Why the World's Top Brands Are Spending Top Dollar on Influencers
In case you hadn't noticed, there's a major transition happening in both the B2B and B2C worlds: more and more of the world's leading brands are shifting their marketing budgets over to influencers. Well, I hate to say I told you so!
Whereas influencer marketing started off as a strategy aimed largely at younger consumers of B2C brands (yes, I'm talking about Millennials), over the past year or so it has shifted significantly. As the tactic gains marketers' trust and yields results, it's starting to appear across all types of industry.
According to Linqia's State of Influencer Marketing 2017 report, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016, and nearly half plan to up their investment in 2017.
So why is everyone suddenly going crazy for influencers? A recent article I came across on the Tech.Co website offered a few suggestions:
For me, this is probably the key reason for the growing popularity of influencer marketing. Consumers have become distrustful of traditional marketing forms, and it's much the same for B2B buyers; neither want to be 'sold' to, and both want something valuable from brands.
Influencers have credibility and authenticity. The best influencers are more concerned with sharing content that'll interest their followers, rather than going for the hard sell. They think in words and ideas rather than numbers and profit margins. They also offer brands a fresh perspective on their own image and values, which is great if you're looking for new ways to talk about what you do.
A study from Reuters suggests that ad-blocking is on the rise, with 44% of 18-24-year-olds now using the software. The future doesn't look good for traditional paid online ads, then. Influencer content handily bypasses ad-blockers, but more importantly, most people viewing the content will have chosen to view it, rather than being interrupted by it. Marketing in this way attracts the attention and gains the trust of your target audience in a genuine, organic way.
Campaigns of the past used a single voice (your brand's) to reach a single audience. Not any more! You can now strengthen your message through the voices of influential leaders, reaching multiple audiences in multiple ways. For B2Bs, this means speaking to different types of potential clients through a range of respected experts in your field.
Measuring the ROI of different marketing tactics has always been a challenge for marketers. With influencer content, not only can you measure immediate sales through affiliate links and calculate metrics such as cost-per-engagement, you can also offset this with the cost of producing the content in-house.
So, will you be embracing influencer marketing this year?
Why Lasting Change Is Hard
Before we had any children, my wife and I lived in the heart of Dallas. One day, on our way back to our house, we were driving down Skillman Avenue when we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour.
The rain was coming down incredibly hard, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the storm drains were equipped to handle that much water. Instead, the road itself filled with water faster than we could have anticipated. Quickly, the water rose up the side of our car. Trying not to panic, we realized that we could not continue and would need to turn around and get to higher ground.
Water rising up the side of your car door is the kind of roadblock you might not expect to encounter, but when you do, it’s formidable. We couldn’t drive through it or even around it. We had to deal with it quickly or face serious consequences.
When we’re trying to implement change in our own lives, it’s important to identify and plan for common roadblocks to lasting change.
The first and, in my opinion, most important roadblock to lasting change is not addressing the real issue.
Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. You’re annoyed by feeling sick but your throat really hurts, so you get up and spray a little Chloraseptic in your mouth and drift off to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you still have a sore throat, so you pop in a cough drop and go about your day.
The change you’re making – using a numbing agent – might work if you’ve only got a cold, but if it’s strep throat, you’re not addressing the real problem. Only an antibiotic will cure what ails you, even if Chloraseptic will keep the pain at bay for a while.
Just like how more information is needed to diagnose your sore throat than one feeling, problems you encounter in your life or business require diagnostics, too. Figuring out the real problem – not just your most apparent needs – requires some introspection and a little bit of time.
Here are eight questions to ask when you need to discover the root cause, courtesy of MindTools.com:
- What do you see happening?
- What are the specific symptoms?
- What proof do you have that the problem exists?
- How long has the problem existed?
- What is the impact of the problem?
- What sequence of events leads to the problem?
- What conditions allow the problem to occur?
- What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?
Once you have your answers to these key questions, you can’t stop there. Your vantage point is skewed from your own perspective. You’re going to want to ask someone else to evaluate the problem at hand with the same questions and then compare your answers.
If you and all of the partners at your firm have similar answers, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you wind up with wildly different ideas, I suggest seeking the advice of someone outside your organization. Fresh eyes can make all the difference in understanding a problem.
I often talk about being ‘too close’ to understand. You’ve probably heard the illustration about a group of people standing by an elephant with blindfolds on, trying to describe what they’re experiencing. Depending on what part of the elephant you’re next to, you’re going to have different observations.
But someone outside of that elephant’s cage can clearly identify the elephant.
The first key to making a lasting change is to make sure you’ve addressed the real problem and are looking for authentic change.
Next time, we’ll address the second major roadblock to creating last change.
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