The LTV Acquisition of Influencer Marketing on the Bottom Line
Influencers is a term you simply cannot go a day without hearing in our hyperconnected world. They're viewed as the trusted link between a retailer or brand and consumer. Yet, according to a Cision and PRWeek survey, only 39 percent of U.S. marketers feel confident in their ability to identify the right influencers to use. Your worries are justifiable. With over 500,000 active influencers operating on Instagram alone, how can you be sure the influencer you're choosing is the right one for your brand? And how do you leverage their clout to best represent your campaign, store, or just everyday content?
Many retail marketers get lost in the numbers game — the number of followers, likes, interactions vs. the right fit, even if it's with a micro-influencer. Bigger isn't always better. In fact, it often means oversaturation. An intentional, tailored approach toward engaging influencers is critical. Consider these steps:
- Define: The key component of result-driven influencer strategies is to define the end goal. What do you want to achieve with your influencer, and what does success look like? This approach is needed rather than simply picking like-minded influencers.
- Identify: Seek influencers that accurately reflect not only your category, but also your brand purpose. This requires a thorough historical check and will mitigate any potential PR issues.
- Evaluate: Diligently look to drive believability and trust for not only the brand, but also specific products. Consider the value in using multiple micro-influencers over one macro influencer. For example, there are many beauty influencers, but some are known and religiously followed in one area of makeup over another (e.g., eye shadow vs. foundation).
- Deliver: Understand and diversify your influencers and messaging across the different social platforms with the intention of driving to key points in the path to purchase. Many of the platforms offer the same capabilities, but who the consumer is and what he or she expects from each platform varies. Consumers are quick to write a brand off as inauthentic when they see the same content applied to each platform.
Here are a few brands that are finding success with influencer marketing:
Morphe Cosmetics started in Los Angeles in 2008, and quickly became one of the largest beauty brands in the United States — with much of that success attributed to its use of influencers. Morphe provides both mega and micro-influencers with affiliate codes that provide its fan base with 10 percent off each purchase. The brand's use of influencer marketing led to product launches selling out internationally in as little as 10 minutes (and then continued to sell out for its subsequent four restocks). The success of Morphe's influencer marketing is a testament to how organically influencers have been able to incorporate the brand into their educational videos, conversation, and everyday lives — truly making this brand a staple in their beauty routine and, in turn, making it a household name.
While Morphe is a brand that appeals to the masses of consumers who are already invested in the beauty category, watch brand Daniel Wellington used micro-influencers to recruit those who don't consider themselves “fashion focused.” The power of a micro-influencer is their ability to engage with their fan base, and be viewed as a relatable expert in their niche. Daniel Wellington has utilized micro-influencers seamlessly, and as a result turned a $15,000 investment into a $220 million-dollar brand in just four years. The brand leveraged this insight by partnering with micro-influencers outside of the fashion category and inserted themselves into relatable conversations, like pets, travel, and more. By taking the intimidating conversation of fashion into an everyday scenario, Daniel Wellington subliminally disrupts the influencer’s content to gain the attention of consumers.
Sometimes the path-to-purchase influencer strategy is as simple as an affiliate link, but when it comes to others, it's anything but. American Express identified one of the biggest fascinations consumers have when it comes to influencers, and used it as a way to pivot off of the harsh advertising restriction behind selling credit cards — lifestyle. The #AmexAmbassador campaign generated more than 10 million impressions and 40,000 engagements while promoting the life that comes with being an exclusive Amex cardholder. By leveraging influencers with jet-setting, aesthetically appealing lives, Amex has broken down the biggest barrier consumers have and made card benefits and exclusivity understandable, in an exciting way.
Kelly Revestijn is vice president, strategic planning and insights at IN Marketing Services, an integrated brand activation agency.
Erin Ludlow is a copyrighter/conceptor at IN Marketing Services, an integrated brand activation agency.