Influencer Marketing has gone from “Influencer what?” to a breakout market category experiencing hypergrowth¹. As someone committed to customer success at Traackr, I spend a lot of time talking with our customers about managing and measuring influencer marketing in their businesses, plus conquering any hurdles in the process.
These businesses range from global consumer goods companies, to major enterprise technology companies with comprehensive product suites, to advertising and PR agencies of all sizes working on behalf of their clients. Yet across these disparate types of businesses, three common challenges have emerged:
Social media has changed everything in marketing, and thus old methods and expenditure models simply do not work in this new media type.
Marketers don’t know how to get the right data to measure and prove positive business impact. Old “ad biz” models simply don’t hold up when applied to a new culture that holds marketers accountable for tracking impressions all the way through to revenue.
Practitioners constantly ask for guidance around what to do each day of the week, how to engage with influencers, and how to influence them to influence others. When the rubber hits the road, this is what really matters.
In order to succeed at influencer marketing, whether you’re a Traackr customer or just getting started with this new practice, you must understand what is standing in the way--and then make the right changes to improve and execute. That’s why I’ve broken down the obstacles and provided a framework to help you get there.
The new reality of social media has created an always-on, connected world. Brands now have the ability to engage directly with customers, prospects, and influencers--anytime and anywhere. With this omnipresent connectivity and access to available public data comes the ability to track and measure every step in the process, allowing for instant measure of ROI. This is a far cry from the prior methods of advertising and marketing, as one could not measure actual impressions (rather than just estimated), and tracking those impressions to actual sales was borderline impossible. The prior innovations of email marketing and demand generation changed this result, and subsequently changed the expectation for everything in marketing. Advertising, and marketing, are forever changed, and yet are full of new opportunity to prove and demonstrate real, measurable value.
In my engagement with customers at Traackr, I have noticed a unique and correlated pattern in methods, knowledge, and skills for those who have succeeded in influencer marketing. Regardless of role, turf, or expertise, the customers who are the most successful are those who recognize that influencer engagement is similar to the tried-and-true engagement methods and goals for PR, AR, and Communications (earned influence), rather than pay-to-play methods often deployed in advertising.
The methods of gaining earned influence, and the “always-on” engagement method utilized in PR/AR/Comms with journalists and analysts, have demonstrated the most measurable success for Traackr customers, including CPG companies, agencies, and enterprise technology companies.
By thinking of Influencers as “informal” analysts and journalists, and then leveraging the methods used in PR to earn influence with those influencers, our customers have seen the most immediate and sustainable success. The methods work, even if you are not in PR. Although everything has changed, the rules of engagement have stayed the same.
The prior rise of email marketing and demand generation set the expectation that everything in marketing was measurable.
Social media impact, and (most importantly) influence and influencer impact, now also help extend that metaphor of ubiquitous measurability.