Influencer marketing has become an area of strategic importance for marketing departments, according to a white paper Traackr published Thursday.

B2B technology companies are aware of the trend, according to the paper’s coauthor, business consultant Mark Schaefer, but they lag in implementing influencer marketing programs.

Interviews with 10 marketing experts — including some who built influencer marketing programs at Microsoft, IBM and Samsung — suggest that influencer marketing requires a fundamental shift in the marketing department, noted Traackr CMO Kirk Crenshaw.

Companies have to rethink how to go to market, he said. They also must acquire new skills, reconfigure measurement methods, and relinquish at least partial control of the message.

Trust in the subject matter experts is critical.

6 Emerging Trends

Experts interviewed for the paper highlighted six industry trends that currently are shaping B2B influencer marketing:

  • emergence of micro-influencers and their role vis-a-vis macro-influencers;
  • importance of leading with purpose rather than resorting to promotion;
  • relationship between expert voices and the brand voice;
  • need to move from campaign-driven activities to always-on engagement;
  • demolition of silos in favor of cross-functional collaboration; and
  • evolution of measurement from reach to outcomes.

Micro-Influencers and Macro-Influencers

Macro-influencers are celebrity endorsers — actors, retired politicians, YouTube and social media celebrities, for instance.

Micro-influencers, on the other hand, are individuals who work in their category or are truly knowledgeable, passionate and authentic. They are seen as a trusted source for buy recommendations.

Micro-influencers have more than 22 times more conversations each week than average consumers regarding recommendations on what to buy, based on…