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?