Traditional outbound marketing is on its way out. And influencer marketing is on the rise.
Wondering what’s influencer marketing?
This type of market involves a company using an influencer to advertise their product or service.
And, according to this study, it seems to be working wonders.
Word-of-mouth delivers twice as many sales as paid advertising.
On top of that, it has a higher customer retention rate—37% to be exact.
Which is why you’re seeing more influencers on TV such as Youtube stars, Ray William Johnson, DeStorm Power, and Colleen Evans on DiGiorno’s TV ad campaign.
And it’s not just large companies that use digital marketing influencers. Smaller companies do too.
So, whether your company is large or small, you can still benefit from an influencer promoting your brand.
But just what is an influencer? And how do you find him or her?
Read on to find out!
What is a digital marketing influencer?
In a nutshell, an influencer is someone who’s very active on social platforms, including blogs. They’re already brand advocates, whether they have contracts with those brands or not.
And, besides this, they’re niche promoters—just by talking.
To put it simply, their words move mountains.
For instance, Oprah is a very famous and popular influencer. Books on her booklist can expect to do better simply because she recommends them.
Other influencers include Tesla CEO and Founder, Elon Musk, Basketball Superstar, Michael Jordan, and real estate millionaire, Barbara Cocoran.
However, an influence doesn’t have to be as mainstream and financially successful as these three.
Actually, we’re seeing many influencers from Youtube and blogs. Which goes to show you don’t need to own a television network, create cutting-edge hybrid cars, or sell high-end real estate to be one.
How do you determine the right influencer for your brand?
Ok, so now that you know what an influencer is, how do you know which influencer is right for your brand? Here’s what you need to know…
1. Study your target audience
First, you need to take a hard look at who you’re selling to. Would someone who takes a more conversational approach be better?
Or what about an influencer who comes off as traditionally professional?
Also, how niche-specific do you need to get to appeal to your target audience?
The answers to these questions will help you get a sense of what type of digital marketing influencer you’re looking for.
Want a trick?
Check out your buyer persona. (If you don’t have one, be sure to create one.)
Highlight the key personality traits and features in it.
Then, look for those traits in the influencers you’re scouting out.
2. Assess the influencer’s reach
The reason being, the influencer brings his or her audience plus the audience’s networks.
So, the bigger the audience, the bigger the networks. And the farther their reach.
But numbers aren’t the only factor that determines an influencer’s reach. How the audience responds and interacts with the influencer is vital, if not more important.
In other words, the influencer’s words cause action.
For instance, you monitor a digital marketer’s social media platform. You see, they tweeted their recent blog post on Twitter.
There are comments below the tweet saying things such as “Wow, thanks for the tips! I’m going to start using them right away.”
Or “Thanks. You’ve convinced me to check out insert-tips/products-influencer-recommended.”
These comments show that the influencer’s words are directly affecting the lives of their audience.
Why is this important?
Because, you can bet an influencer will incorporate the same style they use for their blog posts, Youtube videos, etc… to discussing your product or service.
At the end of the day, sure, a digital marketing influencer may have millions of followers. And their words, be it on social media or blog posts, could stimulate conversations.
However, if no action comes from those words, the numbers don’t matter.
Meaning the influencer could discuss at length why he or she loves your product. But few sales will come from it.
3. How relevant is the influencer…to your audience
Again, it comes down to audience.
And again, reflect on your buyer persona to determine the level of relevancy.
Just because an influencer in relevant to millennials doesn’t mean you’ll get more sales.
If your target audience is in their mid to late forties and fifties, consider an influencer that’s in that same age bracket.
Basically, what it boils down to is…
The more relevant the influencer is, the better chance you have of getting more sales.
How do you get the influencer to promote your brand?
So, you’ve found an influencer you’d like to be the “spokesperson” for your brand. Now what?
1. Financial offer
We’re talking about your standard financial offer, where company A offers influencer B an X amount of money per month.
That said, financial offers are tricky for a couple of reasons. For one, if the influencer isn’t extremely passionate about your brand, the marketing will look hypocritical and ingenuine.
Adding a financial incentive will just add to the ingenuity.
However, given the influencer loves your product or service. And has already mentioned it several times in blog and social media posts.
A financial offer could make the influencer even more eager to show off your product or service.
Nonetheless, financial offers depend on the situation, influencer, niche, and target audience.
Commission may be a little easier, and more genuine to the audience.
It makes you look not as money-hungry because the purchase also benefits the influencer as well.
Plus, the influencer’s audience (which, if you did your research, means your audience too) is more likely to support the influencer than a company.
