Influencer Marketing...Is It New??...or old wine in new bottle..??..

Influencer Marketing, Influencers, Influencer connect, Influencer's importance, Influencer_marketing, ayanbiswas,ayan'sblog,marketing, sales

    Influencer Marketing - Is it New??? or Old wine in new bottle??

    Infuencer marketing…a new term…a new age-marketing strategy…with online/digital/social media…it’s something brands & marketers are running around to master…well all good & said…is it new?? Or old wine in new bottle?? Did it exist earlier? Or it didn’t? Or it existed & we didn’t know. Or it existed & we knew…but we didn’t care...!! Well, from a marketer’s stand point, the term “Influencer Marketing” seems like a marketing jargon but is it really that or something which is an integral part of human behavior…Let’s try to understand it in a simpler way

    Who is an Influencer?

    Influencer Marketing, Influencers, Influencer connect, Influencer's importance, Influencer_marketing, ayanbiswas,ayan'sblog,marketing, sales
    3 one-liner answers to 3 one-liner questions...!!
    • Who is an influencer??.... Well as the name suggests…its one who influences….
    • Whom do the influencer influence??.... Well it’s not told…so any human on earth…known/unknown
    • How does he/she influence??...Well its again not mentioned….so it may be anyway...!!

    So, in a nut shell…any human influencing any other human for his/her intent/conduct/action is an influencer

    Let’s start from the start...!!...I mean the beginning of our life…I am sure @lest few of the enlisted must have happened with all of us:
    • As a child, my parents did many things, which I tried to copy without they are telling me to do so
    • With my childhood friends, many times I wanted the same thing (toy, bicycle etc etc) which my friend had, without he is saying me to buy one like that…
    • I Loved Mowgli…that boy who was bought up in the forest…Jungle book…u remember…like him, tried to jump trees in my backyard many times only to hurt myself…
    • Tried to emulate that smart hunk in many ways during my school…silently & many time secretly...!!
    • First time…wow…what a feeling…Wanted to do all things for that beautiful girl in my class @ school…forget about telling me…she probably didn’t know I was trying to impress her every time
    • Really loved my math’s teacher…loved the way he moved…. spoke…behaved…all that knowledge he had.😲😲…I used to search opportunity to study math’s (don’t ask how much I scored…that’s not important..πŸ˜ƒ)..
    • Loved Sachin Tendulkar…. always tried to be like him in cricket field…. with/without a bat…
    • Tried many times to create an impression to my parents that I am studying…😝….
    • With friends in college, many times I tried to influence them…directly/indirectly to make them agree to my point of view…😊😜
    • Tried to copy the topper in college…his/her style of studying…so every time the topper changed so did my style of studying…. πŸ˜„….
    • Did everything to impress my girlfriend …. literally everything…hope she agrees…because things change as one moves from gf to wife…πŸ˜“πŸ˜“…
    • @ Work…goodness gracious…it’s all about creating impression & influencing the big BOSS…😨😰😱😲😳πŸ˜ͺ😴.....Its a different art all together😜
    • As a father, I get into different ways of creating an impression on my daughter for her to evolve as a better human being…

    The List is endless….it will run into thousands if we try to pen down details of every incident of our life….in fact…it will be very difficult for us to take out a single day of our life when we haven’t influenced/tried to do so…&…also not got influenced…!!

    Why is this so…because…Humans are social animals…& …. influencing/getting influenced directly/indirectly is one of the core bonds of being social…
    Direct influence means somebody telling you to do something directly/almost directly…indirect influence means the person doesn’t tell you to do it directly…. you get influenced because you like it …or because of fear, although the person may/mayn’t have intention to influence you.
    So “Influence” as a concept is integral to Humans, but we are talking marketing/business here…😳😲……sorry to have taken your time for it…. let’s look @ marketing/business now…
    If “INFLUENCE” as a concept is integral to humans since primitive times, then it must be a part of basic human behavior…which in business/marketing terms we call as “consumer behavior”.

