About 30 years ago, a small group of people huddled in an ATX newspaper office and talked about starting something they were passionate about. One “fundamental opinion shared by the group was that the local creative and music communities were as talented as anywhere else on the planet, but were severely limited by a lack of exposure outside of Austin.”
We have been reading a lot about influencer marketing in the news lately. Mobile Marketer asked us to provide our perspective on the evolution of this marketing tactic. We’re syndicating the post for our readers and you can view the original here.
Trust seems to be at the center of our lives these days. From politics to purchasing to media consumption, we are questioning what is real and what is not. The influencer marketing industry has made tremendous strides over the last several years to reach its current scale. Today brand marketers of all industries and practices are considering influencer marketing as a viable tactic for their brands. And what has been propelling the growth of this strategy? Trust.
What do you remember about the last piece of advertising you saw? Do you even remember it? Do you know how many millions of impressions it earned? Most advertising doesn’t inform, let alone impress, anyone. Maybe we should rethink the language we use when we talk about advertising and consider using ‘exposure’ as a metric instead of impressions. To ‘impress’ is memorable, it’s weighty, it implies that there is an impact made on the viewer. Exposure is probably more realistic for most media these days.
It feels as though marketers have placed a priority on the safest bet. Lately, I have heard statements like: “We had amazing content and engagement that served our goals with your team, but these guys can measure impressions per image, so….” I can empathize with safe marketing logic like that. Not many marketers have lost their jobs pursuing the safe bet. On the contrary, not many marketers have driven real impact without having conviction, creativity, and instinct. But prioritizing the impressiveness of marketing content is not mutually exclusive with the need to measure impact.
My thesis is that the root cause of these decisions comes down to trust. Marketers who go with the safe bet don’t trust the vendor partner, the strategy, the creative content, the influencers themselves, or some other part of the system. Everyone is looking for the guaranteed win. Chris Farley taught us a great lesson on marketing in Tommy Boy when he was trying to sell Callahan brake pads to a distributor who wanted “a guarantee on the box”:
Finding the right influencers for campaigns is a common complaint we hear from our agency and brand partners. And rightly so. It can be one of the most difficult aspects of influencer marketing. It is often what holds marketers back from implementing the initiative in the first place. Because of the importance of this piece and the weight it carries with the rest of the campaign, the pressure to get this right is high. And because of both the abundance of influencers and the uniqueness of your brand, doing it efficiently is difficult.
Want to hear a secret? I’m not a marketer by trade and that provides me an outside perspective to the industry. I like to take stock of a few observations that stand out each year. 2016 was an exciting year to watch the growing interest in this tactic that allows brand marketers and consumers to connect in more intimate relationships. Here are a few things that stood out to me this year:
Over the past 5 years, we’ve been diligently working with some of the top brands on amazing influencer marketing programs. We’ve enjoyed connecting brands like Hilton, Reebok and Campbell’s with content creators who can authentically relate the brand stories to their community. But over this time, we’ve seen a few unfortunate trends develop in the industry.
As the marketing world has become more complex and daunting, we have developed an insatiable desire to have ‘plug and play’ tactics. The graveyard of automated influencer marketing tactics and products is large and growing. Why are these automated influencer marketing solutions failing to produce meaningful content but still continually drawing money and attention from marketers?
Do you ever look around and wonder how you got here?