INFLUENCER MARKETING MANIFESTO
Firstly, thanks very much for visiting my Influencer marketing manifesto. The purpose of the manifesto is to provide a resource that helps the industry to engage in "best practice" Influencer marketing and deliver effective campaigns with clear ROI. I will keep adding to this over time - I've made a commitment to publish something every month - so please come back and check it out.
My belief is that over time, Influencer marketing will become a central component of all marketing campaigns. As data becomes ubiquitous and A.I becomes able to sift through that data, I believe we will all become "influencers" and this will be a component of all marketing campaigns.
Influencer marketing has gone through a turbulent and exciting decade, I first started using the term back in 2008 to describe the "new" kind of work my consultancy was doing - but it took a long time to get any traction. To me however, it wasn't just a new way of marketing, it was much more personal. I am lucky to have had the privilege to work with some of the greatest cultural icons of our time in film, fashion, music and art, and this had given me an acute understanding that there was more power and persuasion in the story and words of an everyday human, the stories these people told, than there was in a manufactured story - in fact the best kind of advertising often used real stories and real people to inspire and aspire. My feeling, was that in an increasingly cynical world, effective marketing would focus on finding individuals who were trusted by consumers, who had the ability to focus their attention and affect their choices and engage and create marketing campaigns around them. This, I believed, would eventually eclipse traditional advertising.
I now can see a future when all marketing activity is driven (at least in part) by Influencer marketing. Given the amount of negativity in the current market about Influencer marketing and suggestions that the "bubble is bursting" (I even had a CEO of a top five global ad agency tell me that Influencer marketing is a "fad"), my belief might seem a stretch.
If you take the time to read the below my hope is that I can persuade you that Strategic Influencer marketing is a lot more than getting a blogger to use a hashtag, that its the most targeted, powerful and honest means of creating awareness, authority and sales of any medium, and its just getting started.
"INFLUENCERS" - A DEFINITION
"An Influencer is an individual who has the ability to focus the attention or affect the PURCHASE opinions of consumers".
Note there is no mention of social media in my definition. Influencer marketing is not about only working with those who have strong social media followings, that is an incorrect assumption. The power at the centre of Influencer marketing is related to finding those who affect the opinion of consumers and working with them - wherever they. This could be a blogger, or it could be a Mother in the P.T.A, a business person, someone respected in a trade, a boy at the checkout in Walmart, a "Gatekeeper" to an Ultra High Net worth or a school teacher and their Social following might be large of relatively insignificant.
Social Media and "data" are the tools we use to find these individuals of "influence" and engage with them on. Most key mistakes and issues related to the efficacy of Influencer marketing can be traced back to focusing on the Social Media scale of an Influencer instead of focusing on the Influence of individuals. Its easy to see how this happened - surely if the SM following is large then they are an "Influencer" and we want to work with them? And as Influencer marketing tools and platform developed, promising marketers the ability to be able to find and communicate with Influencers they bamboozled with large Reach numbers and focussed on scale as the key metric. When you add in compelling stories where the media "revealed" Influencers with ultra-large followings, charging massive fees, it was understandable that the definition of an Influencer came to focus on their Social Media scale - but that is an incorrect assumption.
STRATEGIC INFLUENCER MARKETING
"A marketing plan that utilises individuals who have the ability to focus the attention and affect the decisions of a target market, achieving long term brand goals that CAN include AWARENESS, ASPIRATION, CONSIDERATION, positioning OR sales”.
Strategic Influencer marketing has never been about scale, its about "Influence", and "more scale" does not necessarily equal greater Influence. The key is finding the individuals who your consumer either trusts, respects or aspires too . And those people must align - at least partially - with your brands purpose, if your campaign is going to seem authentic to your audience. But not all Influencers are the same, there are multiple categories and each have the ability to play a different role and achieve a different goal for brands.