We all know how the concept of retail marketing has evolved over the years. Time and again, retailers have had to adjust in the way they have marketed to their customers. This is due to changing market trends and customer demands. Frequent shifts in customer behavior has made it difficult for retailers to attain customer loyalty today. They should always look to innovate with their marketing strategies for establishing shopper engagement. It’s time for retailers to resort to Influencer Marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing??
One of the latest trends of retail marketing has emerged in the form of Influencer Marketing. It is a type of marketing that helps in spreading the message of the brand to a large group of targeted customers via leader or an influencer. It is a kind of a third-party endorsement where the influencer validates the usefulness / uniqueness of a product to a larger section of people.
— Tickto (@tickto) February 22, 2017
While it goes hand in hand with social media marketing, they are not the same. Social media marketing is a form of direct marketing that a brand does using a social media platform. Influencer marketing too happens on social media platforms, but via the influencer and not direct. Brands inspire or pay influencers with a high number of followers to carry the brand’s message and spread it through their personal social media channels.
The Growing Popularity of Influencer Marketing
Retailers understand that when it comes to retail marketing, they can’t afford to be rigid. They need to be flexible and innovative with their marketing strategies. Hence, they do recognize the importance of resorting to influencer marketing. In a recently conducted study by Linqia, 48% of US respondents (marketers) said that they were looking to boost their influencer marketing budget in 2017. The following illustration reveals the same.
According to estimations made by eMarketer, the global influencer marketing revenues on Instagram alone is more than US $570 million in 2016. As influencer marketing keeps growing in popularity, retailers will look to make the most effective use of the influencers. The various kinds of influencer use can be in the form of ambassadorships, brand mentions, product reviews, event coverage, sponsored content, etc. According a study from TapInfluence and Altimeter Group, 70.6% of marketers in the US state that ongoing ambassadorships was the most effective use of influencers. 66.7% and 53.9% respondents of the study were of the view that the most effective was product reviews and brand mentions respectively. The following illustration elucidates the same with further details.
Influencer Marketing, soon, could develop into one of the most integral part of retail marketing.
Why Influencer Marketing??
Influencer marketing will gather widespread adoption in the time to come. Now the question that begs an answer is ‘why??’. Well, there is no defining the power and influence of social media today. Social Media is big, happening, and all that matters to say the very least. It’s no secret that the number of people on social media today is astounding. The impact that social influencers have on people on social media is second to no other media. People, especially the millennials, follow various influencers across various social platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. They connect to these influencers more than they do with celebrities pertaining to the traditional medium like television. In a way, these social influencers are the real celebrities of today. A study by Google reveals that 70% of teenagers in the US relate to YouTubers more than to traditional celebrities.
Why should brands ask traditional celebrities to endorse or validate their product then? Retailers should understand that these celebrities are no more the most effective. Social influencers are likely to produce more returns. Also, the love for advertising among customers is not exactly increasing. So, retailers can’t merely resort to advertising their product on different mediums anymore. People do not want advertising anymore. It no longer engages them. All retailers will agree that shopper engagement and customer loyalty are the toughest things to establish today. So where does this engagement and attention of the customers lie? It lies with the influencers for sure.
Retailers should realize that these influencers already have the attention of an enormous number of followers. Attention of followers who completely relate and connect to these influencers. So, communicating the brand message via these influencers can be termed as nothing short of a masterstroke. The best part is that the brand message can be integrated organically with the regular content that engages these people. This will make sure that it does not appear like an advertisement. But at the same time, it will serve the purpose of the brands. No matter how impressive a traditional marketing campaign is, it will not always make an enormous impact on the people. This is because it will not always engage the people.
In the times ahead, influencer marketing can be expected to change the face of retail marketing once again.