Because their trust is worth more than the company’s.
3. Offer your product or service
A lot of fashion businesses give their models free clothing. Restaurants and theme parks will give their employees discounts.
These perks are a thank you. And “I appreciate your hard work.”
While the digital marketing influencer isn’t your employee, offering your products or services to them does relay a similar message.
For more information about digital marketing, contact us.
Why do organisations succeed? To answer that question, it’s worth asking, ‘Why do they fail?’
The goal of any organisation is to benefit society; through jobs, value creation, innovation, education etc. At Blirt we want our customer’s customers to have great experiences so organisations ultimately do succeed and bring wonderful benefits to society.
The statistics tell us that only 1 in 12 entrepreneurs and their organisations make it through the start up process and find a sustainable path.
That’s less than 9% making it. It’s not a good rate.
What Builds Market Success?
A great resource, which I love, is the The Start Up Genome. The Start Up Genome analysed data from over 3,200 companies across multiple nations over many years and determined some criteria for success.
What are two of the insights gleaned?
1. Those who succeed must have a good product and a large market opportunity. In other words they must be able to set up a scale scenario.
2. Align the 5 growth dimensions and scale these together. In order to achieve this scale, the Start Up Genome identified 5 fundamental growth dimensions:
2.4 Business Model
The Start Up Genome found that the predominant reasons for failure was the premature scaling of one or more of these areas.
For example, too much funding can lead to lazy product development, too many team members can kill creative and resourceful thinking (and cashflow!), too many products too quickly can confuse a market segment and broaden reach too quickly. This list could go on and on….
Scaling a consistent customer experience with all areas of the business in alignment is the key. And, yes, it is extremely hard to do. It is like balancing spinning plates on pencils. (I know because as our little business has grown we have certainly failed and succeeded at this at different points in time).
The Start Up Genome identified 6 stages of growth every organisation goes through – it’s the classic ’s’ curve.
As we work with organisations on building customer experience strategy, we will firstly determine where the organisation is on this curve and then apply the most appropriate customer centric strategies.
For example, there is no point unleashing millions of dollars in executing an advertising program if the lead flow, customer care, CRM and ROI tracking are not in place. Conversely, you may have spent money on building a technology platform but if you’re not putting customers through it, well, it’s just like building a boat and never putting it in the water.
What Should Leaders Focus On?
What should leaders be prioritising during the different stages of the organisation’s growth?
Here is a brief breakdown on where to place some priorities – based on our experience with our clients and products according to the 6 stages of growth.
Focus on developing an idea through the context of Vision and Market (Customer). What’s the opportunity and how might it sit within the market? What might this organisation look like, act like, feel like – what problem are we solving for society?
Really, you are asking the questions of why do we exist and what value do we bring to our customer. As the answers to these questions become clearer you will being to rally people around your problem and you will begin to frame up your brand positioning and perceptions.
You should be spending time and money on knowing, understanding and testing ideas with your customer. Learn quickly and discover the nuances of your customer’s needs and desires.
Focus on validating the idea with potential customers. The objective is to understand if a customer will pay for the service or product developed. The emphasis is on executing (selling!) – simply get a result. I love Seth Godin’s approach in this stage; ‘Build the Sales Deck and go and see if you can sell it! (See Seth Godin’s Start Up School Podcast)
Spend time and money trying to get sales – as quickly as possible. This does’t need to be expensive either. In today’s digital world it can be very easy and quick to determine if there is market demand.
Focus on achieving a profitable business. If a dollar is made in Validation, then a profitable dollar must be made in Efficiency. The emphasis is on Business Model, Systems, People and Culture.
It is during this phase that external investment often comes in to the business, in fact, the Start Up Genome identified that investments at the end of this stage of the business cycle almost quadrupled.
It makes sense, who wants to invest in a business that’s still working out how to make money? Rather, an investor wants to invest in a business that’s worked out how to make money but hasn’t yet triggered a scale and needs their capital, connections and support.
You should be sustaining your customer focussed activities and beginning to spend money on people, systems, technology, process, structure, training and culture. Work out how to repeatably make a return. This is the engine in the organisation that allows you to then pour more oil in and go faster.
Focus on lifting all areas of the leadership and management functions in alignment. The emphasis is a weighted effort on all parts of the Leadership functions with a particular drive on building brand awareness within your market, reinforcing core perceptions and driving a clear strategy in executing customer growth programs.
Getting things like brand clarity, operating rhythm, marketing cycles, conversation ratios, standardised experiences etc are all part of bring alignment across the business in preparation or during the early stages of scale. (Read our article on Brand Architecture in relation to this).
