4 key Trends from the Influencer Marketing Show 2018
I had the privilege of moderating at The Influencer Marketing Shows opening panel last week with Tom Cornish, Head of Influencer at Wavemaker, Ana Thorsdottir, Head of Inf marketing at MediaCom, and Cristina Canale, marketing Director for the Dutch watch brand "Clus".
It was a great panel with two very different sides of the industry represented, MediaCom and Wavemaker operate large global campaigns for brands and focus on finding large scale influencers that fit the brand values and can deliver the right content, the other end of the scale, gifting and UGC are not really their focus.
Clus meanwhile have focussed almost exclusively on utilising Influencer marketing to grow their brand, combining pure gifting with long term Influencer partnerships, they do everything in-house and are an Influencer marketing success story.
So the panel came from different sides of the Influencer marketing spectrum, but very much met in the middle and believe there is a time and a place for all of the above methods. And that’s the first key theme form the panel and show in general.
1. If someone says there is only "one correct way" of executing Influencer marketing, they are talking cobblers*
We have moved beyond arguing "this way" or "that way" is the right way to do Influencer marketing, the "Advertising VS Advocacy" discussion. For some brands, a highly polished, highly posed and manufactured advertisement style campaign might be what is needed - perhaps they are seeking awareness and to build aspiration into their product. For another brand, a "gifting only" campaign of Influencers with low follower volumes, seeking "UGC" only and genuine product love would suit - most will sit somewhere in the middle.
But if someone tells you "their way" is the only way, then they are talking cobblers.
2. If an Influencer platform tells you they can do it all, they are talking cobblers;
Following from the above, none of platforms at the show said they were the best at everything. Each has their particular strength and was comfortable talking about it. The Whalar peeps focused on the creativity of their Influencers, they even championed "small fry", with under 10k followers - this is great news - there is massive value in some of these Influencers, I just worked on a campaign for one of the largest utility companies in Europe with over a hundred Influencers who all have sub 5k followers and the UGC was astounding - it was like a full ad campaign, there is real value in this and its good its being recognised.
Indahash have a really thorough, global platform and super strong network, as do Tailify, and they provide a combination of ML tools with human service and account management to help you create the right strategy. Onalytica provide excellent social listening and what I describe as "circles of Influence" so you garner a deep understanding of who is moving the dial in your Industry, then there are HYPR & Influential (who were not at the show but were talked about ) which have "audience search metrics" searching by psychographics which is my favoured way of search. A relative newcomer Billion Dollar Boy, even has a nice shiny new ROI tool for measuring InstaStory views.
3. If someone tells you there is only one metric you should use to report and measure Influencer Marketing - they are also talking cobblers!
The consensus has arrived, there is no a "one way" to report. Influencer marketing can affect every part of the customer funnel, from first to last touch. Ana, Tom and Cristina agreed that the approach should be to first find out what the client needs - awareness / validation / sales etc - then create a campaign that focuses its resources, Influencers and content on achieving this, then choose the suite of metrics that capture what’s needed.
“True engagement” should be reported on if its possible (its not always) and internal benchmarks should be set against whatever metrics are important for the client, Campaign Deus do an amazing job of this and I expect this to much bigger next year.
4. And finally, Virtual Influencers - they are most definitely not cobblers.
Any of you that have been reading my blog for a while will know that i’ve been working on and promoting Virtual Influencers for over a year and that I have a specific consulting stream that helps create and develop marketing campaigns utilising Virtual Influencers www.virtualinfluencer.agency and I believe in five years they will be ubiquitous and one of the most important parts of our Industry attracting billions in Investment..
Unfortunately, to date, I havn’t found many in our fair industry that agree with me, infact most believe they are a dangerous idea.
The key retort I get is “humans won’t bond with robots”, or “you cant understand their motivations” now there is plenty that proves the opposite to this, but I will get to those matters in another post.
For this post, I was thrilled when the CEO of Webgains - Richard Dennys no less, a highly successful and well respected entrepreneur who has been at the front of the business curve for many years - and been proved right - spoke on the main stage about Virtual influencers and that he believed brands needed to take notice and start working with them or creating them as they would become a major force in Influencer and affiliate marketing in the next few years. Big claps to Richard! (And if your a brand and want to get going then call me up, i’ve got the script writers, tech and character dev wizards ready to go at my www.virtualinfluencer.agency )
In conclusion, it felt to me that the whole industry was growing up, agencies and tech are becoming more confident in their various approaches and areas of speciality and have lost the need to be “the only way”, collaboration and sharing was the theme of the day and this bodes well for the future.
Congratulations to Christopher Henley and team for putting on an amazing show, Until next year.
The Influence strategist - future proofing brands for the 4th Industrial revolution
*NOTE "Cobblers", is classic Cockney Rhyming slang meaning “nonsense”. It originates from 'cobblers' awls', the pointed hand-tools that cobblers use to pierce holes in leather - what does that rhyme with?