Understanding Influencer Marketing

I have always been fascinated about how one becomes a key opinion leader (KOL) or an influencer. I had this short conversation with a friend who wants to start a blog, so that she can be a KOL. But is being an influencer that simple? Is it just about starting a blog and writing content or posting pretty pictures on Instagram or Facebook?

Before I answer that, based on my own observations and opinion, let’s look at Influencer Marketing and understand where this new marketing phenomenon (if you want to call it a phenomenon) came to be.

The Evolution of Marketing

Marketing has greatly evolved from a decade ago. I remember that 10-15 years ago, the concept of customer-centric marketing came to be. From a product-centric perspective, marketers realised that they needed to truly understand the customer in order to stay ahead of competition. Customers became more entrenched in their own decision making process (researching, asking people about their experience with a certain product) since they wanted to get what they deserve with the money that they spend. Thus, marketers chose a specific niche to give value to, to focus efforts and to spread clear messages about what their proposition was.

After this focus on the customer and making customers happy, marketers found that they can use the entire experience to make the entire product experience memorable. This was then the birth of experiential marketing. With experiential marketing, word-of-mouth became the main objective of marketers. They needed people to talk about the product and tell other people about their personal experience with the brand or product.

With the advent of social media, anyone can now actually share their experience with products that they purchase and with experiences that they had with a service. Way back in 2000, Malcolm Gladwell published a book called the Tipping Point, that talked about three archetypes: the salesperson, the connector and the maven. This is how Gladwell described Mavens.

A Maven is a person who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. This person likes to initiate discussions with consumers and respond to requests … they like to be helpers in the marketplace. They distribute coupons. They take you shopping. They go shopping for you … This is the person who connects people to the marketplace and has the inside scoop on the marketplace.

I thought that his description was a great prelude to what we know key opinion leaders or influencers to be. As early as the year 2000, or even before that (no one knows), the concept of influencer marketing (I believe) was already being practiced but in small circles. Social Media paved the way for KOLs/Influencers to reach more people, once geographically impossible to reach.

What is Influencer Marketing?
As I’ve mentioned, I have this weird fascination for Influencer Marketing. I’ve always wondered how people become influencers. Influencer Marketing is using people with influence to talk about and sell your product and services. They say that for every $1 that you spend on an influencer, it comes back 20x in terms of revenue / sales. I don’t have exact figures for influencer marketing in the Philippines, but it may be true!

In the process of observing celebrity influencers, tier 1 influencers (yes, there are levels!), and other influencers no matter what level, I have come to realize these things about Influencer Marketing.

Who they are?
In terms of personality, I have seen that the effective influencers don’t wear any masks. They don’t pretend to be someone that they’re not. They tell it as it is. This is the reason why influencers come in all shapes, forms, sizes, etc. Banish all judgement on how you think influencers “should be or look like” because a template does not exist. They can be introverts or extroverts. It doesn’t matter. They are very authentic people, and honest about who they are and how they feel. This authenticity builds trust. This trust makes everything they say believable. It makes everything that they do aspirational, and all of the things that they do commands respect.

What they say?
They are known and are effective when it comes to talking or spreading the word about a particular topic. And usually, these are topics that they are truly passionate about! They “talk”, “write”, “vlog”, “draw” with so much passion that the energy is felt by their audience. There is a certain charisma (I actually don’t know if it’s the right term) that draws people to stop, look and listen to this person.

What did they do?
Consistency is something you’ll notice they have. I’m not sure though if this stems from the being passionate about something that they believe in or something that they love doing. So if it’s blogging, they always have new and relevant content that contains experiences that resonates with their audience. If it’s posting in social media, they constantly post Instagram stories or status that slowly builds and tells a “story” about their life or about who they are as real people. They deeply engage with brands that they love, that help their “cause or advocacy”, and are proactive with reaching out to them.  They also engage only with brands that they authentically love!

Obviously, as an influencer, it took quite some time to get to that status, and it takes hard work and constant reiteration of what you believe in and what you stand for. And that “reiteration” is not a blatant, hard-sell kind of a thing. Since everything is authentic, the “message” is intertwined with the influencers lifestyle. It’s almost impossible to distinguish what is “sponsored” and what isn’t.

These are my thoughts on Influencer Marketing. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this? Think of an influencer that you know and tell me what makes you gravitate towards that person (leave your thoughts on the comment section below). Why do you think what he / she says and does makes a huge impact or resonates with you?

