire businesses to embrace digital transformations and explore new ways to optimize their workflows and processes.

In highly regulated sectors like finance, influencers with expertise in compliance and regulatory affairs can offer valuable guidance to businesses. They can help businesses navigate complex regulatory landscapes and ensure compliance with relevant laws and standards.

As Anu Somani, senior vice president and head of global payables and embedded payments at U.S. Bank Global Treasury Management, told PYMNTS, “all the innovation that’s happening in the consumer space will move into the B2B world, as well.”