You Ask, I Answer_ Influencers in Highly Regulated Industries

Robert asks, “This is good information, but I have a more basic question about B2B influencer marketing. My company manufactures specialty chemicals for a niche market. We know that companies use our products, but we need some influencers to help drive our sales more. The problem is that companies that use our products are typically quite secretive about their patented products, which are typically used in highly regulated environments.

To counter this secrecy, I have been blogging for my company on the company’s blog site about published reports in scientific journals where individual researchers and research groups have used our products successfully. This has helped drive sales a little bit, but not much. I also do social media outreach (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) on behalf of my company.

What I would really like to do if find influencers who can speak credibly about our products. Unfortunately, the people who would be the best influencers work in this niche industrial space and are bound by company policy and/or NDAs not to talk about what they do. So, given all of that, how do I go about finding people who are influencers but who can also talk about how our products can make these products better? Or am I sort of stuck since this is a normally-highly-regulated niche market?”

There are two fundamental strategies for dealing with this situation. One requires significant investments of time; the other, money. Watch the video to learn both.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Robert asks, I have a more basic question about b2b influencer marketing. My company manufactures special chemicals for a niche market. We know that companies, user products, we need influencers to help drive our sales more. And I’ve been blogging, my company’s blog and social media, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, on behalf of my company, etc. What I really want to do is find influencers. You can speak credibly about our products. Unfortunately, people who’d be the best influencers work in this space and are bound by MBAs and company policy to not talk about what they do. So given all that, how do I go about finding people who are influences but it can also talk about our products

make these products better and or my stuck since this is a highly regulated market. Good question. not uncommon and b2b because b2b, especially once you get down in the specific niches does have

not as many industry

interest and those influencers typically are as you mentioned locked down to some other company so you have two choices here fundamentally it’s builder by

the first choice is to build your own influencers and this is it may be you but it may also be other people in the company who are subject matter experts that you can use and instead of focusing on building an influencer program, you’re going to help them build their personal brands. So you’re going to help them get published more you’re going to help them be prominent on the networks and then the places where they are most credible and have the highest reach

in specific markets, especially scientific, medical and pharmacy markets. Though the influence there may not be in LinkedIn, for example, although that’s not a bad place to be.

But it may be in scientific journals. It may be in books, maybe an academic publishing it may be at conferences for

example if if you make chemicals that would be appropriate for say oncology, you may want to look at it at a an event like ASCO, the American Society of cancer oncologists.

And so you’re going to build your own influencers, that’s one avenue. And that’s going to take a long time, it will take a while for people to get comfortable building their personal brands, be proficient at it, make the time for it, which is a real problem with subject matter experts. They are quite rightly focused so heavily on being experts that they don’t have time to do the legwork around it. And so if you’re committed to this path, you may want to have a someone who’s a junior marketer or a coach or an admin or something, do the legwork on behalf of that person posting for them, for example, recording conversations and transcribing them and creating content around those so you

You up, you may want to create a content engine around one or more subject matter experts. I recommend having as many as possible

in highly regulated markets, in all b2b markets. If someone leaves the company, they take their personal brand with them there, there is no way to transfer that brand to somebody else. So one of the most important things is to have a deep bench of subject matter experts so that if one or more leave, you have the ability to continue on with the program and have people be prominent, ideally, at least one of the people who is on your bench is

an executive, especially someone who’s got a big stake in the game. So a founder, a co founder, a CEO, someone who is materially invested in the company and is unlikely to leave because they have this this massive commitment. So that’s the bill to push the by approach.

is even more

could be more expensive. But it’s more interesting because just as people leave companies to go elsewhere to go to what they perceive as greener pastures, there is the opportunity to go scout and recruit someone. So if there is someone in your field in your industry who is highly influential, that might be a consideration for hiring, like equally true, you might have things like how large is your LinkedIn network as part of the acquisition process for new talent.

Now, again,

you might end up just grabbing true subject matter experts and then having a team of people around that person to help create and promote and things for them

but that’s not the worst thing in the world to consider when you’re when you’re hiring is what kind of of publicity priorities do we also want a high ranking or a highly visible person to have within the industry and I would suggest

When you do that, make sure that it is explicitly stated as part of the job description. And perhaps even in their employment agreement that they agreed to spend a certain amount of time promoting the company on your behalf and with clear requirements so that they know what they’re getting into. And you know what it is that you’re likely to get

when I worked with a couple of pharmaceutical companies at a at a past role. There were folks who were legitimate subject matter experts and they had speaking and publishing as requirements the same as like a tenured professor almost. So they had to do a certain amount of work in order to maintain their their status within that community.

If I had to pick an approach I would pick the build approach because once you have a personal branding team established within a company, it becomes easier to apply that team to multiple executives to multiple subject matter experts and as people come and go

They go into the machine and as and then see their brand rise. That machine also is in some ways a a fringe benefit for employees. If they if an employee wants to participate, wants to promote the company and wants to grow their personal brand, having that team of experts or having a team of marketers who are skilled in building someone’s personal brand be available is the way to go. Because

not only is it a benefit to the employees, but it’s actually a disincentive for people to leave because they know once they leave the company and once they lose that access to that team, the train stops rolling right there. They then have to do all that work for their personal brand. They no longer have someone doing it for them. So they’re

if they care about that prominence, if they care about that publicity, they may be less inclined to leave for greener pastures. So it is

A potential fringe benefits. So good question. challenging question.

If you want to take a look at, you know what a team like that looks like,

go to an into

some of the the video is on Gary van or Chuck’s YouTube channel. Now, he has a team of 20 doing his self promotion. And so that’s almost certainly unrealistic for any initiative. You start out with, at least in the in the beginning, you’re going to have one person a more junior person, the beginning but they can still fulfill the same basic activities which is creating content it’s it’s the the standard content marketing content, create, distribute, activate measures a little create content on behalf of your subject matters. They’ll publish it, they’ll distribute it they’ll reach out to other people who are prominent in the space who are not competitors publications for example, and then they’ll measure and provide updated reporting to the subject matter experts about what’s happening with their personal

brand

but that would be that would be the start get somebody who’s got a year to a marketing experience who can be trained and can learn things like crazy teach them how to do personal branding on behalf of someone else and then set them free and provide provide metrics for it. So great question Robert. As always, if you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments. Subscribe to the YouTube channel on the newsletter and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care

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