From the Influencers

What to Watch for in Influencer Marketing

March 14, 2017

Influencer marketing is still the hot new tactic in marketing, and with good reason. It's proven itself an absolute masterwork against many traditional advertising methods, and often delivers incredible value against the more broadcast-oriented marketing methods. As with any new technology, though, there are some points to keep in mind, so here's a look at this year's points to watch out for in influencer marketing, particularly in content marketing.

The first key point is that the “hard sell” is done. The steadily-growing millennial market, now coming into its own in terms of optimal earnings years, isn't paying attention to sales pitches. It wants a story. So before applying the vagaries of search engine optimization (SEO) or any kind of brand pitch, remember, content is king, even in the advertising. Catch interest by telling a good story; this principle actually goes back to Roy Williams and the “Wizard of Ads” strategy. By telling a story, you influence a particular part of the brain called Broca's Area, which has a lot to do with decision making.

This leads to the second point, the value of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing takes advantage of the millennial's taste for a story to piggyback advertising. Similar in nature to the old practice of product placement, influencer marketing allows potential shoppers to see the product or service in action. That's enough to let millennials make buying decisions, and since the target market seeks out this content, it's more effective in general than the blocked ads of older methods. Throw in a potential discount—sometimes influencer marketing can be had for the cost of a free sample—and the value becomes clear. This may change if influencer marketers get together in sufficient numbers to require hefty, ad-style payouts for access, however.

Lastly, text does great things, but it only goes so far. Incorporating video and visual elements can be a big part of a content marketing push going forward, so be sure to consider the use of video and visual elements to better catch attention. Text is the basis of proper advertising these days—it drives video scripts and some ads themselves—but text cannot be used in isolation to really catch interest.

Keeping these elements in mind will help users push content marketing and influencer marketing campaigns forward in 2017, and potentially beyond. Understanding that the largest-spending market is now a multitasking-heavy operation and loves a good story with visual cues can be a big help toward reaching that market through the haze of static and conflicting messages in which it lives.  Remember above all: no marketing works unless it hits the target, so understanding the target and aiming for it accordingly are the biggest secrets to marketing success.

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