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Power Of Influencer

By Chanda Kumar | June 18, 2018

A majority of brands are using influencer marketing, now an integral part of the media mix, to expand reach and influence the target audience. Let’s take a look at how influencers are helping brands in their shopper marketing strategies, to actually capture and convert shoppers to consumers.

While the world has gone crazy with content, we are overloaded with messages that coaxes us to buy a zillion products and services. And the problem is that we can trust none. Making us rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, family, colleagues or in this case the unbiased feedback from ‘influencers’ on the digital medium. From offering product reviews, latest trends in each category, versatility of the product and its uses to exciting offers, influencers content resonates with shoppers and inspires them to act, leading them down the path to purchase.

When done the right way influencer marketing works brilliantly to help shopper marketers, leading shoppers down the aisle towards the e-commerce site or brick-mortar store too. Speaking to some leading brands and experts from the digital marketing industry, we learnt that more that influencer marketing is getting popular for ensuring effective reach. And what’s even attractive of this medium is that the spends are primarily low, with many influencers settling for barter deals instead of monetary transactions.

Content Turning To Action

In influencer marketing, content is the king. Influencers are accountable for curating content that inspires their audience. From stunning Instagram posts of travel destinations, fashion must-haves of the season, unbiased food review of the new restaurant or tips on using the new mascara, the brand messages cuts through to reach real consumers, creating a longer relationship based on trust and valuing the influencer’s opinions. What’s even better is that influencer content can’t be blocked and is different from digital display ads, as it provides entertainment or informational value as part of an original story. “We look to connect with a set of influencers who are fashion centric, who will help us reach our target audience on a regular basis. Along with a wider reach, the influencers also help us increase engagement with the audience. New product launches form a part of this outreach, depending on the frequency of the launches,” says Atul Garg - Head Marketing & E-commerce, Baggit.

Leading Them To The Store

A glossy magazine ad or quirky commercial on television, may create the push for TG to buy the product, but most times this is short lived. However, the chance of conversion is much higher where the ’word of mouth’ recommendation of a social media influencer can lead you to the online/offline store easily. As for leading online fashion store Myntra, ensuring conversion from influencers comes through in two ways. “We use relevant influencers for the category & brand and not just select an influencer on basis of the reach. Most of the time, buy link is a UTM link which can be tracked and hence can measure the traffic/sales coming from each influencer,” explains Prateek Kotha, Deputy Director - Marketing, Myntra. As for Unibic, a well-known cookie brand, which has interesting social media feeds from influencers on quick & attractive snack recipes using cookies to new product reviews that talk about indulging in cookies in a guilty-free way. Recently there were a series of posts, talking on the advantages of Unibic’s range of Healthy Bars. “Influencers these days do have a huge fan following based on what they post. People with similar taste follow them regularly. This does help in building brand awareness in the market. And, helps in driving sales too, as some of the consumers are ardent fans of the influencers and tend to react by buying a product that has been spoken about,” says Aarti Iyer, Marketing Head, Unibic.

Not Hard Selling But Powerful Influencing

Instead of prodding the TG to buy the product, influencers talk about their experience and also offer interesting information through style hacks, what’s trending and ways to use the same product in different ways. Atul Garg of Baggit explains, “The influencers’ online posts are used to drive the consumers to both our online and offline store. To reach our audience offline, the influencers visit our stores to interact with the Baggit community as well as the new walk-in customers. They share a personalised review about the product, share their own favourites from the collections and listen to the consumer’s opinions about the collections. Thus, the interaction with them results in a personalised experience which the audience cherishes.”

Companies want to tap the reach and influence of established influencers to market their products. And with this there has been a growth of influencer network platforms across India. Manveer Malhi, who until recently was the National Digital Head of IGenero, an interaction agency that does all things digital based out of India, says, “With consumer goods, the consumption is regular and frequent. Hence marketing activities will also be frequently run to spread the marketing message across. Influencers campaigns will be run every quarter to ensure all the marketing campaigns spread on digital where the consumer spends a lot of time now. The influence and clout the engaged influencers have, ensures that the marketing communication is delivered strongly.” Manveer Malhi is now  the Vice President & National Digital Head with Concept PR.

Reaching The Right Audience

It’s vital for brand marketers to reach specific audience, a subgroup, depending on the product or service they are offering, region they are focussing on. And this need for specified audience is duly met through influencers who engage these specific groups much higher than mainstream marketing mediums. Things2doinMumbai, a leading crowd-sourced content destination with a community of 6,00,000+ followers, recently worked on the second store launch of  “The Junction”, a dessert and confectionary brand. The brand approached them to create a buzz and campaign offering a special offer of Rs 3 (for one pancake or milkshake per person). Offer Timing was kept from 4 pm to 9 pm so that both the student and family crowd could avail the offer. The campaign went live via Things2doinMumbai creating a buzz 12-24 hours prior to the launch. People started lining up from 3.30 pm to avail the offer and started going live from the place, posting about the experience thus increasing the brand awareness. Another 5 Lakh+ impression from people in the vicinity were created. And therefore, resulted in extension of offer up to 12 am to serve the consumer and acknowledge their love for the brand. “So the result was that they saw 200% growth in the brand’s followers and marking a total reach - 1 Million+ in less than 24 hours (All organic),” explains Rahul Agrawal, Founder and Director, Things2doinMumbai.

Success Rate

The success of the digital activations done are measured on the basis of engagements, conversations, clicks to links, video views apart from the reach and impressions of the on-ground activation that is more probable to get conversions to the brand. For Baggit, online influencer marketing uses traditional social media listening tools to measure engagement on the influencer posts. “It helps us measure the likes, comments and shares on the influencer post. For offline influencer interactions, we conduct regular blogger meet-ups, to understand the evolving consumer behaviour. Thus, the influencers act as communication-based consultant panel for marketing decisions.”

Atul adds that after the introduction of influencer marketing, Baggit has seen that the brand is occupying a larger consumer mind space. Also, the SKUs that the influencers endorse see a greater recall value, in comparison with those that are not endorsed.

With better measurability, reaching focused target groups and also higher conversions, influencer marketing is now an appealing and strategic medium of the overall marketing mix today. This has also triggered a decent growth of the budgets being allocated for influencer marketing in most brands

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