Influencer marketing is growing rapidly as more businesses/organisations recognize the effectiveness of the word-of-mouth marketing effect it provides. It allows brand promotion, high sales conversion rates and highly targeted outreach. Unfortunately, these ideals have yet to be fully realised by the existing state of the influencer marketing industry. In this article, we highlight the issues affecting the influencer marketing industry and what can be done to reduce/eliminate these issues.
5 problems with the influencer marketing industry and what can be done to eliminate/reduce these problems in your campaigns?
1. Fake/Fraudulent followers & outreach
These days, it's easy to acquire outreach numbers such as followers, web traffic, etc simply by buying them. Anyone could easily purchase a service on any freelance site to gain 10,000 followers or web traffic, which can be used to mislead marketers. As a result, an influencer may appear to have a digital outreach of 15,000 yet in reality, 10,000 of these are fraudulent. Marketers would then be paying for 15,000 followers or web traffic with an actual outreach of just 5,000.
2. Costly and inability to quantify KOL / influencer marketing campaign results
While its well-known that the effect influencers have on a business is largely positive, there is still a lack of accountability in the industry. How are marketers supposed to gauge the success/failure of a campaign? Even on rare occasions KPIs were set, there would be minimal consequences and is usually a matter of cutting losses on the marketer's end. The risks for marketers are still high and hence, a large majority of businesses/organisations are not ready to accept the level of risk influencer marketing currently entails. Influencers may have recently found themselves being unable to secure sponsorships due to these reasons. There is a need to improve this aspect of influencer marketing to benefit both sides. In this industry, it takes 2 hands to clap and right now, businesses and organisations are receiving the shorter end of the stick.
3. Difficulty in discovering and finding the right influencers
Right now, the best way to be successful in getting the best influencers for your needs are hiring expensive marketing agencies/consultants to do it for you. The process is extremely manual, doing audience surveys, identifying influencers within the target market of your business/organisation. The alternative would be subscription based platforms which allow access to their database of influencers. However, this give rise to the next issue.
4. Under-representation of many industries/sectors
Most people today know about Instagram influencers and most of them are in the fashion, beauty or fitness industry. However, many business/organisations are mistaken in that influencer marketing is all about instagram. There are many other sources of influence which have the potential to be influencers in their industries. For instance, automotive magazines can be influencers for the automotive industry. Events/exhibitions can be influencers for the respective industry they are in. Facebook communities/groups can be influencers for their respective industry as well. Unfortunately, they are all severely under utilized by business/organisations for various reasons (i.e. poor business model, inability to quantify ROI, difficulty in discovering the right source of influence).
5. Risky business model(s)
Suppose you are running a e-commerce selling automotive parts, and you would like to engage an influencer. What is the existing fee structure? Pay $25,000 for an influencer for a few posts on certain social media platforms. How would you be sure of the campaign's success? If you hired the wrong influencer or worse still, a fraudulent one, it would be $25,000 written off in expenses with little to no returns. Are you willing to absorb such risks? Any sane marketer would never agree to such terms, yet this is the existing business model.
So, what can be done to eliminate or reduce the problems with influencer marketing?
While traditional agencies and platforms are able to solve some of these issues, it is usually costly due to the high margins to cover labour costs. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the solution. It is not only more economical, it relies on processing millions of past campaign results/data to make decisions which makes it significantly more reliable. With Marzze AI, it strategizes key opinion leaders (KOL) and influencers from across various channels - it's no longer just Instagram or Facebook. Additionally, Marzze AI takes it a step further and automatically executes the campaigns based on the parameters set. In short, our proprietary marketing AI technology has been proven to resolve these issues organizations face in the influencer marketing industry.
Fixed-Price + Performance-Based Approach
It's time to adopt a value-based marketing approach towards influencer marketing. In so doing, we resolve issues #1, #2 and #5 plaquing the influencer marketing industry. By pegging your payments towards a KPI, it ensures healthy levels of ROI for marketers and fully rewards legitimate influencers and content creators with the proper outreach.
However, it's not as simple as it seems. Enabling technology is required to provide the transparency required for value-based influencer marketing to work. Without transparency, KPI results can be skewed and results in unnecessary conflicts. A payment system also has to be set up to ensure timely and accurate payments based on these KPIs set. With these, it incentivises marketers to engage more content creators and various sources of influence in different channels, platforms and industry sectors. It will transform many other sources of influences (content creators, event organisers, forums, groups/communities) to become a much more attractive marketing proposition and be monetarily rewarded for it.
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