A new report has been released evaluating the current state of influencer marketing, predicting ways in which the practice can strategically evolve for customer centricity.
Influencer relationship management software Traackr partnered with TopRank Marketing and Altimeter principal analyst Brian Solis to globally survey 102 enterprise brand strategists and marketers on current and future investments and executions in the field, demonstrating what’s working and what’s not for enterprise businesses.
“The business of influence is maturing and proving to be a driving force in enterprise growth and digital transformation,” said Traackr chief executive officer Pierre-Loic Assayag, adding that CMOs must make the findings a priority investment.
The report highlights key ways in which the field needs to develop and mature to become a top priority at board level, with marketers needing to reimagine their role, according to Solis, as “a central driver of organisational change, output and impact by connecting with customers in more genuine and useful ways and on channels they trust and value”.
He reinforced the need for a more human approach with empathy and customer-centricity instrumental to take influence to the next level, reassessing the value of the relationships between influencers and their communities and the importance of customer experience to organisational change and digital transformation.
“A more customer centric approach to marketing fuelled by influencer relationships has universal applications in enterprise organisations,” said Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing. “The insights in this report provide an excellent framework for senior business leaders to evolve their digital practices from content to customer service.”
A key finding of the report revolved around the need for influencer marketing to strategically transition to influencer relations, through ‘always on’ influencer relations programmes, robust budget, resource allocation, planning and investment.
The report showed that while 83% of respondents cited “identify and build one-on-one relationships with industry key influencers” as a top priority, 28% are only involving influencers at a campaign level, while 43% responded that they are still experimenting with the practice.
The result highlights the low level financial and resource investment currently in the field, which it cites as a fundamental failure, with short-term campaign-driven and paid activities failing to deliver the opportunity of an ‘always on’ strategic approach.
Although currently, brands surveyed on average are only allocating a 10% share of budgets, 55% of marketers plan to spend more, with those already investing more than $250,000 annually jumping up to 67% and up to 77% for those already using an IRM technology, indicating that these brands are already reaping benefits and are willing to evolve, build further, invest more and integrate collaboration.
The report also indicates that the role of influence is now expanding to support new areas including marketing, sales, support and loyalty programmes, with 94% of marketers voicing they would like to explore how it can improve brand advocacy and 92% wanting to use it to expand brand awareness.