Is influencer marketing just getting started?

Discussion
Usain Bolt for Puma - Photo: Puma
Feb 21, 2018

On its fourth-quarter media call last week, Bjørn Gulden, Puma’s CEO, noted that while most of social media’s tools and techniques weren’t available five years ago, marketing has become much more “about working with partners and making sure there’s content and stories that people are interested in.”

The brand has five million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while its “muses” — led by the singer Rihana and singer and actress Selena Gomez — have 535 million followers. Added Mr. Gulden, “That means that their content, when they do something with or without Puma, is the driving force.”

Also working with numerous athletes and local micro-influencers, delivering “authentic” content through the brand’s ambassadors that connects socially is key. Mr. Gulden stated, “You need to create stories; to create content, and then of course it’s all about social media from a global point of view but also a local point of view.”

Mr. Gulden’s comments come as a survey of marketers across various industries from Linqia found growing interest in influencer marketing with many looking to leverage influencer content to improve the performance of their paid, owned and earned media.

Among the findings:

  • Eighty-six percent used influencer marketing in 2017, 92 percent of whom found it effective;
  • Thirty-nine percent plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018;
  • Eighty-one percent are currently using influencer content in other channels, with 51 percent reporting it outperforms brand-created content;
  • Thirty-six percent plan to integrate influencer content with e-commerce to drive product sales.

Directly aimed at e-commerce, RevCascade, which automates the dropship process, in late January introduced Souler, which enables social media influencers to sell branded products directly to their followers through their own dedicated online storefront. The platform supports inventory management, order processing and customer service. Influencers take a 15 percent cut of any sale.

Josh Wexler, RevCascade’s CEO, said in a statement, “Souler is enabling influencers to harness the power of their consumer reach to become the next major e-commerce channel while giving high end brands the opportunity dramatically grow their ecommerce revenues.”

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will influencer marketing become a bigger component of the overall marketing mix in the years ahead? What do you think of the potential of influencer marketing moving beyond awareness to drive clicks, conversions and product sales?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Telling good stories is the art of marketing and if the story is enhanced with influencers, go for it."
"Like any hot idea, influencer marketing will get overdone and poorly executed by many."
"Influencer marketing will work until the influencers start hyping crap product just for money."

Join the Discussion!

14 Comments on "Is influencer marketing just getting started?"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Chris Buecker
BrainTrust

There is no doubt that influencer marketing has just started and in the future will become a considerable part of the overall marketing spending. Digital natives are not watching traditional TV anymore but stick on their mobile. Social media plays a big role in their daily life. If a company with a focused strategy manages to collaborate with a strong national or even global social media influencer, focused on the targeted consumer group, then it will be a very powerful marketing tool. However, the most important part is the content. Without meaningful content for the targeted consumer, every influential marketing activity will fail.

Lee Kent
Guest

Telling good stories is the art of marketing and if the story is enhanced with influencers, go for it. Also with tools such as Souler added to the mix, I can see quite a shift in where and how marketing dollars can/will be spent. Consumers don’t like advertising but they do like hearing what their friends and favorite fans think and use/wear. Yes, influencer marketing will play a bigger part in the years ahead. For my 2 cents.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest

This is one of the best ways to drive measureable brand value. This has been reflected in shareholder value in the form of the company’s stock price for a few companies that I can think of. I won’t mention them here because those same influencers have invested in those companies just prior to their promotion of those brands. So there can be a perception of being unethical at the very least. A social influencer can also literally create brand loyalty for a CPG brand and/or a retailer. This opportunity will only continue to grow in the future and will be a huge part of marketing and advertising efforts. They already are.

Joel Goldstein
BrainTrust

We work with several products that use both celebrities and social media influencers to bring attention to their lines. The ROI of influencer marketing can be much higher than traditional advertising and more far reaching and actionable than online advertising. The idea of an influencer using a product and educating the consumer can have huge brand building residual effects.

Word of Warning: The one thing we’ve seen before with niche and smaller influencers, is they tend to bump their numbers 2x to 3x with fake accounts and purchased comments.

