Influencer Marketing has been a wholly obvious development in the root and branch proliferation of social commerce, its actual effectiveness and return on investment has been increasingly challenged.
Influencer marketing is nothing new. 3rd party endorsement has been with us for years, whether via industry professionals (yes, dentists spring to mind), celebrities or even real people. In regard to the latter, brands like First Direct have amassed equity over the years through delivering excellent customer service at the expense of other brands that have to ‘pay their way’ into our affections. However before the rise of social media, this ‘real people’ endorsement has been static and hidden within quantitative research reports.
Of course Social Media has increasingly enabled us to connect with these endorsers, especially at the real people end of the spectrum (I’m yet to hear back from
Philip Schofield in regard to my dodgy webuyanycar experience, for example). And a whole industry of real people monetising their followers, principally on Instagram and YouTube, has turned many individuals into millionaires overnight.
Our proprietary research into Social Commerce reveals that 80% of consumers believe that ‘real people’ peer group recommendations are more likely to influence their purchase decisions, than celebrities or other endorsers. So employing the patronage of real people, appears on the surface, good practise for brands, especially given the connectivity that social media affords.
So why the hoo-har about this week’s Listerine Instagram post? Listerine came under fire for posting a ‘staged’-looking post that managed to out-cheese even the cheesiest of dental healthcare advertising, an industry not known for its Cannes gongs and creativity.
The problem with the Listerine post, is that it smacks of ‘paying its way’ into its consumers’ affections; which is exactly what Influencer Marketing is not supposed to do.
Yes, consumers understand there is sometimes a financial stake at play with Influencer Marketing – however the quality, relevance and intelligence of the Influencers themselves, is usually enough to forgive the fact that some kind of transaction may have taken place. However in this Listerine instance, there doesn’t appear to be any value exchange that the consumer will find useful: it just doesn’t look believable that the Influencer would consume the product in the setting used for the post.
This also raises questions as to why Johnson & Johnson chose this Influencer and approach for this activity. The bald economic facts, however, are clear – to gain traction via digital
word of mouth, businesses like Johnson and Johnson have to look to Influencers with massive numbers of followers. And they also need this reach to justify the return on investment (these Influencers haven’t become millionaires overnight through charging low fees).
At Portaltech Reply, we believe we are standing on the verge of a breakthrough in Influencer marketing. Advances in data analytics and single customer view, means it is possible to orchestrate an Influencer strategy at scale, which may require multiple Influencers being deployed at different times, depending on what kind of relationship the consumer has, and whether or not they are browsing or purchasing.
For Influencer Marketing to really bite, however, we will require more ‘real people’ (ie. friends and family in our networks) to provide consent to be used in marketing campaigns – specifically at point of purchase, where their patronage is most effective – and we believe that for this to happen, consumers need to be given the tools to effectively manage their consent permissions.
Step forward SAP Data Cloud. As a
Platinum Partner of SAP, Portaltech Reply is perfectly poised to deliver a step change in single customer view that is both GDPR compliant, and puts control back in the hands of our Clients’ customers. By integrating SAP Data Cloud into their social commerce operations, our Clients will be able to drive consent penetration at scale, which will enable Influencer Marketing to be truly effective where it counts.
So whilst Listerine needs some pretty good floss to dig its foot out of its mouth, we think this is only the dawn of Influencer Marketing, and a more effective, transparent and mutually rewarding model is just around the corner.