Getting Influencer Marketing Right Involves a Deep Understanding of the Different Influencers, Channels and Strategy to Employ for Each Phase of the Customer Journey
With more and more brands spending to collaborate with influencers (84% of marketers say they are working with influencers), the biggest question is now — “How do I ensure success and drive ROI from an influencer marketing campaign?” To answer that question, we tell brands to first take a step back and understand:
- How Social Media and Content Have Changed the Customer Journey
- How Influencers Can Deliver Relevant Content to Your Customers Throughout Today’s Disaggregated Consumer Journey
How Social Media and Content Have Changed the Customer Journey
Consumers have drastically changed how they spend their time over the last 5 years and with it, the way they discover, interact and decide on brands and products have also fundamentally changed:
- Most consumers will have completed 79–90% of their ‘customer journey’ by the time they engage the brand or retailer (Forrester)
- Content is core to the Customer Journey: the average consumer engages with 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase (Forrester). Consumers today are 5x more dependent on content than they were 5 years ago (Nielsen).
- In today’s world of distributed media, customer journeys are happening on more channels than ever before—56% of all customer interactions occur during a multi-event, multi-channel journey (McKinsey) — particularly on social media, where everyone is spending more and more time (YoY 30%+ increase in time spent on social media from 2015 to 2016). Marketers can no longer rely on merely blasting traditional media channels with display ads.
How Influencers Can Deliver Relevant Content to Your Customers Throughout Today’s Disaggregated Consumer Journey
Influencer marketing aims to build an experience and emotional connection between a brand and their target customer — and that means building out relevant content touch-points along the entire customer journey.
We broke down a ‘general’ customer journey and aligned influencer marketing strategies and tactics at each phase but marketers should develop their own view on what may work best for their brand and customer:
Depending on where on the journey a marketer may be focusing their efforts, different influencers, content channels and strategy can be employed.
For example, influencer content can be aimed at the ‘Inspiration/Awareness’ stage and therefore should be inspirational in nature and live on platforms where consumers are in that mindset (i.e. Instagram, Blogs and Pinterest). Or it can be aimed at ‘Consideration’ stage, where the content may be more practical and informative in nature (reviews, instructional how-to videos, etc.). Or it can be aimed at driving conversion at the ‘Purchase Decision’ stage (by reminding the customer by re-purposing successful influencer content for retargeting ads, or offering promo codes via influencers that are particularly adept at driving conversion).
All of this should be tailored to a particular brand and its own customer journey to ensure success and drive ROI. The key is to understand that:
- Influencer marketing should not merely be seen as one-off initiatives to create temporary buzz, but rather, something that fits into a broader marketing strategy
- There are different influencers, channels and tactics to consider for each phase of the customer journey
- Each social platform has its own value — marketers should consider the mindset and intent of consumer on those platforms
With all of this in mind, influencers can be instrumental in creating emotionally relevant content for each channel and customer journey phase. These are social media natives that have built their business on creating content for their audiences on various channels. Marketers just need to ensure that they are employing the right influencer/content/strategy for each phase of their customer journey.