A lot of what it takes to be smart when it comes to marketing is realizing the obvious, and acting on it. So it goes with a new article by Kyle Wong in Forbes, "The Explosive Growth Of Influencer Marketing And What It Means For You," which explores influencer marketing and its growing importance. And also examines the undervalued "everyday" influencers that markets should also be trying to reach.
It is a given in the marketing industry that influencers are very important, and even more valuable. As Wong notes, "marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate." Which is great if you can get that popular YouTuber or Instagram maven with millions of followers on board with your product. But what about real word of mouth, where the average customer tries your product, likes it, and tells their friends about it? How do you do that?
Well, you can make a great product, for one. What is often left out of the discussion of influencer marketing is how much easier it is for that marketing to work when you have things like a quality product, good and responsive customer service, and a clear mission that consumers can appreciate. Then the brand markets itself.
Wong is absolutely right when he states that the increasing influence of social media has made influencer marketing more important than ever, but all the posts and tweets and messages to your customers won't mean anything if your product just isn't very good, or if you don't respond to complaints in a timely fashion. Marketing can't cover up a shoddy brand, and customers are now sophisticated enough to know that.
If you really want to think of influencer marketing intelligently, you have to think of every single one of your customers as a potential influencer. Because every single one, if they have a bad experience with your brand, could put out the Facebook post or tweet that catches the attention of the rest of the internet and becomes the meme that deeply harms your brand. Or, every consumer could be one of the people that put the word out that if someone wants X, then your brand is the one to turn to.
Your audience is no longer a faceless mass, it is made up of individual people who will decide, one way or another, if they like your product. So you had better treat them as such.