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Capturing the “Older Cousin” Effect of Influencer Marketing with Outloud Group

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During #SMWONE, The Outloud’s Group Bradley Hoos explained why influencer marketing should be regarded as “the Magic Johnson” of your marketing mix.

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Long before we had influencer marketing, we had older siblings and cousins who showed us what we wanted to do, be, and try. They were the original influencers. For Outloud Group’s Bradley Hoos, it was his cousins in particular. We followed them, he says, because they had our trust. And today, successful influencers are the ones who have gained similar trust from their followers.

Trust isn’t the only thing that makes influencers powerful. The other reason that reputable brands partner with these individuals is because they can tell a story. They can tell a story in a compelling and relatable way, particularly as consumers are increasingly wary of being “sold to.” The key to a successful influencer relationship, then, is allowing them the space and the autonomy to tell that story in the way they do best.

During #SMWONE, Hoos elaborated on this subject outlining the major barriers to influencer marketing and best practices for success, ways to better understand and scale your organization’s influencer efforts, and his predictions for the future of influencer measurement and what you can do to prepare.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Influencers don’t need our scripts or guidance on brand voice
  • We all need to be able to do more when it comes to measurement
  • Consider influencer marketing as “the Magic Johnson” of your marketing mix

Static = Safe, Live = Legendary

If we select influencers for their ability to tell an engaging story, Hoos says, then we should allow them to do so in a format that captures that quality. Static posts on Instagram, which were at one time the standard for influencer content, have given way to video content. While this has raised the heart rates of more than a few brands who see the potential loss of control that video could offer, Hoos argues that it’s worth the risk. “We screen for good partnership prospects […] and really get to know them,” and believes that any brand working with an influencer should do the same. After all, their followers have made them valuable to us because of their trust; shouldn’t we offer the same?

Hoos thinks that video-on-demand (such as that in an Instagram video post) is one way of doing this, but there’s considerably more power in letting influencers take their talents to live or streaming video. Case in point: the burgeoning world of esports. No longer a “niche” interest, it’s the place to be for males in Generation Z as well as younger millennials. For reference: the League of Legends final streams garnered more viewers than the NBA Finals, finals of the World Series, or the Stanley Cup Finals. “If you are a brand trying to reach a Gen Z male, this is how and the time is now,” he affirmed.

Full-Funnel Growth for Grubhub

Joining the session via pre-recorded video was Grubhub’s Director of Content Marketing Mandy Cudahy. The challenge for her team as they incorporated influencer marketing into their strategy was finding ways to let them engage prospects all through the funnel. By allowing their chosen influencers to authentically share their “Why Grubhub?” story through the content they shared on Twitch live streams, they reached the lowest cost per click and lowest cost per acquisition the company had ever seen.

Hoos was happy to share this as affirmation for the idea that influencers don’t need our scripts or guidance on brand voice. They’re considerably more powerful as brand advocates, able to use their authentic voices – the voices that their followers know and appreciate about them – to sing the praises of your product or service.

The Meaning – and Magic of Measurement

“It’s 2020 and we all need to be able to do more when it comes to measurement,” Hoos says of the impact that influencer marketing can have on company bottom lines. While he acknowledges that it can be harder to do than more straightforward forms of marketing, he also isn’t naïve about the reach that it can have. Referring to “atrributable” and “unattributable” purchases, he cites a study The Outloud Group conducted that revealed for every attributable purchase driven by an affiliate link or from an influencer post, there were between three and four that were deemed “unattributable,” but actually could be traced back to the influencer’s…well, influence.

For this reason, he sees influencer marketing as “the Magic Johnson” of your marketing mix. Not only is it powerful in its own right, but it makes everyone around it – email marketing, paid social, blog, TV spots, etc. – stronger. And if you have Magic Johnson on your team, why wouldn’t you start him?

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