Influencer Marketing – Should You Buy Into the Hype?

Updated on 2 September 2019

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The Role of Influencer Marketing in the New Customer Path

The new digital marketing landscape is threatening to leave marketing traditionalists in the dust.

With increased mobility and connectivity, there’s a new generation who have limited time to consider and evaluate brands. As the pace of life accelerates and attention spans drop, customers find it harder to focus, while brands need to think fast to give them something to focus on.

Influencer marketing is one of the buzz phrases that either draws an eye-roll or a “Let’s go”, but today’s influencers have undeniable clout. An Ipsos study showed that 60% of the “YouTube generation” in the US will rather buy a product recommended by a YouTuber than one recommended by a movie or TV star.

It’s not surprising, then, that 86% of marketers surveyed by Influencer Marketing Hub plan to allocate more of their budget to influencer marketing in 2019.

Whether you buy into the hype or not, influencer marketing can be an invaluable tool in your existing marketing strategy.

Peer-to-peer conversation among groups of customers is now the most effective form of media

The New Customer Path

Your customers are exposed to an onslaught of brands and brand-related messages daily. Unfortunately, more interactions and higher message volumes do not necessarily equate to more influence. Instead, you have just a few critical touchpoints available to ensure you stand out and can connect meaningfully with your customers.

This is when crafting, curating and disseminating content becomes crucial and a carefully prepared influencer becomes a powerful weapon in permeating the information or messaging clutter.

The traditional four P’s of the marketing channel are product, price, place and promotion. But they are premised on a pre-connectivity era where brands dictated its benefits to customers. In the connectivity period, customers actively connect to each other, building ask-and-advocate relationships.

Brands need to leverage the power of customer connectivity and advocacy as peer-to-peer conversation among groups of customers is now the most effective form of media. The best source of authentic influence is such a group of customers who morph into brand advocates.

The new customer path as it relates to brand storytelling and influencers is based on this connectivity, where a brand appeals to customers because of the ‘shareability’ of its story on digital or social media platforms.

A new customer pathway of five stages emerges which entails: Aware, Appeal, Ask, Act and Advocate.

1. Aware: Customers are passively exposed to a long list of brands from experience, marketing communications, and/or the advocacy of others.

2. Appeal: This is when customers process all the messages that they have been exposed to. They birth a short-term memory or augment an existing long-term memory and become attracted to only a shortlist of brands.

3. Ask: Curiosity prompts customers to follow up and actively research the brands they are attracted to by approaching friends, family and/or brands directly.

At this stage, the customer path changes from individual to social as decisions will be based on their conversations with others. Here brands need to trigger the right customer curiosity through a mix of the right content and the perfect influencer, to impact positively on purchasing intent. When the curiosity level is too low, it means the brand appeal, although existent, is low. But when the curiosity level is too high, customers are forced to ask too many questions.

4. Act stage: Here, customers finally make a decision after being convinced by information received at the ‘Ask’ stage.

5. Advocacy stage: Ideally, this happens when customers develop a sense of strong loyalty to the brand, as reflected in retention, repurchase and, ultimately, advocacy.

An influencer can lead customers down this new path in an unforced way through powerful pieces of short, shareable video which amplify the brand/product intrinsics.

Done right, it amplifies the existing market strategy instead of replacing it.

About Idea Hive

At Idea Hive we create and execute pioneering Brand Storytelling Solutions to illuminate your brand’s power. We apply a strategic framework which extracts and aligns all the key components of your brand’s story.

Our team of curious, creative, driven and critical thinkers mould all the elements into a cohesive Brand Storytelling Solutions that will change how the market sees and experiences your brand.

We craft and execute heartfelt and character-driven brand storytelling campaigns that position your brand/and or organisation to achieve its full market potential.

We offer an array of tailormade solutions around our services which includes branding, design, influencer marketing, visual content and communications. All solutions are anchored in ensuring that each brand story is told exceptionally, uniquely and to the right audience.
Imagine a world where brands defeat normal and ideas inspire change.

When we change, we change the world around us.

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