Is Influencer Marketing a temporary fad that is destined to fade away? Or is it a service that will continue to grow and flourish for years to come?
Recently, I had an opportunity to discuss this question while participating on the Media People Podcast with Victor Genova. Here is the question posed by Victor…
“You are obviously very bullish (about Influencer Marketing), but a lot of people are very pessimistic. When you are going out and pitching Influencers, it’s not the same as Search Engine Optimization, which was a very well established tool or method when you worked in that industry… Do you bump into a lot of people that are pessimistic about Influencer Marketing? Or are they on board with what you’re saying?
Here was my answer…
“There’s definitely some people that think Influencer Marketing is a fad, or that they haven’t had the best experience with it, but here’s the undisputable truth… Influencer Marketing is as old as time, it’s just going under a different name now. It’s simply celebrity endorsement, but the real question is, what are celebrities these days?
300 years ago, this is how people used to sell product at local markets. They’d get someone from the community that was well known and respected to promote it on their behalf, because people trust people – not brands.
So why does Nike use Lebron James to sell shoes? Or any major company, they are using people to sell their products. They are using celebrities – but the definition of celebrity has changed. Celebrity used to be people on television, or people on radio, or actors, actresses, or musicians. And so, we used to rely on the traditional gatekeepers of media to provide us with our “stars.”
But nowadays we are selecting our own stars because social platforms allow us to pick them. So the definition of celebrity has changed, and now the definition of celebrity endorsements has transitioned to Influencer Marketing. So if you think Influencer Marketing is not going to work, you are really betting on people not being interested in other people – and you are betting against the oldest form of advertising to stop working.
I think it just requires a little bit of a shift in mindset that this is really celebrity endorsements, but nowadays, celebrity exists on social.”
So there you go… The Influencer Marketing industry is going through a maturation process, and some brands and agencies have experienced growing pains. But those pains are a sign of growth, and smart agencies are applying critical thought and diligence to refine the industry.
It is no longer acceptable to select Influencers based on reach alone. Nowadays, there is a much more advanced criteria:
- How do you select the right Influencers?
- What are the demographics of the Influencers community?
- How do you ensure the Influencers community is legitimate?
- How do you determine an appropriate budget for your campaign?
- How will you track ROI?
- How will the Influencer program complement your other digital strategies?
When the right Influencer is selected for the right brand, in the right market, with the right message – very good things happen.