What Is It?
Influencer Marketing is not a new game in the marketing world and the concept is pretty simple. You enlist an individual or group with influence and credibility and you associate them with your brand. The intent is to have their credibility rub off on your brand so that you gain credibility and, hopefully, a larger following of consumers. Examples of common types of Influencer Marketing might include Brand Ambassadors and Celebrity Endorsement.
With that said, it’s important to note the difference between credibility and fame. A common failing for brands attempting to engage in Influencer Marketing is recognizing this distinction and simply engaging a “celebrity spokesperson”. In order to effectively engage with an “Influencer” for your brand, it’s important to select an association that meets the following criteria.
- Relevant: They are considered by your consumer base to be authoritative and influential in the specific arena in which your brand is a player.
- Relative: They are able to communicate and engage with your consumer base in ways that is easy to relate to and considered genuine.
- Respected: They carry enough influence to generate both feeling and action on the part of your consumer base. Without a compelling call to action the association has too limited a benefit.
What Can It Do?
One of the obvious benefits of marketing through the use of Influencers is growing brand awareness. While this is helpful, this is certainly not unique to Influencer Marketing. The real strength lies in its ability to create a very personal and powerful association between your brand and a specific group of consumers. They are not just aware of your brand. They consider it relevant to who they are and what they believe in. In effect, Influencer Marketing can shift consumer perceptions and buying patterns through a very personal association that is unlike anything possible with mainstream media campaigns.
To close, we’ll note that there are additional benefits to Influencer Marketing that make it a very flexible tool that can be used for just about any company or brand regardless of size. Following are a few of the biggest ones.
- Scalability: With Influencers, it’s not necessary to have a large national or international campaign. It is just as effective, if not more so, on a local or regional level. This allows for incredible focus on key pockets of influence.
- Affordability: Because it is scalable and investment levels are flexible, a program using Influencers like Brand Ambassadors can be an affordable option for just about anyone. The size of the campaign can be adjusted to virtually any size budget.
- Visibility: The ability of the competition to see your Influencer Marketing campaign is largely under your control. If you’re a small brand, you can implement a grass-roots campaign that is nearly invisible to your larger competitors until you have momentum that is difficult to stop.
That covers Part 1 of Influencer Marketing. We encourage you to keep an eye out for Parts 2-4 which will cover specific examples of successful Influencer Marketing campaigns and how they have proven successful against larger competitors.