You Ask, I Answer: Short or Long Term Influencer Partnerships?

In this series, I answer questions from the B2B Influencer Marketing Summit hosted by SAP and Onalytica. I participated in a panel discussion, a format that doesn’t really allow for deep dives into particular questions, so we’re tackling these questions individually here. Today’s question is:

Do you like short-term or more long-term partnerships?

Tune in to hear the more in-depth answer.

You Ask, I Answer: Short or Long Term Influencer Partnerships?

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Christopher Penn 0:00

In today’s episode, we continue with our questions from the B2B influencer marketing summit that was recently held by SAP and Analytica.

Today’s question is, in the context of B2B influencer marketing, do you like short term or more long term partnerships? For me, personally, I prefer to have more long term brand partnerships, because transactional stuff is fine, I’m certainly not going to say no to it, but developing an understanding of the brand, what they do, and how there’s their products or services are of benefit to people takes time, right? It takes time to to learn what a company does learn how it’s useful.

Try out the company’s products or services.

I’m a big proponent of influencers using the things that they are representing.

Right? I have substantial issues with people who make all kinds of claims about stuff they, they’re basically talking heads, they’ve been given some talking points by the brand.

And if you ask them, they don’t actually know anything about the product or service.

They just go.

Right sort of generic coverage of it.

I think an influencer if they want to be influential if they want to be perceived by their audience as credible, needs to know what it is that they’re being influential about.

Right? If you have, say, a piece of software like, you know, IBM Watson Studio, how well do you know it? How well can you use it? How well, can you tell somebody else about it in ways that are authentic, that are ways that are a first person perspective? Can you tell people what the weaknesses are? Can you tell people what it’s not good at? Those are really important talking points that a brand isn’t going to tell you, right? Brad’s gonna say, oh, yeah, this piece of software here.

People who work in finance definitely shouldn’t use it, because it behind the scenes is kind of a disaster with compliance, right? I’m praying, it’s probably not going to hand that information out to an influencer.

But somebody who has hands on experience with, say, that piece of software will know Yeah, this.

There’s some problems on the back end of the software, it’s a good piece of software.

But there’s these problems.

And so that’s only stuff that you can get through long term partnerships.

The other thing that’s good about long term partnerships, and this is more on the influencer side is that it? Once you’ve established trust, once you’ve established a relationship with the brand, it gets easier to do subsequent projects, right, it gets easier to come up with new ideas, it gets easier to build on the work that you’ve already done, and bring more benefit to the relationship.

Think about it.

Think about it, like, act like dating, right? What is a series of, you know, one night stands? was a series of first dates.

Yeah, but it’s, it’s entertaining for some people.

But you never really get to, to experience any depth with that, right? Because you’re always moving on to something new.

And the same is true in this context.

If you’re always, you know, representing this piece of software this week, and this company next week and stuff, and you’re not learning about what they do and how they actually work, you’re gonna have a hard time.

Seeing the big picture around that company, you’re gonna have a hard time talking credibly about the company, in depth.

B2B is different than B2C B2B.

Marketing is very often collaborative.

And they’re typically for at least for big ticket purchases, there are a lot of decision makers there are a lot of information gathers right think about how a enterprise B2B purchase works.

Do you have a team of people putting together a shortlist of companies to talk to you have researchers gathering information doing their due diligence, you have all that information bubbling up to key stakeholders who then meet with one or more of the parties involved in in an RFP process or something? And all along the way? The people that are gathering the information to help the decision be made.

They’re going out to influencers and analysts and reviews and stuff trying to figure out what who even belongs on the list.

If you have a long term partnership with an influencer, there’s a good chance that that influencer has had and created much more content about you than in a short term relationship, right? You think about it, you know, they wrote one blog post or put up a LinkedIn post or or did one YouTube video with you and then they’re off, and how much how easy is it going to be for some One who’s doing research about that company to stumble across that one blog post, not very, if you have a long term partnership where that influence is creating a body of work around you, for years, there’s a good chance that someone doing their due diligence on on whatever product or service, it’s going to matter, right? It’s got to be found.

I’ve talked for years about using IBM Watson Studio.

And before that IBM Watson analytics.

I’m a member of the IBM champions, I do stuff with IBM on a fairly regular and frequent basis.

I talk about IBM, in my talks, I showcase their software where it’s appropriate to do so the probability of someone who follows me for any amount of time hearing about IBM in a positive light, but a fair one is pretty high.

And so the next time somebody who’s doing their research, you know, if they happen to come across one of the many, many pieces of content I’ve created about IBM, they’ll go okay, this, this person recommends that this person seems to have some hands on experience with them.

Let’s include that input into the RFP process questions to ask the different companies.

That’s, I think the benefit of those long term influencer marketing relationships in B2B Especially, the decision cycles are long.

There’s a lot of stakeholders.

There’s a lot of research and gathering of information.

And if you have a long term partnership with an influencer, there’s there’s more information there about you to be found during the buying process.

I think it’s really important.

But that’s the second question from the B2B influencer marketing Summit.

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