Influencer Marketing: Courage trumps Uniformity

6. April 2018

The global influencer market is expected to grow to US$ 10 b by 2020 (w&v). Mediation platforms are springing up like digital mushrooms. Companies are seeding products like nobody’s business.
To ask a heretical question though: when exactly did we come up with the idea that marketing is at its most successful when everyone is doing the same thing?

So about two years ago Influencer Marketing came about. To jog our memories: not much earlier there was already a miracle cure against the most advertising-resistant target groups – called Content Marketing and the promises were too good to be true: all you needed to do was to make relevant information available and Google would lead the customers to landing pages as if by magic. Via the upper funnel new customers would gradually be generated.


Obviously, this was never the original idea of Content Marketing. But which companies really put customer needs centrestage, tore down their marketing and PR silos and produced strategic content for every phase of the customer relationship, for every touch point?
Wasn’t copy often just given a journalistic makeover and, because for Google this wasn’t enough just for Page 1, weren’t ad words and native advertising just booked as well? Pretty much.

History Repeats Itself
Luckily, we don’t need to worry about this anymore – because now influencers are the next big thing. Here, too, the path is rocky and strategic. Long-term cooperation with influencers does bring rewards but it is also more like public relations. Or if activity-driven campaigns are selected then they should at least be coordinated cooperatively instead of just delegated to influencers.
Advertisers should define leading principles for creative communication together with influencers. Communication that suits the relevant brand world. (In any case, it has to suit the influencer and their followers otherwise you should not have contacted them.)

But as is the case with content there is also the purported “quick win” in Influencer Marketing: platforms that hook you up with hundreds of thousands of influencers. What initially seemed like a pretty good idea becomes a problem if more and more companies jump on the bandwagon: which adds up to an increasing number of interchangeable, crude product placements.

Those who book marketing from the mass production line should not be surprised when they get a generic result. Because not every channel is actually that unique, as the exaggerated presentation of Dandy Diary demonstrates.

Savings Book Returns
Why are there not more bold campaigns with influencers instead of those (sometimes embarrassing) product placements? To explain advertising impact Holger Jung once gave the example of the savings book versus stocks and shares: those wanting absolute security who run their communication like a saving book cannot complain about low returns.

Particularly now, when more and more firms are bombarding influencers with products via platforms, you should tell a story that people remember. Maybe even with ideas that have not been tried out hundreds of times over, ones that are fresh and that cause a stir. Then you’ll get the right returns.

André Karkalis is Managing Director at KARKALIS COMMUNICATIONS. Sometimes he writes about topics that move him. Generally, from his armchair in the agency kitchen. This is where his Kitchen Post is created.


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