It is almost impossible in today’s world to design an innovative marketing plan without taking into account Influencer Marketing. Each and every agency’s aim is to reach influencers as they tend to play a bigger role in the decision-making.
The challenge that comes out is to find out the way to do it right. How to hunt and identify a real influencer? How to reach him and how to differentiate yourself from the other influencer hunters?
How to target the right influencers
While many brands tend to apply the same rough approach to influencer marketing that they do with mainstream marketing, the results are not convincing.
Many influencers receive emails which are badly targeted, lacking news and which are irrelevant to what these influences are supposed to master and cover. The other problem is that these emails usually arrive in an impersonal press release format with “for immediate release” marked at the top. One recent note was addressed to “Dear <first name> <last name>” because their email mail merge didn’t work.
It’s a common problem to assume that influencer marketing is just the same old marketing, only targeted more finely. If whatever you’re trying to share is mediocre from the start, it’s simply not going to spread, no matter how loudly you shout it or how many people you put on your shouting list. It doesn’t matter if they’re influential or not.
One example of a bootstrapped influencer marketing program is the Stormhoek winery 100 Blogging Dinners in 100 Days, designed by Hugh MacLeod. The winery praises this event for doubling their sales in 12 months. They sent out a free pre-release bottle of wine to any blogger who was interested (with no obligation to write about it), along with a great manifesto about wine and blogging. It didn’t shout. It started an interesting conversation and talked to bloggers as people, not as press contacts or direct marketing targets.
I like this quote from Hugh after the event: “Blogging as a marketing tool is easier when you think of it as a chemical catalyst, not as a hammer and nail.” The “chemical catalyst” is a good description of influencer marketing in general too.