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A firm that wants to bring a marketing presence across to younger consumers these days is facing a set of very unique Challenges, and the reason for this is that consumers who are born after 1995, so those younger than 25 years, which are generally referred to as Generation Z, have media consumption patterns that are fundamentally different to, well, let's say people of my generation.

They no longer watch TV, they watch Netflix. They no longer listen to radio, they listen to Spotify. They don't read magazines and newspapers, they get the information from reddit. And from a marketing message, this implies that traditional forms of communication such as TV advertising, radio advertising or print advertising simply can no longer reach those consumers.

These changes in media consumption patterns have over the past couple of years resulted in two significant shifts in how firms communicate with such customers.

The first one is that we see an increasing rise in outdoor advertising, and you can see this all over the world by the increasing prominence of billboards for example.
The second is that firms increasingly engage in communication online, and specifically on those platforms where these consumers are present, for example Instagram or TikTok.

This has given rise to an entire industry that we call influencer marketing. Influencer marketing describes a case where a firm works with a user on such a platform that is considered to be particularly Influential, and leverages this user to get a marketing message across to the follower base of that user.
Influencer marketing today accounts for about 10 billion dollars, and represents 5% of the global advertising budget of the world.

The challenge, however, is that influencer marketing is fundamentally different from traditional forms of marketing, and firms therefore struggle very frequently with it.
And this was the reason for the research that we did on the topic.

Based on our research, we have four pieces of advice that we can give firms who want to engage in influencer marketing.

The first one is that you have to take time to understand the user culture of these platforms. A post from Facebook cannot be simply copied to Instagram, and an Instagram story does not necessarily make a good TikTok. Each of these platforms have their own user base, their own inside jokes, their own memes, their own trends and challenges, and it takes time to understand them. One efficient way of doing so can actually be to work with influencers, because in addition to helping you to pass your marketing message, an influencer can also help you to learn about the platform and about the specific constraints.

The second is that firms need to see that an influencer cannot be booked like an advertising slot in a magazine, instead an influencer should be engaged over a longer term period and we see collaborations that last 3, 6, 9 or even 12 months. This allows the influencer to get to know your product and find the best way of communicating about your product with his or her follower base, and it allows you to recycle the content created by the influencer.

Influencer nowadays are very professional, they produce content on the same level of quality as many advertising agencies would, so there is no reason why you cannot use the photo that your Instagram influencer posted for you and then use it later for print advertising, for example.

Third, firms need to think very carefully which type of influencers to engage in which situation.

Sometimes, it might make sense to work with a very large influencer who has hundreds of millions of followers, if you want to create awareness, for Example. In other cases, it might be much more efficient to work with smaller influencers, who only have 10 or 20 000 followers, for example, because they have a much stronger bond with their community.

However, one point that firms often forget is the cost of managing influencers, because managing 100 smaller influencers is often
100 times the work of managing one bigger one because this management can rarely be done in an automated way.

And finally, firms need to understand that influencers need to be briefed differently than traditional advertising agencies used to be briefed. You cannot brief an influencer very very closely because honestly, the influencer knows better how to bring the marketing message to his or her follower base than you do.
So instead of closely briefing, it is much more efficient to leave flexibility to the influencer and then subsequently approve the content that has been created.

The recent months have shown us how fast the space of influencer marketing can change. We have seen the rise of Tik-Tok all over the world, and then some weeks later discussions that the platform might be completely banned from one of its largest markets, the United States.

So while it is not really clear and while nobody knows whether in five years we will still talk about Instagram or Tik-Tok, what remains clear is that the concept of influencer marketing remains, and that every firm needs to get used to it one way or the other.

Publié le lundi 30 novembre 2020 . 5 min. 29

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