Did influencers rewrite the Marketing Rulebook in 2019?
Haresh Nayak, Managing Director, C LAB, looks back at the Inflencer Marketing ecosystem in 2019 and writes about the ideal way of going about an Influencer Marketing campaign.
In the late 1800s, RT Davis Milling Company coined the concept of ‘Influencer Marketing’ by collaborating with Nancy Green for their brand Aunt Jemima. Little did they know that in the years to come, this concept would probably be one of the most engaging advertising avenues. One channel that has been trending in 2019 is Influencer Marketing without a doubt. By using an influencer that your target audience trusts and values, the company leverages the creator’s authenticity, creativity and skill to get the brand message heard. Increasingly, they’re also helping drive sales.
In today’s time, consumers want to know the functionality of the product before they make a purchase, while brands are doing exactly as per consumer demand. Hence, Influencer Marketing is no longer considered an option, but it has successfully made a sturdy spot on all brand marketing plans. This mainstream marketing channel is not only more cost effective compared to the other mediums, but italso enables niche marketing by aligning the right influencer with the right brand and thereafter connect effectively with the final consumer. With a massive number of involved audiences and fans that crave quality content, influencers are becoming an attractive partner for deeper collaborations. This new era of influencer marketing gives a direction to the brands on how they can innovatively and seamlessly integrate key opinion leaders in their campaigns to significantly build reach in scale.
Influencers and Influencer Marketing may seem as an everyday phenomenon, but let me tell you it is not as easy as it seems. Being in the business for years now, I have closely observed many campaigns that have been created with an ad hoc approach.
So, what would be the ideal way of going about an Influencer Marketing campaign?
Choosing the right influencers
Being able to engage with the right people all comes down to targeting the right set of people you want to reach, which is done by picking the right influencers. The best way to do this is by understanding your audience and studying the influencer analysis. We personally approach this with a lot of data backing. We use deep insights of the influencer’ssocial footprints, geographical presence, category understanding, gender split, etc. This ensures we have the right fit for the right consumer.
There are several ways to utilise an influencer. However, most marketers tap on product placement by sending the influencer a product and request them to review the same through a video or a static post. This approach can be used across categories, be it clothing, cell phones, automobiles, etc.
The Influencer space is currently saturated. There are macro, micro as well as nano influencers. Hence, to create a clutter breaking campaign, one needs to think outside of the box. It is important for the chosen influencers to craft content that aligns with the brand objective and their audiences, respectively.
This type of influencer marketing is pushing the boundaries and ensuring that brands incorporate something different into their marketing strategy. This then creates a whole new landscape for brands to experiment and put in place the creative ideas that they want to use throughout their marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is very powerful, but it requires a different approach. If we don’t play by the right rules, we won’t harness its full potential.
Explore new avenues & invest in them
Like I mentioned before, product placement is the go-to marketing strategy for most brands. However, today brands like Mondelez, Swiss Tourism, JBL, etc., are seeking new ways of connecting with the audience and are also heavily investing in these methods.
Let’s look at brands such as ITC, who invited Michelin Star Chef Philippe Conticini from Paris as a category expert and created a Guinness world record for the most expensive chocolate ever made. Another brand would be Mondelez International’s campaign for Cadbury Dairy Milk Spready. The brand targeted micro-communities of home bakers along with food influencers and various online food channels.
Through these examples, we see how adding extra value into the influencer relationship has strengthened the campaign and created an impact that’s larger than life. This approach generates authentic content from the influencers as the engagement level between both the parties is highly active.
While marketing excellence is important, ROI is of core importance. To measure the impact, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula, but it is a case by case approach as the objective for every campaign is different from the other. For established brands the campaign objective is to drive sales, while a new brand’s campaign objective will be brand awareness. The results are achieved through specific tools that track key performance indicators like reach, impressions and follower growth. To boost credibility, a data driven organisation will extract the social media engagement data through its analytical tool. Transparency is a business virtue; hence, it is also possible to determine which influencer has been the most effective and the kind content that the target audience has appreciated the most.
According to Adweek, the industry is set to reach $10 billion in worth by 2020. I believe in the coming years the emphasis on micro-influencers will increase, the advertising guidelines will be stringent, and Influencer Marketing will be redefined as an integration of the right idea with the right influencer on the right platform with data at the heart of it.