Together, let’s analyze how influencers become influencers! 🙂

3 Things that Big Brands should Learn about Marketing and Customer Relationships

Times have definitely changed. With the changing times, the market has also evolved. Needs have changed and reactions on how to address those needs have changed even more. With this, traditional marketing as we know it is not that effective anymore. Brands now have to change the way they deal with customers. I have identified 3 things that big brands should learn about marketing in today’s times.

Before we jump into the 3 things, let’s again define what marketing is. Marketing is the exchange of values between buyer and seller. When we talk about values, it doesn’t necessarily mean money (so as to put it in context). Some people may consider other things more valuable like time, relationship, service, etc.

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Going back, these are the 3 things that big brands should learn about marketing and dealing with their customers.

1. Worry about ME, hopefully more than you worry about competition.

I don’t know what made us so competitive. My daughter who is three years old thinks that everything’s a game and she needs to win. She thinks being first to get to elevator, brushing her teeth, taking a bath, all of these things are games to her. For a three year old, I get it. I think these kids just want to have fun.

I don’t get big brands though, when they get very competitive.  It’s good to be aware of what the competitor is doing, but it will be better if you place more focus on us, your potential customers. Sometimes you lose us, because you’re too focused on what the competitor is doing. Focus on what we want rather on getting ahead.

2. Talk to me like i’m a person, because I AM A PERSON.

Personally, i’m sick and tired of brands who see me as “revenue”, “target market” or as a “lead”. See me as a person, because that is what I am.  I am a marketer and the essence of what marketing is all about is understanding the person. Marketing is understanding the behaviour, the feelings, the effect of things on a person, the sentiments of a person and trying to look for a solution and address those by linking your product or service.

It’s not the other way around. Don’t be so in love with your brand, because as a consumer, I couldn’t care less. I have a plethora of choices (and the internet makes it easier to switch), and being a big name doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is that you listen, not only to me, but also to your other customers. You try to win my trust, and yes, you will eventually do if you just listen and make me feel like I matter to you, too.

3. Build relationships as people and not as a brand.

A lot of big companies look into what startup businesses do (especially in the tech startup world). They think tech startups are magical. They try to peek into what these tech startups do, and what made them as big as Facebook, Uber, and the like. I’ve been a part of both worlds — a corporate slave and a struggling tech startup founder, and I have observed some differences. Pertaining to the topic today, I have seen that startups are known not only as brands but as people. And I think that most of the start-ups are not only known as brands, because customer validation and getting out of the building to know their customers is a key thing that do. With this, people or possible clients get to know the people behind the brand and not the brand alone.

One of the things that the big brands can do is send their people to where their customers are so that they can have intimate and real conversations with them. Check on the mood and the sentiments of the customers. Leave the office!

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Tell Me What I NEED to Hear: Marketing and Relationships

Marketing is so complicated. It’s just like courting the girl of your dreams or flirting with Mr. Right. Since it’s the month of love, I’ll oftentimes relate business to relationships. I have loved studying and practicing marketing all my life and yet, even with all the knowledge that I have, I still make mistakes.

You might say, “Arrrrgh, really, Ginger. How can we trust anything you say, now that you have admitted to failing?” Being the perfectionist that I am, I actually hate failing, but a friend recently reminded me again that it’s okay to fail. We, honestly, learn new things (and I’m not saying this as a scapegoat for my failures. It’s really true that you get to learn.) from stumbles, roadblocks and challenges. So, today, I have done some retrospection and have recalled the times when I have failed in marketing, and I will share with you the reasons why I failed.

MARKETING & RELATIONSHIPS

Reasons why I failed in some Marketing Strategies? (Hope you really read these!)

#1 I identified and tapped the wrong market / audience

What is prevalent when you talk to business owners is that they want to sell their product to everyone. Well, this marketing disease has been there for ages, so this no-no strategy is not new. For those though who have identified a market for their product or brand, we fail in marketing because we have identified the wrong market.

Why do we fall into this trap? Well, just like relationships, some of us just jump the gun and ask someone to be our other half without truly knowing him / her. We make conclusions and we expect that person to be Mr. or Ms. Right just because we have spent days with him / her, bashing in the rays of sweetness, daydreaming about a perfect life together. In business, we oftentimes, make conclusions, too. We, especially if we are a part of that market, think that our needs are similar to everyone in our circle. The likelihood of this is greater, but not always correct. We cannot generalize or assume this to be true. Another thing is that the market that we have identified may be too small for business or brand longevity. When you segment the market, be sure that the market you have identified can sustain your business.

