This study explores the dynamics of influencer marketing in the B2B sector by drawing on employee advocacy, customer reference marketing and organisational endorsement theories, explicating the strategic application of influencer marketing in the B2B context, and revealing the challenges in influencer marketing faced by B2B organisations. We conducted twenty-two in-depth semi-structured interviews with senior management marketing professionals across different sectors. Our analysis of these narratives shows that B2B marketers advocate the concept of ‘influential marketing’ by differentiating it from the concept of influencer marketing in the B2C market. B2B influential marketing connotes trustworthiness, expertise, professionalism, and exchange of know-how, all of which are rooted in long-term and industry-specific relationships and business networks. This research contributes to the theorisation of B2B influential marketing by developing an integrated framework that deciphers the process of its strategic implementation. The vital managerial contributions in our study highlight the specific considerations for influential marketing in B2B organisations.
- business-to-business marketing
- social media marketing
- influencer marketing