“Influence has evolved in the last 10 years,” said GetCraft Vice President for Strategic Services Baus Rufo at the May 29 Manila Marketers Meetup (MMM).
With the theme “Return on Influence: How to Use Influencer Marketing for Business Impact,” the event covered how influencer programs work, from choosing influencers to maximizing engagement with consumers. Rufo was also joined by Andromeda Reyes, Public Relations Manager for Forever 21 Philippines, and Yna Amores, Brand Officer at Ardent World Inc., for a panel discussion.
What started out as celebrities and bloggers attending company events and participating in marketing campaigns has evolved into these personalities becoming brand ambassadors themselves. Influencer marketing is now a robust sector, with content creators being tapped to add depth and nuance to brand marketing campaigns.
With the way influencer marketing has grown in recent years, more companies continue to rely on personalities to expand their presence and reach online. The panel agreed that influencers help brands create more authentic and targeted campaigns that resonate with their target market.
Should brands invest in influencer marketing? Here are some points made during the event:
The complex consumer journey
Rufo walked the audience through the digital journey consumers go through before acting on their desire to purchase. They see a post from a peer, then come across another post from an influencer, do their own research on trusted sites as well as a brand’s website and social media accounts, before finally deciding to buy a product.
49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations before purchasing. “That’s why it’s important for your brand to have compelling and emotionally resonant content,” he added.
Influencer marketing campaigns begin by identifying, engaging, and supporting personalities who can create meaningful content for your brand. This will help further conversations around your brand, encouraging your target market to listen, and eventually, take action and purchase.
As brands assume the voice of an influencer, their message becomes more accessible to consumers. Rufo noted that influencer marketing helps brands assume a bite-sized story that is easy for their target market to relate to.
71% of marketers say influencer marketing is a better source of customers and traffic compared to other channels. Amores noted that influencer marketing helps widen their brand’s reach. “Since digital media is the best way to communicate with consumers, influencers help us expand their brand presence online,” she said.
Working for a global brand like Forever21 means they have to localize all their campaigns, explained Reyes. Moving from traditional to digital media in order to reach more consumers, they tapped influencers to help rejuvenate brand recall. After their first influencer marketing campaign in 2018, their brand has continued to change and adapt their strategies and messages to create more targeted campaigns and encourage action from consumers.
Rufo added that influencers are able to write the brand marketing campaign in their own language, which will resonate with their audience. That is how influencer marketing is able to move the consumer journey from awareness to action.
The panel agreed that it’s crucial for brands to have clear objectives in order for influencer marketing campaigns to really be effective. Rufo said that marketers can negotiate themes in their briefs so that they can maximize their influencers’ reach and get higher engagement.
Some brands use influencer marketing to expand their reach and engage their audience, while some also rely on it to encourage consumer action and conversion. These objectives allow marketers to develop their strategy better to ensure that influencers help them achieve their business goals.
“With influencer marketing, we are not limited to the same thing every month, so it’s possible to keep exploring media,” Reyes said. As long as their goals and targets are clear, there are plenty of ways to use influencer marketing according to their needs.
In terms of the effectiveness of influencer marketing campaigns, Rufo noted that it’s important for brands to have a good handle on how to their campaigns’ performance. “Whether it’s by cost-per-view or by engagement rates, marketers should be clear on what they want to see from their campaigns,” he said.
The panel agreed that influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways for companies to reach their target market. Influencers have helped their brands connect with consumers and get their message across in a very efficient manner.
When asked about how to choose influencers for their brands, Amores said, “The best way to decide is by looking at their profiles and getting a glimpse of their personality.”
Reyes added that they look for influencers who are very authentic because they are able to create more engaging and relevant content. “These influencers are able to provide a better experience for their audience, by adding more value with their content,” she added.
They also discussed how influencer marketing has given them an interesting perspective of their consumers. Reyes said that consumers nowadays are more educated, which means they have to choose credible influencers that their target market will listen to. The brand messaging should be adaptable to their audiences as well.
The panel concluded the event by saying that there should be a balance between the client’s brand and the influencer’s brand. It is possible to compromise as long as the influencer is able to get the message across. “You shouldn’t limit their creativity. It’s also one of the reasons why you partnered with the influencer, so you shouldn’t be boxing them,” Amores said.