Why a new marketing technique?
In this era of digitization where hundreds of thousands of products are being launched every year and the amount of digital noise increasing exponentially, brands need a solution that would allow them to distinguish themselves from that noise – both online and offline. They need a solution which would seduce its customers amidst all the lucrative options that they have. The amount of monies being spent by brands today on social media in increasing social presence, making efforts to stand out in the crowd is just appalling. It is not only a great product which enables sales but it also required an out of the box marketing effort.
The reason people say, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is that human relationships are essential for getting things done. People open the door to new audiences, people connect you to others with similar interests and it’s people who get us to believe, decide and choose. Reaching more of the right people has gotten tricky given the pure volume of content and complexity of channels. That why influence marketing is starting to take root.
What is Influence marketing?
Influence marketing is the process of identifying, researching, engaging and supporting the people who create conversations that impact your brand, programs and products. It involves marketing products and services to those who have a sway over the things other people buy. This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation. Influence can come from a wide range of places. Any person, group, brand, or place could potentially be an influencer. For example, celebrities are often used to market products because they are highly respected and highly visible. When a celebrity uses a product, the maker of that product gets exposure and the respect that comes from a celebrity endorsement. Influence marketing is not limited to brand endorsements only but will also people like journalists, bloggers, consultants, or industry analysts — anyone or anything which can influence the buyers’ decisions.
How to effectively implement such strategies?
- Find out the most relevant influencers
Do some upfront research that can be supplemented with an influencer identification tool – and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Have options.
- Build relationships
Try to develop a relationship with an influencer before asking them to advocate for a product or company. A simple message on Facebook or Twitter can help grovel a possible new influencer to the company.
- Influencer preferences are important
Deliver content and advertising material to influencers in the format that is more convenient and relevant for them.
- Content sharing should be easy
Influencers are more likely to share content with their followers if it is easy for them to integrate into their blogs, Facebook pages, and other portals.
- Go beyond Facebook and Twitter
There is the tendency to think only of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter when thinking about social media. But Instagram has 30 million users and growing. Minor social networking sites can expect significant influence as well.
Who have used it successfully?
There are several cases where influencer strategies have been used to boost sales or to satisfy a business objective. Below are a few examples:
Palava – a large project on the outskirts of Mumbai (also known as Mumbai sister city) had Amitabh Bachchan as their brand ambassador during 2013-14. The brand had never used television as a medium of advertising. They were going big on print and digital. Now, to maximize the presence of Mr. Bachchan, influencer marketing tricks were used. Mr. Bachchan became the voice of Palava across social media, online forums, events and print. He spoke about Palava and the amenities and opportunities that the city offered.
Result: The effort saw an increase in the website traffic increasing the lead generation by about 125%. They sold more than 4200 units during the launch.
BMW – Octagon, a sports marketing agency, supported by Fleishman Hillard, developed an influencer campaign for BMW for the Olympic Games called “Drive for Team USA”.
More than 300 dealerships nationwide and several influencers participated in the promotion, sending fliers to prospective BMW buyers offering them a chance to attend a special test-drive event and receive a limited-time $1,000 allowance toward the purchase of a new vehicle. The company had a member of Team USA at each of the events and made a $10 donation to the U.S. Olympic Committee for every test drive taken. The promotion was focused on the company’s 3 Series model.
In Times Square, BMW participated in the “The Road to London”. At the event they had cars on display and gold medalist Gold Medalist Ricky Berens was on hand to sign autographs and generate excitement for the upcoming Games. BMW also participated at the USA House in London, which is a hospitality center for athletes and their families.
Results: Overall, the Drive for Team USA drove more than 20,000 people to attend some 277 events, and BMW converted approximately 25 percent of those drivers into buyers of new cars.
In addition, BMW hosted almost 20,000 visitors at the hospitality center. BMWUSA.com saw a 26% increase in site visits compared to the prior 4 weeks; received 14,000 new fans on Facebook and 80,000 video views on its Youtube channel.
Taking place at 30,000 feet in the air aboard a private British Airways flight from San Francisco to London on June 12, 2013, the UnGrounded Innovation Lab in the Sky addressed the misalignment between where science and technology talent is emerging and where opportunity exists. British Airways chose to launch the UnGrounded flight from Silicon Valley, the global hub for technology and the de-facto model for how amazing ideas can be cultivated when people get together. Participants were hand-selected and included some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent thinkers – from budding entrepreneurs to seasoned business leaders, VCs and scholars.
The all-star line-up of innovators from leading companies such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, LeanIn.org and IDEO as well as venture firms such as Innovation Endeavors and Andreessen Horowitz, and organizations such as Clinton Global Initiative took to the skies to collaborate, ideate and create concepts and solutions to address the global talent challenges impacting innovation, entrepreneurship and the economy around the world. In just under five hours, this trailblazing group developed 22 concepts aimed to help people with STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math) find opportunities to utilize their talent and drive global innovation. Flight participants explored the STEM challenge from four key angles – “fostering women in STEM;” “expanding STEM;” “meeting U.S. demand for STEM talent;” and “growing local STEM opportunities in emerging economies.”
Results: Out of the 22 concepts developed, flight participants collectively selected one winner in each of the four exploration categories. The winning concepts were presented to United Nations ITU Committee at the DNA Summit in London on Friday, June 14. Through UnGrounded, British Airways had the opportunity to tap into some of the world’s most brilliant minds and demonstrate how ideas can accelerate when the right people come together.