Influencer Marketing – Why it’s Working but Credibility is Critical !

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Picture Credit: US soccer hero Alex Morgan from BusinessInsider.com

If you take a couple of minutes to read Alex Morgan’s “Letter to my Younger Self”, you will realize that she embodies an ‘attitude of gratitude” and it sure sounds like the Morgan family deserves a great deal of credit for her success – but, of course, she has the talent, drive, and skills to execute. Thank God they AND SHE recognized. IAI knows an ice hockey daughter who is greatly talented and I only wish I were half the parent that Superman Mike Morgan has been to Alex. When you want to be an Influencer, think of Alex: as Heavy points out, “She has countless endorsements. She has authored children’s books. She is immensely popular.” Her 2014 book, Saving the Team (The Kicks) was all about empowerment. To me, that is what makes her an influence marketer. According to the BusinessDictionary, “Empowerment is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction.”

Influence marketing is not a new term (here’s a free 2013 eBook) but it’s not just about following “early adopters” and even less about “celebrity branding.” The authors of the eponymous book, Danny Brown (audio here) and Sam Fiorella, partner at Sensei Marketing, a customer experience consultancy explain popularity does not equal influence as Danny explains in his blog and customer acquisition and development must be supported by influence marketing. Sam notes that “author and blogger Seth Godin has been very critical of the prevailing groupthink that social media influence is a numbers game, arguing that “once you focus on numbers you invite more noise.”

The goals should be to increase social media and consumer awareness, boost sales, and improve your brand reputation, according to Onalytica. They report that social networks now influence 74% of consumers’ buying decisions.  Accordingly, 81% of marketers who have used influencer marketing judge it to have been effective. According to Bloomberg, $255 million is spent on influencer marketing every month ! Here are the key connectors uniting marketing and sales:

  • Influencer marketing generates twice the sales of paid advertising
  • Purchasing decisions are more often influenced by expert or thought leader recommendations than traditional advertising
  • Recommendations are up to 50 times more likely to trigger a purchase

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Picture Credit: Onalytica

The four key steps are designed to support this goal: “Engage with the right influencers at the right time with the right content”

  1. Identify your company’s key influencers.
  2. Engage effectively through content seeding and social outreach.
  3. Measure the ROI and performance of your influencing activities.
  4. Scale your program to influence more.

In the social media saturation age, (which was already achieved in 2012, according to eMarketer). But caution, Camille Rodriguez of Polka Dot Impressions warns, “Saturation usually leads to mass-exodus…” Saturation is already reached asymptotically by the Millennials, according to Smart Insights.com. At almost 6 hours a day, digital media is widely consumed across age groups.

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Picture Credit: Smart Insights

So it all comes to having a digital marketing strategy as a staggering 46% of brands don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy, while 16% do have a strategy but haven’t yet integrated it into their marketing activity, according to this Managing Digital Marketing 2016 report (free download).

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