    Type of Influencing behavior

    Influencer Marketing, Influencers, Influencer connect, Influencer's importance, Influencer_marketing, ayanbiswas,ayan'sblog,marketing, sales
    Influencer Marketing- Direct Influence
    Influencer Marketing, Influencers, Influencer connect, Influencer's importance, Influencer_marketing, ayanbiswas,ayan'sblog,marketing, sales
    Influencer marketing - Indirect Infleunce
    • Direct Influence- Where the influencer in direct/almost direct terms tells you what to do
    • Indirect Influence- Where the influencer doesn’t tell directly but may/mayn’t have the intent to influence the other person

    Marketing as a business function came into being only approx. 100 years back, in 1903 when university of Pennisivlya came up with a basic course on marketing, followed by in 1905 where Harvard came up with a full-time course on marketing. But business, started way before that…sellers were local…so were buyers…so sellers used to identify people they know whom they used to sale their products…the buyers in terms discussed among them (primarily direct influence) & buy the product…

    In late 1800’s (primarily 1860 onwards), when the concept of “mass-marketing” came in... (primarily because of MASS-PRODUCTION- machine production, MASS-DISTRIBUTION-use of mechanized transportation for distribution like rail, road etc, MASS-COMMUNICATION—proliferation of newspaper as a communication medium) …the direct influence started taking different forms.
    Up came new technologies…automobiles…lights…phone…concrete…etc…&…so came with them a group of people who technically were sound enough to know them…repair them…maintain them…a group called EXPERTS…& they continue to do so in the modern world

    When did u repair your car/bike yourself…well...? I may be asking too much…when did you service it last..😊…when did you build your own house like a mason…or you must have made the bed in which u sleep by yourself….or done the electrical wiring of your house by your own hand….or may be the house floor plan was done all by you….😡…u didn’t do majority of these by yourself…or may be none by you…don’t worry majority of us haven’t done any of those….why….because we don’t understand those…

    So what we do in those case…ask the mechanic…the mason…the carpenter…the electrician ….interior designer…the architect...the painter….to do it for us…because we trust they know…&…we agree (in most cases) to their solutions….effectively they INFLUENCE us to do things which they say are right for the vehicle/furniture/house lay-out & design/electrical connection/paints etc….hence all those industries till today work on the concept of INFLUENCER MARKETING…like auto-ancillary (lubricants, tires, batteries, spare parts), Electricals, Building material industries (like tiles, adhesives, cements, paints, Real estate etc). Their primary business route is offline business & ask any of those companies in those industry …they will say the INFLUENCER is equally if not More important than the end consumer i.e. the buyer (like vehicle owner, house owner, furniture owner etc). They influence the brand choice both directly and indirectly…like a painter may tell you use this brand of paint…its better (direct influence) or a mechanic may tell you to trust him & not to worry on the brand of  engine oil (lubricant) he has put in your car (indirect influence)…& in both cases…you trust the companies in those industries have a higher budget to spend on influencers than end consumers (the buyers)…don’t be surprised…@ last…

    Its primarily the influencer who is influencing the brand choice in maximum cases..!!

    Well….what we discussed…was a particular type of influencers….what type are this??....They are the one who is directly linked to the business...&..earn money directly from you for the work they do for you...for ex:  U pay the mechanic, the carpenter, the mason, the interior designer/architect, the painter, the electrician for the job they do for you…during this process they influence you to buy a particular brand….but can there be other type of influencer also…somebody who doesn’t @all has anything to do with your purchase but influence you to buy a particular brand….

    Surprised…yes...there are…think about the sexy film star😍 you loved throughout your college days, the big sports person u followed (like Sachin Tendulkar in my case), the one known figure you endorsed…whenever they came across & talked about a particular brand…u were influenced which may/mayn’t result in a sale…that’s ok…but u were most probably influenced.

    Yes ur right…the one called CELEBRITY ENDORESEMENT in marketing…..well don’t be surprised if I tell u the first celebrity endorsement happened way back in 1760….well before Marketing became a formal function..!!..Those celebrities had no direct correlation of we purchasing/not purchasing a product/brand…they just influenced us to purchase…

    All sorts of business used INFLUENCER MARKETING since long times to generate consumer preferences….& hoped one more thing happened with it…the other marketing advertisement called WORD-OF-MOUTH (surrogate of Influencer marketing)…businesses used the basic “INFLUENCE” concept of consumer behavior of their target audience to reach out by INFLUENCER MARKETING & hoped corresponding WORD-OF-MOUTH will generate the cascading effect for higher brand advocacy and sales…

    Influencer Marketing, Influencers, Influencer connect, Influencer's importance, Influencer_marketing, ayanbiswas,ayan'sblog,marketing, sales
    Influencer Marketing

    Evolution of Influencer Marketing

    The million -dollar question that comes now is…. if this is an age-old process…why so gaga about influencer marketing now…what has changed…!!