You should be spending money on media (paid, earned and owned), employing new people and taking market share from your competitors.
Focus on keeping an even keel and then begin to plan your investment in the next renewal phase. The emphasis here is on people & culture with an R&D exercise on customers and business model innovations.
The success of the organisation’s ability to renew itself into the next cycle of growth will be it’s ability to build new innovations on it’s current platforms. The people that know your current customers the best ought to be your current team – therefore, the best ideas ought to be coming from the current team.
You should be spending money on your people. Hold them, give them time to think and nurture creative thinking across your team.
The focus is planting or reinventing for the future. The emphasis is on communicating the vision of the new ideas, setting strategy on these new ideas and building the early business model around them.
Really, it’s like starting up again but this time with a little more capital, effort and experience. Every organisation – Profit or Not for Profit – goes through this cycle and really your future growth is really about your ability to sustainable customer experiences time after time after time.
The mistake big organisations make during this phase is to invest heavily in these new ideas without getting the market positioning and customer experience right. There are countless examples of large sums of capital being thrown at average businesses simply because that organisation has been successful in the past.
Here in Australia, we just need to look at the Masters business by Woolworths and Lowe’s to see an over capitalised weak market positioning that grew not by market demand but executives passion for beating a competitor.
Strangely, you should be spending very little on these new ideas and executing on agile principles until you know it can work.
What Next? Where Are You?
What do you do next? If you’re unsure about what to do or where to focus on next, talk to us. Perhaps try Reveal, a small and helpful exercise might be our Reveal program which helps leaders determine where to dedicate time and capital across the marketing and sales function.
Or In Blirt Language; How To Get Your Brand Family In Order.
If you read or follow our approach at Blirt when it comes to brand, customer experience or technology, everything is about people – people buy things from people.
That’s why we build brands like characters and it’s why we focus on customer experience over advertising, simplicity over cool, content over channel and wisdom over theory.
Brands are complex, because characters and people are complex. And, when it comes to organising and aligning families – well, let me just ask, ‘How was your Christmas? Was your family and extended family easy to organise & maintain peaceful relationships?’ 😃
In the same way brand families, or what is commonly referred to as Brand Architecture, are sometimes difficult to organise and keep aligned across business units and departments.
Many Brand Architecture models have been developed over the years. All come down to understanding how far or close the brand is in relationship to another brand. The last thing you want is a collection of brands within an organisation with purpose, clarity or order.
The Purpose of Brand Architecture
The purpose of Brand Architecture is to enable the organisation’s business model to scale whilst retaining clarity to the customer.
This is really important to understand. The purpose of Brand Architecture is allowing the business to grow at the right pace (ideally as quickly as possible) whilst being crystal clear in offering to the customer.
A business will not scale if the brand architecture slows it down, creates confusion or allows one brand to devalue another with a net negative effect.
As humans we see and understand brands through the lens of human characteristics and therefore we will always buy things from ‘people’ whether they are face to face or we’re transacting online.
Our approach below uses human centred concepts. When thinking about brand families; think about parent, child, brother / sister, cousin, friend or neighbour and the closeness or distance that comes from the relationships between these types of people.
When there are two brands in a portfolio are they a Parent Child relationship or a Brother Sister relationship? Should a brand which be presented alongside, underneath or some distance from another brand.
Many organisations get this part of their brand strategy very wrong due to poor thinking about the practical nature of relationships.
The Four Basic Structures of Brand Families / Brand Architecture
When organising a Brand Family or Brand Architecture, there are four simple categories to understand. And, just like families, if we tried to organise all the families in the world into four categories there will definitely be grey areas and differences. Therefore, use this is a framework for unpacking a solution not an absolute gospel.
Here is a starting point to think about your brand family and how to organise 1 or one hundred brands within an organisation. The four ways of organising brands are:
- Parent Lead
- Family of Leaders
- Parent Endorsed
- Lead Individual
A Branded Family/House which can include brother/sister relationship or a more distant cousin relationship. However, one member of the family takes a definite leadership and contextual role.
An example here is BMW.
It’s also worth noting the brother / sister relationship that exists between BMW and Mini. You will typically find a dealer retailing both brands next to each other given their corporate structure.
Family of Leaders
Within this family construct, individual Child Brands lead and can have a connection when needed under the family name, or stand alone if required.
A great example here is the Coca Cola family. At last count there over 110 brands within the Coca Cola family – some connect to each other, some stand alone. All lead directly as stand alone brands within their prospective segments.
