When the retail world shifted to the online platform a few years back, it became saturated with all kinds of advertising tactics. As a result, consumers became skeptical about most of the marketing campaigns that they encounter on a daily basis.
To weed off the irrelevant advertisements which are tossed to them unsolicited, most of the prominent consumers of today, the millennials, made it their responsibility to help family and friends make smarter decisions when it comes to purchasing (Fleishmann-Hillard).
And indeed, 51% of millennials today are influenced by social opinions when making decisions about what products to buy and what brands to support (Leaderwest Digital Marketing Journal 2014). The millennial generation thrives in a culture that celebrates free speech and individuality. They get involved in causes they care about and they allow themselves to be influenced by people whom they think have something worthwhile to say.
What is the implication of all this?
According to Sensei Marketing’s 2013 survey, 68% of marketing professionals worldwide view influence marketing as a lead generation and consumer acquisition strategy. This growing trend is effective because of the clout of authenticity that surrounds it. And the good news is that brands can leverage it if they understand enough how it works.
So, what is influencer marketing and what are its nuts and bolts?
Through influencers, brands can create a more organic relationship with customers since no direct advertising is involved. Because influencer marketing looks more like a word-of-mouth campaign, millennial consumers are more drawn to it.
Imagine yourself aimlessly browsing through Facebook. You scroll down and see a post by one of the people you follow —let’s call her Dog Enthusiast. Now, Dog Enthusiast posts about this new brand of dog food that she tried out for her dogs, and she found it delightful. You have a dog of your own. In fact, you’re a dog lover just like Dog Enthusiast. And since you have always trusted her judgement when it comes to everything dog-related, you instantly check out the dog food brand and give it a try.
In that case, the Dog Enthusiast is the influencer, and you are the consumer that the dog food brand is trying to reach through the power and authority of the influencer.
As you can see, influencer marketing is unlike the traditional way of product promotion that targets large numbers of random consumers. With influencer marketing, brands reach out to only a handful of people who have large social media following and great influence in a specific field. They inspire or pay these top influencers to get their brand message across to the general consumers.
Through influencers, brands can create a more organic relationship with customers since no direct advertising is involved. Because influencer marketing looks more like a word-of-mouth campaign, consumers are more drawn to it. A great part of the shopping population consists of millennials who are ready to be both evangelists and followers.
Now, the only question left to be asked is, how can your brand get an influencer?
The answer is really simple.
To have a number of influential millennials to back you up, you need to forge a strong relationship with them. Reach out to them and tell them your brand story and its relevance. Create a wonderful product that they can relate to and that they’d be proud to talk about. Make your brand resonate with them. In other words, make the top influencers see your brand’s true value so that they can share it to the world.
Millennials are taking over the market. Are you ready to accommodate them? (PA)