Mike Osorio
Guest
Influencer marketing is the hot topic and as the stats show, is garnering a larger and larger share of marketing efforts. The challenge of course is for the brand to effectively work with influencers to project the brand in an aligned way with the brand’s DNA. Brands are finding the need to be much less controlling with the story than they’ve been historically, allowing the product story to evolve with their influencers and their followers. I’ve had the opportunity to watch this in the luxury marketplace, where brands are most concerned about their storytelling. Where it works is when the chosen influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) are carefully chosen for their ability to communicate the brand DNA to the desired demographics, vs. only the size of their following. This has been particularly effective with the Asian consumers and I see this migrating well into the American and European marketplaces. Platforms like Souler will create an organic growth area for brands these influencers decide to push, and will be generally outside the control of brands… Read more »
Kiri Masters
Guest

There’s no doubt in my mind that influencer marketing will become a bigger components of the marketing mix. It has already proven itself effective at cutting through the noise of advertising to reach the elusive Millennial consumer, or frankly any consumer group that has there wherewithal to install an ad blocker!

The challenge for retail brands will be tracking the results from influencer campaigns. One expects a “halo effect” across all sales channels when engaging high-level influencers or even micro-influencers. Still, proving a return on investment is difficult, especially since many brands and retailers have become accustomed to the deep analytics that digital advertising has provided in the past. This is especially the case for brands selling on Amazon, where there is no way to directly track or attribute sales to specific influencer campaigns.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Influencer marketing will work until the influencers start hyping crap product just for money. Then the gig will be up. There is too much transparency and freedom now to keep going for lies just because someone is cool.

Today’s consumer (especially the younger ones) can see right through the pay-to-play game. So, careful out there, Usain!

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader, Advisor, & Strategist
3 years 7 months ago

I have no doubt influencer marketing will continue to increase. Consumers have become more and more desensitized to most marketing techniques, but they absolutely love to hear what their friends, and other individuals they follow whose opinion they value. These are trusted individuals, not brands in the traditional sense. As the Puma example in the article illustrates, brands have the opportunity to amplify their reach into far broader target audiences by leveraging these influencers. The potential benefit is tremendous compared to other channels available to the brand marketer and this will only result in more influencers being created and tapped by brands.

Phil Chang
BrainTrust
Phil Chang
Retail Influencer, Speaker and Consultant
3 years 7 months ago

Consumers want opinions from influencers they can identify with. Trust is going to be a key currency if you’re going to be an influencer. Micro influencers who look after their followers are going to be a group that is able to motivate their followers to take interest in and purchase items. Micro influencers will be able to drive clicks and conversions and trial and repeat for brands.

Charles Dimov
Guest

Yes, it will. What I sincerely hope is that the ambassadors of today will become more commonplace. From that perspective, I have to wonder whether influencers might also help boost the uptake on in-store pickup (BOPIS) — which continues to languish in the US, Canada, Australia….

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I am a firm believer on the power of authenticity, and style advice and product recommendations from influencers are still (mostly) perceived as authentic. As long as the authenticity remains, influencer marketing will thrive, in my opinion.

Michael La Kier
BrainTrust

Beg to disagree here, but marketing is not “much more about making sure there’s content and stories that people are interested in” — it has ALWAYS been about this! At least for brands that were more customer-centric vs being self-centered. What we call Influencer Marketing today is socially-infused Word of Mouth Marketing. Technology has rapidly advanced this practice and “Shoppable Content” will be a natural extension.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

The short answer is yes. Influencer marketing has always worked. Companies have used spokespersons for years. The new word for spokesperson is influencer. Instead of featuring these influencers on a TV commercial (although some still do), they are featured on social sites. Sometimes it’s an article or interview. Sometimes it’s as simple as a tweet of Facebook post. It works and that’s why brands use influencers.

The right person working with a brand not only drives clicks and sales, but also creates a tone or personality for the brand. Who they are affiliated with is who and what they want to be known for.

Allison McGuire
BrainTrust

Influencer marketing is definitely effective when it’s consistent, but it’s not cheap. Paying thousands of dollars for one mention or tweet will not convert into massive sales. Consumers need to see the influencer incorporate the product into their everyday life. Watch it evolve over time. That’s the only way they will trust the message and buy in. So if you’re going down this path, get ready to make a significant investment in order to see a return. (And make sure you pick the right influencer.)

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Telling good stories is the art of marketing and if the story is enhanced with influencers, go for it."
"Like any hot idea, influencer marketing will get overdone and poorly executed by many."
"Influencer marketing will work until the influencers start hyping crap product just for money."

Take Our Instant Poll

Do you see influencer marketing becoming a more important part of the overall marketing mix for brands and retailers over the next three to five years?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...