A Child Brand is endorsed by a Parent Brand to give the endorsed entity meaning, purpose and a set of perceptions. Parent endorsed could also be split into Subtle Endorsement or Dominant Endorsement.
A Subtle Endorsement would be they way Unilever signature their ads and products with the dropdown tab of Unilever brand mark. The leading brand is in the example below Axe deodorant but the Unilever endorsement drops in as a subtle endorsement at the end of the TV advertisement.
A Dominant Endorsement would be the way Marriott endorses it’s various brands within the portfolio. In this example, the Marriott brand plays a very dominant role in the design and mark of the asset.
A leading individual is a classic single individual brand. Some are Leading Individuals because there is no need for a diversity of brands or because the leading dominant brand absorbs and covers all acquisitions and merges.
The example used here is Accenture.
How Clear is Your Organisation’s Brand Family?
Remember, the purpose of building a brand family is to allow an organisation to scale the business model whilst retaining and enhancing clarity to the customer.
Are you achieving this? If you’re not sure or need to review your customer’s brand experience, talk to us.
Please note that the trademarks and images used in this blog post are owned by their rightful owners and not used with their permission but gathered for an educational purpose from their respective websites to illustrate this approach. We love them all and thank them for their participation within this article.
Tealium Appoints Blirt As First Local Distribution Partner
Sydney, NSW – 16 July 2015 –Tealium, the leader in enterprise tag management and real-time customer data solutions, today announced it has appointed Blirt, a leading technology driven marketing agency, as the first distribution partner in Australia. It is the first wholly local partnership for Tealium.
Under the partnership agreement, Blirt will provide Tealium’s data capture and management solutions to it’s property, finance, automotive, tourism and education clients to enable them to better manage and leverage their first party data, and drive more personalised, relevant interactions.
‘Marketers with right-now targeting ability from real-time data continue to see increased success in digital marketing,’ said Eyal Mekler, Managing Director, Tealium Australia. ‘The best creative executions need access to segmented, behaviourally-rich data to deliver conversions across all touchpoints. Tealium makes your first party data as easy to access as opening a browser and simple to share across all digital channels for better multi-channel marketing.”
“Blirt is an agency that understands the importance of data as an enabler of their creative campaigns,” added Mekler. “We’re very happy to have such a like-minded partner in Australia.”
Blirt provides clients with specialist skills in online customer journey management and digital brand experiences to unlock data for powerful revenue producing communication programs.
“The digital customer is mobile, always on, multi device and extremely social,” said Blirt Managing Director, Stuart Leo. “Tealium’s audience segmentation and tag management solutions are unmatched in their ability to reveal new opportunities in data driven marketing programs.”
“Behavioural targeting in real time across many devices is the future of digital marketing and Tealium’s products allow our clients to unlock large data pools useful for branding and lead generation or nurturing. It’s a powerful addition to our digital brand experience offering.”
As part of the partnership agreement, Blirt will offer Tealium iQ Tag Management and Audience Stream solutions to clients and prospects.
Tealium iQ and the Tealium AudienceStream enable online businesses to accelerate technology deployments and harmonize fragmented marketing data to drive relevant cross-channel customer interactions in real time. Using Tealium’s solutions, marketers can flexibly deploy more than 800 turnkey digital marketing technologies, including popular solutions such as Maxymiser, Monetate, Certona, Optimizely, and others. In addition, via strategic integrations with e-commerce platforms such as Oracle Commerce, IBM Commerce solutions, hybris, Demandware, and Magento, joint customers can seamlessly leverage Tealium iQ within those environments to deliver a more targeted customer experience and drive more online revenue potential.
When you understand what brands are – the collection of purpose, thoughts, ideas and personality of an organisation, person or product – you understand that brands are simply ‘character’.
That’s why brand and reputation are so intrinsically connected.
A reputation is an external impression of an internal state. You might like to simplistically think that reputation is the external outcome of that person’s internal beliefs and values.
What are the Characteristics of a Great Brand?
They hold a clear and defendable point of difference in the market.
Are relatable and authentic in their relationships.
They are aspirational and inspirational and thus become attractive to draw others towards them.
They deliver their promise time after time after time. They don’t say they’re trustworthy in communication they just simply do what they say which builds trust.
They are simple, clear and deliver a well defined message.
They are loved by their own people and those that seek to interact with them.
They have worth. Good brands build value back into the organisation.
They can be held accountable. They can be measured to demonstrate and improve performance. What they do is far more important than what they say.
How does your brand rate against each of these?
Is your brand working hard for you?
Download this guide to discover 4 ways to turn your brand into cashflow.