Influencer marketing is now a mainstream form of online marketing. It has been a buzzword for a while now and the term is used regularly, but do brands understand how influencer marketing contributes to return on investment?
Pierre Cassuto, global chief marketing Officer at Humanz, which is active in the USA, Brazil, Israel, Turkey, Nigeria, India and South African markets, talks about the evolution of influencer marketing and what is coming next:
1. Maturity: Influencer marketing is no longer in its infancy. Globally, it may now feel like it’s going through its messy teenage years, but it is also quickly moving towards maturity in countries like the USA.
2. Shift: One of the great signs of maturing is the shift from campaign-based influencer interactions to fully-fledged always-on influencer programs that feature bespoke brand pages for creators to apply to join, such programs and benefits.
3. Competition: While the competition for top creators is getting fierce, the ROI that brands are seeing from these programs can be up to 10 times higher than the one they get from standard influencer campaigns.
4. Programmes: Always-on influencer programs offer more safety to creators who can stop chasing brand deals and can instead focus on coming up with better creative ideas and content.
5. Sales: As an insider, influencers often get access to discounts and offers that they can share with their followers, plus early access to products for reviews or hot-off-the-press information from the product teams. The deals for creators also offer them an affiliate commission for any sales they help generate for the brand to grow their motivation and fully empower them as an extension of the marketing and sales team.
6. Retainers: While up-and-coming creators often only get these benefits, top-performing creators also get a monthly retainer from the brand and are then expected to sign category exclusivity agreements, while they remain part of the program and also give advertising usage rights for their content.
7. ROI: Brands can benefit immensely from these always-on programmes as creators are often willing to negotiate better rates for a long-term relationship. Brands also get far more loyalty both online and offline, as these creators often embrace their roles as promoters and step into other conversations to defend the brand or recommend it; or to share insights as to what the sentiment or emerging concerns around the brand are.
8. Content: Savvy marketers turn to these creators within their program to replace their traditional creative production expenses, either purchasing content rights outright, or rewarding top content creators with additional fees to use their content in their social media ads. Combined with intent data from the creators’ organic content, these ads perform up to six times better than studio-created ads.
9. Strategy: Creator programs have been shown to hold huge ROI for marketers who embrace them as a core part of their marketing strategy. Naturally, it’s digital-native D2C businesses that have led the charge with these and taken big bites out of the traditional companies’ market share. Successful implementation requires pulling resources out of the standard workflow of advertising campaigns and channels; and instead redeploying them to a CRM-like program.
10. Transparency: Both the creator and the brand should be able to opt-out of the contract quickly and easily if they feel that the relationship no longer works for them. To help with this process, transparency is key, like in any good relationship. Marketers should be upfront with creators as to what they expect from a behaviour and success perspective, from the very start. Creators should do the same with marketers.
Main image credit: Pixabay.com.
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