What you can do?
Validate your assumptions by talking to other representatives of the market that you have identified and look at the size of the market.

#2 We started with “Execution” when the “Strategy” wasn’t in Place yet

Have you ever just blurted out something to a loved one, without really thinking about the words, and you probably did this because you were so emotional and wanted to tell him / her how you felt? Then, soon after, you realize the big mess that you got yourself into and regret it for the rest of your life.

Well, in marketing, a lot of times, we also make the same big mistake. We get so excited with producing a video, a marketing collateral, a super nice poster, etc. just because that “brilliant” idea for execution hits us without even thinking about the overall strategy for our product and brand. Also, sometimes, we just execute because everyone’s doing the same thing, even if the campaign is not really aligned with our brand.

What you can do?
Start with developing the strategy and the plan first!

#3 We are so full of ourselves and our idea that we fail to listen and tell our market what they need to hear

In relationships, most of the time, we feel like we have been giving our all, but we actually fail to listen and tell our partners what they NEED to hear. We keep on giving unsolicited advice. We keep on nagging. Bottomline is, we fail to listen. A simple “It will be okay. Everything will be fine” or just a kiss or a hug may be all that he / she needs.

In marketing, we sometimes make the mistake of bombarding our potential customers with messages that they don’t really want to hear. We tell them so many things that they end up running away overwhelmed or uninterested.

What you can do?
We need to learn how to listen and say only things that matter.

There are other marketing lessons that I have learned. I may need to share it with you on another day. How about you? Want to share with us what marketing lessons you have learned?

Have a happy love month!

XOXO,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

 

 

 

 

PS. Here are some marketing courses that you might want to enroll in 🙂

How To Launch Your Business Bonus: Go Online, Offline, Or Both

Raket Remedies: Business Acceleration Formula (Webinar)

Market Your Business Like A Boss!

WordPress Blogging Basics

Email Marketing Session

Understanding Digital Marketing

I had a conversation with a friend recently about the best way of using Facebook for advertising our products and services. We are both business owners and one of the tedious parts of the running a business is really marketing. Marketing is essential and requires strategic thinking. Because of technological advancements, marketing has changed. There are new tools that you can use in the realm of Digital Marketing.

According to Digital Marketing Philippines, Digital Marketing helps generate better revenues. Companies using digital marketing strategies have 2.8 times better revenue growth expectancy. Small and medium enterprises using digital marketing techniques will have 3.3 times better chances of expanding their workforce and business. The internet will remarkably help the growth for small and medium enterprises. Business2Community (business2community.com) forecasts that digital marketing budgets will increase by 35% in 2016. This is a great opportunity for freelancers to ride the wave and earn money through digital marketing jobs.

For traditional business owners and for those like me, who were born in the era where tri-media and below-the-line advertising were popular, Digital Marketing may be a bit hard to comprehend (especially for one without a marketing background). We know the importance of understanding this and we really want to know how, but we don’t know where to begin. Lucky for you, Freelancer.ph and ManilaWorkshops.com have partnered up to bring you this session for the Talino Talks Workshop Series.

Talino Talks Digital Marketing

Our speaker for this series is Cath Quiambao from Freelancing.ph. The session is entitled How to Win at Freelance Digital Marketing Workshop. Freelancers, business owners, employees, employers, WAH-ers are all welcome to join! This will be on August 7, 2015, Friday from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

You can sign up at this link: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/talino-talks-digitalmarketing

Here are more details about the workshop!

COURSE DESCRIPTION
The Digital Marketing Workshop is a short intensive class that will introduce you to the fundamentals of digital marketing. The course aims to develop your skills to be able to plan, implement and measure effective campaigns. It will cover different digital platforms and tools to help you craft sound recommendations for your company or your client’s business. In this course, you will learn:

COURSE OUTLINE
Introduction
Speaker Intro
Digital Marketing Defined
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Digital Marketing Dynamics
Trends
Customer Behavior/ Millennials
Brand Persona
Goal Setting
ROI Driven Strategy

Pillars of Digital Marketing
Content Marketing
Social Media
Email Marketing
PPC/Adwords
CRM/Automation
Mobile Marketing
Affiliate Marketing
SEO

In Focus: SEO
Illustrations
Case studies
Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

Measuring Performance
Google Analytics
Facebook Insights
Other useful tools of the trade
Community building

Closing
Opportunities in Digital Marketing
Potential Income
Last words for aspiring digital marketers
Connect with me

Q&A

SIGN UP NOW AT: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/talino-talks-digitalmarketing