Incorporating Influencer Marketing into your Mix

Incorporating Influencer Marketing into your Mix

If you, like I, work in digital marketing, or indeed run any type of business, or simply live on planet earth you will likely have heard someone mention the word ‘Influencer’ in relation to their marketing activities.

“Our product will fly off the shelves once XYZ mentions it”
“If ABC shares our tweet the traffic to our website will increase exponentially”
I don’t know about your traffic but over the last 3 years I have definitely heard the use of the word ‘influencer’ increase exponentially, so much so that I think I would be absolutely safe to say it is officially a ‘buzzword.’

While the theory behind the use of influencers is sound, find someone who has lots of people that trust them, with a medium to communicate to that same audience, and ask them to perform an action in support of your product or service. Either by paying them in hard cash for their support or through another means of coercion.

But lets leave the theory there for a second, in reality an influencer should be an advocate of your product, an individual that un-coerced and unprompted proclaims their love for your product or service. Insert money or indeed any other means of mutual barter into this transaction and boom the honesty is lost. Unfortunately this is todays modus operandi for 98% of all influencer marketing campaigns. (Caveat: this is not a real stat, I just want to illustrate that I mean this affects a large portion of the transactions)

So with consumers able to sniff out the slightest whiff of fake advocacy, the return on investment(ROI) for most influencer campaigns is reducing swiftly.

Having organised countless influencer campaigns over the last 3 years, I have learnt a lot, and while I am not the biggest fan of ‘Influencer Marketing’ for ‘Influencer Marketing’ sake, I do believe it has its place in the marketing mix.

When weighing up how to identify your potential influencers it is important to understand that the word is as diverse as ‘video’ or ‘graphic design.’ Influencers are broken up into a variety of demographics.

I drew up the diagram below to illustrate my thoughts on the effectiveness of campaigns against the popularity of an influencer, and while there will always be outliers to contradict my thesis, this is my opinion formed within the context of my experience.

Essentially what I am proposing is that at the very top of the tree, the A list influencers with millions of followers illicit high trust, and thus good ROI. Even when users know their hero is being paid millions to endorse a product it doesn’t really effect the influence that endorsement has upon them.

For example: The Rock endorsing Under Armour, Or Lionel Messi endorsing Tata Motors.

However as the popularity of the influencers starts to diminish the ROI and trust factor starts to drop rapidly, disproportionately to the number of followers even, and not necessarily parallel to each other. Ie a 50% reduction in ROI does not mean a 50% reduction in trust sometimes. However from a brand perspective ROI is usually the key measure, and as this diminishes they lose interest.

Interestingly this is not where the story ends, as the number of followers approaches the low thousands and dips into the hundreds, the trust factor and ROI start to increase exponentially again. This is peer group territory, and people still trust their family and friends. Granted you have to reach a lot more influencers to garner the same impact as with a larger Macro influencer.

While trying to tell you how, why, when and where to recruit and utilise influencers is impossible for me to do in a general post, I hope that my prognosis on what type of influencers achieve the best ROI will help you shape your next campaign.

I would love to hear about your own experience with this type of marketing.


Good Luck!