    It started well before…but the impact is felt. since last 10 years approx.…. around 2010 onwards…well it is the same thing that has changed the way humans behave…communicate…the same thing has changed a lot in Influencer marketing also…the thing called INTERNET.

    Why ???...What has internet got to do with it??...businesses now could directly INTERACT with their end consumers…mind my words…INTERACT…earlier businesses used to send messages through TV, Newspaper etc…but no/little interaction…

    Now there are 4 things that’s happening parallelly, thanx to INTERNET…then digital…then…Social Media…:

    • Businesses know their consumers & vice-versa
    • They have started interacting: business & consumer
    • Consumers have started interacting with each other
    • Businesses have real time access to their competitors’ actions….

    All in real time- transparent platform visible to everybody…cheers to consumerism...!!

    Which means Influencers in modern era can be celebrities…or common man like us…anybody who has the capability of influencing others in the digital world…

    So, it’s a situation, everybody knows everybody...&…their interactions are transparent & visible to everybody…ooohhhhmmmyyygggoddd……now what…!!

    Think you are a soap company… (everybody/majority use some or the other soap I believe) …earlier your job was to cater to your trade… (5000 distributors…50 lakh odd retailers/whole sellers/traders etc …) ….who in turn was supposed to cater to 120 cr people
    …if its India..!!!.....let’s make it a bit easier…By STP (Segmentation-Targeting-Positioning)…say your target audience is half of those…that’s 60 crores….you used to make some Above-the-line advertisement-ATL- TVC/Newspaper/Radio advertisements or some below-the line advertisement -BTL (ATL/BTL) to reach out to those 60 Million/majority of them…mind my words friends…u reached out to them as a company…now think of the REVERSE… all/majority of those 60 million can reach you directly….that too in an open forum.. where everybody (all 60 Million & your competition) can see….one thing is for sure…. the way you operate needs to change…if you want to survive as a company…. 😣😬

    So, you as a soap company get ready to address all those 60 Crores directly..!!...wait…that’s a humongous task…I mean…60 Cr humans….with @lest 10 Cr different choices & versions….well….so it’s impossible….so what’s the alternative….search that few hundreds whom those 60 Cr/or majority of them believe…look for those guys region-wise, income-wise, gender-wise, education-wise etc etc..(Demographics) who can help you here… smaller number, manageable, less cost, easy to focus & get the output…those are the INFLUENCERS in modern age…!!
    So the buzz about Influencer marketing in current digital/social media is real…a modernized version of the age old definitions…while the traditional ones continue to be influencers…. the new age influencers is the common man….

    Summary Snapshot


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    1. Sir, thank you for sharing your knowledge and for the article. I have a few questions:

      For a start-up that differentiates itself as an influencer led fashion e-comm platform, a large part of the business is based on the inventory of influencers the platform has on contract or otherwise (per content piece for eg). Every brand in every category out there has access to this same group if influencers (Cat A, B and C, with a growing number of Cat D in Tier 3 markets- eg Tik Tok). Given the ever changing landscape of access-control-output between brands-influencer equation, how does an influencer or a brand differentiate itself?

      This influencer activity that most brands do is after/along with the highly targeted ads ( filtered demographics as mentioned in your article) that are activated on fb, google, and a sizeable chunk of re-marketing. How does one refresh the msg without losing the core communication? How does a brand create a dent in the 10 sec memory gap of a millennial consumer today?
      Thank you.

      1. Hi Dear,
        First & foremost, regret delay in reply. My apologies. Thanks for writing in.
        Let's get straight to the point. I would need more information & data to be precise with actionables...but would still try to be as specific as possible based on the information shared........

        In any aggregator model--convenience, reliability and trustworthiness are the 3 key parameters for customers to patronize the service/product & in many cases pay a premium ( ola, zomato etc etc...there are many...infact a lot of the new companies have gone for this model). The point to note is--- Cabs used to exist earlier, so did restaurant....& the fashion influencers in the case you have highlighted..!!
        Now lets try to address your query...��

        Given the ever changing landscape of access-control-output between brands-influencer equation, how does an influencer or a brand differentiate itself?

