How often do we find ourselves blocking out promotional messages we are exposed to on a daily basis? We often find it challenging to even remember the name of the product advertised on the bus stop we pass by everyday. We can confidently all agree that we are an ad-blocking and advertisement-averse type of generation, who are at the same time the most consumerist and product-obsessed bunch.
Companies spend millions of dollars to develop elaborately conceived advertising campaigns to get their brands out there, gain customers, and ultimately make profit. However, due to the colossal number of messages consumers are exposed to on a daily basis, more and more marketers have come to recognize that this outbound promotional tactic may not be as effective as they once have thought. The soaring volume of information consumers encounter everyday has led to the dramatic rise in consumer’s skepticism to the authenticity of these messages, which also explains why they are increasingly neglecting them.
Purchasers heavily rely on other shoppers like them as a source of reliable information about products and brands when making purchasing decision these days. Based on a study conducted by McKinsey “word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.” Since these shoppers are not paid to promote a brand or product they are considered highly trustworthy and dependable. Also, “marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate”.
In this era, the ever-growing social media channels are extraordinary sources for shoppers to share such information. Word-of-mouth does not entail one-on-one intimate communication between two parties any longer. With the aid of social media platforms, consumers are communicating with thousands and sometimes millions of shoppers as convenient as never before. To cut through the promotional noise, companies are turning toward bloggers and influencers to get their word out. From Macdonald’s to Fendi, big brands are convinced that the power of such individuals is greater on consumers than the conventional marketing endeavors.
Influencer marketing is the term adopted for the identification of individuals who own an outstanding level of authority and influence on buyers due to the high number of followers they enjoy, as well as their knowledge regarding a specific subject matter. Before, celebrities would predominantly endorse brands and receive a fee in return for their promotional activities, however, with rise of the new generation of bloggers, marketers are communicating to a highly targeted audience more cost-effectively, and with a higher degree of authenticity. Companies can drastically benefit from use of bloggers in the marketing campaigns, due to their keen passion regarding a unique topic, and the high relatability and reliability which their target audience share with such influencers.
Furthermore, based on an interesting article from Forbes, although the advantages of leveraging high-profile bloggers are clear, companies can also benefit from lesser-known bloggers who can contribute to a wide net impact, considering their extremely loyal fan-base. This phenomena stem from the tight follower/influencer relationship, which in turn can create large-scale trends in the market.
The big lessons here are the significance of the alignment of the blogger’s personal image with that of the company’s, as well as the high degree of similarity between the influencer’s followers with that of the target market. The two factors are the essential ingredients for the success of the influencer marketing approach.