CHOOSING INFLUENCE MARKETING OVER INFLUENCERS
Give It To Me Straight: Online versus offline, or paid media versus earned media, they are all just strategies to either establish or disseminate influential content. Consider for a moment marketing as an algorithm whereby a company is trying to reach the right person at the right time through the right delivery channel, using the right content communicated by the right influencer to achieve the desired action… I know it’s a mouthful. Establishing and distributing influential content is the very foundation of marketing (Person+Time+Channel+Content+Influencer=Desired Outcome). Great brands understand having the most influential content means very little if it never reaches the right person when he or she is receptive to the message. Conversely, reaching the right audience with the wrong content delivered by the wrong influencer is equally ineffective.
Is the message provided by an influencer more valuable to a potential buyer than the content of a customer’s review on Amazon, a local dealer or the brand itself? Do sponsored celebrities influence more potential customers than using the same amount of resources to lift proven content to a highly-refined target audience? Maybe, but the most successful brands do both. Many brands fall short in completing the marketing formula.
Top 3 Takeaways on Influence Marketing:
#3 Quality and Quantity: For many brands buying mass market exposure is something they can’t always afford or can’t afford for it not to work, like the Pets.com flop in 2000 when their advertising strategy helped collapse the company 268 days after being traded on the NASDAQ.
Brands generally have three major customer markets; Core, Adjacent, and Reach. When exposing a message to a Core customer market, it can be deduced that 80-90 percent of the recipients could or should be a patron. The Adjacent market is a 50/50 percentage. In a Reach market only 5-15 percent of unique impressions could or should be a customer. The point is simple, the more a company understands their markets, the more likely they are to partner with the right social influencers, procure more influential content and limit waste. It also sets the stage for correctly measuring a campaign, because the return on investment for marketing to an Adjacent market isn’t as high as a Core market.
We encourage our clients to have an in-depth understanding of the target market they are looking to reach. Then invest in quantity. This might mean more national level sponsorships with industry influencers, giving one influencer more money than the others, or simply lifting content by local market pros and dealers. But again, the most successful brands do both.
#2 Relevant or Popular: There’s no doubt people are influenced by a popular person or organization. Just think Nike and Michael Jordan. However, they are convinced by the people that are most relevant to their life. If your best friend wears Nike, chances are you’ll want to as well. A customer may have been exposed to a product through a social influencer, but when they read the customer reviews online they were convinced to buy a competitors brand instead. Companies frequently ask an influencer or advertising outlet who they reach and influence, but they rarely evaluate how that person or outlet plans to be relevant to the target market.
#1 Paid and Earned Media Collide: Touting a great review by a popular influencer has long been a marketing strategy for brands. But what happens when a small unknown YouTuber or blogger posts a review? Generally, the brand overlooks the content and the low amount of exposure it received. However, if the content is highly relevant to a customer segment and the only thing missing is exposure, why wouldn’t a brand invest resources to boost the material? Targeting the right person at the right time through the right channels today is far less difficult and much less expensive than ever before, and thus paying to increase the exposure of this relevant earned media could be a great use of capital.
Finally, nothing is preventing a brand or their agency (Frontier Media) from being a part of an influencer’s distribution strategy. An influencers organic reach is most certainly valuable, but spending some additional resources to cross-promote and boost content to a highly qualified target audience is only going supplement the success. This is a great example of taking control of the situation to reach the right person at the right time through the right delivery channel, using the right content by the right influencer to achieve a desired action.