        The point of differentiation is not new but it existed, both from brand & the influencer perspective. So what has changed..??....In the start-up that you mentioned, its more transparent & comparable along with the 3 points discussed earlier....furthermore it being fast because of the FOMO ( Fear of Missing Out)...which means it has a quick turnaround time....which helps the companies to experiment quickly without much love-lost...

        Companies may initially switch influencers & once they freeze on few, may go for a longer time partnership, thus differentiating itself. Influencer, over a period of time may move into niches ( based on target consumer, product category, stages of PLC ( some may come out as product-launch specialists etc), stages of fashion ( like indoor-outdoor etc)...majority would differentiate like that....

        There is an interesting point here, where the start-up can play a role in creating the differentiation for the influencer as well as the company....over a period the start-up may look for creating some rating system for the influencer...based on criteria's which can be worked out with both the companies & the influencer....(both or @lest majority of influencer & company should its a win-win for both)...which will create an in-built differentiation...that will definitely benefit the start-up (as an aggregator for fashion influencers) in the long run...��

        How does one refresh the msg without losing the core communication?

        If its a well thought through campaign....generally its not a problem...the point is campaigns are thought till the time it's scheduled...not beyond..!!...furthermore, very handful of campaigns have plan B ready...

        The creative generally follow a theme in terms of look & feel there is generally a connect...but all other elements of the content ( i mean everything here...right from text to video to etc.etc.)...generally doesn't have...for many of the brands know....which groups of CTA their target consumers perceive similar..??...or how does the CTA change from a static image to a carousel ad..!!

        How does a brand create a dent in the 10 sec memory gap of a millennial consumer today?

        There is no answer to this...��...its highly subjective ....but to tell you...if somebody asks you to tell your credentials in 10 sec...think about how would you prioritize it...may be your name, age, where you stay, what you do...!!
        If you are able to think exactly the same way when you speak as a brand for 10 sec...probably you will get it correct in maximum given its millennial...your communication creative should align...cheers..!!��

    2. Sir,

      Thank you for your detailed response. It sheds a lot of light on overall approach. However, in reality, fashion ecomm startups based on influencer marketing as a core area of mktng spends work very differently. Below is some data (slightly skewed for privacy purposes). Could you share some insights on solving these issues.

      Startup A has on board 150 influencers across all categories for creating content on a 1 year contract (non -exclusive). This contract has "X" content pieces/month on the influencer's social media + content on startups app platform. influencer needs to tag the merchandise so customers can shop directly by watching the influencer's content. Think of it as video commerce platform led by influencers.
      Weekly, this startup onboards 10-20 new influencers (Cat B, C and D).
      From a market place POV, it has tier 2 and tier 3 apparel wear portfolio. Bigger brands are yet to get convinced to come onboard.
      In the influencer marketing industry, we call Cat A influencers (insta, youtube or Linkedin), "new celebrities". There are some who guarantee minimum 1mn+ swipe ups to the dedicated url we give them. Obj could be app installs (new customer acquisition) or sales (product sale page) or video views (bitly youtube url for a new digital film for eg) depending on the stages of PLC.
      Now, with the same influencer, there are multiple brands (as mentioned earlier). This influencer, despite his/her specific category (footwear, sarees, makeup, sneakers etc), has multiple brands that he/she might not endorse, and simply does a business transaction with zero connection with brand loyalty (9/10 Influencers generally refuse an exclusive contract- if they do, it goes into endorsements for which the costs are very high).
      How does one create a positive ROI from using the same influencers that are accessible to the whole world, have no loyalty, who are known for doing paid gigs all the time (causes "loss of genuine factor" for the brand)?
      While for any campaign, all the creatives, video, copy etc is aligned and is taken care of by a good team, there is no guarantee that using influencers (Cat A if it be) generates +ve ROI. CTA are highly objv dependent too, so even that is well taken care of as paid ads are ROI based incl highly targeted demographics.
      Any views on the above?
      Thank you.

      1. My friend.............Good to see your keen interest in my blog.(Wud be better & more professional if I can address you by name and not anonymous).
        This needs to have slightly more in depth discussion as this action calls for industry specific solution
        I have a "Write to me" box on my page specifically meant for addressing such queries. So, please write to me there to continue with this discussion further.


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