Elevator thoughts. Influencers - do we need them?
I get asked this question more often than I would like. What do you think of influencers? Do you think they have a positive impact on your business? What is their ROI?
The honest answer is, it all depends.
It all depends on the industry that you are in, your objectives for using them and also if you’re being realistic with the results that you expect from them.
I have witnessed in industries where the products and brands in question are to a certain extent fast moving goods, have a low price of entry and easily accessible tend to collaborate with famous influencers and sell out their product in no time, draw crowds to stores that require security and overall have a positive enough impact for the brand that results in the head of Marketing portrayed as a modern day hero.
I have also been part of a list of marketers that have handed the keys of a brand-new car over to influencers but do not see an immediate or even medium-term uptake in sales. There have also been luxury fashion brands that dressed influencers head to toe in their clothes without noticing the needle move.
Does this mean our plan failed?
In a downturn (economically speaking) where immediate results are expected and bottom line impact is critical, then yes.
But if you want to play the long game and your objective is to build awareness that may not yield results today, but sometime in the future when that customer will eventually enter that purchase cycle and recalls you in her/his consideration set. Then yes.
We sometimes forget that even in tough times, we need to work on creating connections with customers, and while influencers are not the end game in this, for better or worse they do play a role somewhere in the marketing funnel.
Marketers and brands need to have a healthy balance as they approach the market. If you keep your eye on the short game you tend to lose sight and customers in the future and your brand health may remain stagnant. If you only focus on the long term, then you won’t sell anything today to position you to invest for future projects.
So back to the question. Influencers, do we need them?
Like I said before, it all depends.