Complaining about the weather is a British obsession! Our event in New York last week saw us poised on the brink of a polar vortex and “thundersnow”. Yes, it may have been cold outside but this did not hamper the turnout for our first event at the Arlo Nomad. Inside, four influencer marketing experts, Nielsen, Facebook and one very talented compere Nick Stevens (creator of “Fitzy”), were talking about ‘Reaching the Distracted Consumer‘.
This intimate gathering of marketing luminaries (standing room only) with speakers from leading companies including Facebook, Nielsen, Fast Company, Golin, Nike Communication and Ulta Beauty packed a lot into the morning on January 29th.
Photo by @AndrewWerner
With the Super Bowl final less than a week away our kickoff was prompt and Nick Stevens (@fitzygfy) got the audience warmed up nicely with a quick-fire interview with Buzzoole CEO, Fabrizio Perrone. Once we’d established Fabrizio’s Super Bowl pick (suffice to say that he was disappointed!), Nick moved on to talk about Buzzoole and what Fabrizio felt was most important about the event: “It’s time for the industry to grow up. Brands are demanding better data and performance that aligns with business strategy and so the sharing of information around metrics, consumer behaviour and diversity is vitally important as we continue to see the influencer marketing space evolve.”
It’s time for the industry to grow up. Brands are demanding better data and performance that aligns with business strategy.
Consumer Behavior and Expectations on Mobile
When the topic of mobile was raised, a number of eyebrows followed it… had we heard it all before? In short, no! Liz Choo of Facebook wowed the audience and painted a compelling picture of the mobile consumer’s “new expectations”. Today’s mobile consumer is always connected and consumes vast amounts of content, quickly. She went on to point out that “we use our devices as our research assistants, to keep in touch with friends, and to shop!”
Mobile has become the remote control of our lives.
As a general premise this isn’t surprising, but when Liz started to dig into the data the numbers were still staggering. For example, did you know that, “People thumb through 300 ft of content everyday on newsfeed? That’s one Statue of Liberty everyday!” [Facebook internal data].
But it wasn’t all about the data points, Liz covered a wide gamut of topics from attention and control to shopping and the unique nature of mobile consumption. One of my key takeaways was the fact that “72% watch video vertically.” The audience were also reminded by Liz to “create for how people consume.”
72% watch video vertically.
Metrics to Monetize
Much of the feeling in the room around measurement indicated that there is now a growing belief that to properly measure Influencer Marketing’s effectiveness it needs long term benchmarking against other media spend. Diana Lucas of Nielsen Buzzoole took to the floor to discuss ‘Metrics to Monetize’ and how marketers can now compare the performance of Influencer Marketing to digital campaigns. At the same time announcing the creation of the Industry’s First Ever Influencer Marketing Benchmark through its collaboration with Buzzoole.
Supercharing Content at the Speed of Fans
Following a lively fireside chat with Nick Stevens who provided the audience with insight into his own remarkable journey and growth as an Influencer, we sat back ready for the final panel session of the morning. J.J. McCorvey of Fast Company was joined by Christine White of Ulta Beauty, Genevieve Ascencio of Golin and Raveena Parmar of Nike Communication. The topic: “Culture that Informs, Engages + Activates.”
While representative of a range of different brands and industries the differences in their approaches were outweighed by the commonalities. Authenticity, diversity and #knowyourworth were some of the big themes arising from this debate.
The panel agreed that authenticity is crucial for brands to see success from Influencer Marketing. Genevieve put it nicely: “We can apply all the new technology we want, but at the end of the day brands want to connect to people in meaningful ways – cut the the clutter and find that powerful intersection of conversation between what they want to message to consumers and what’s important to consumers.” This was echoed by Christine, ”some of the largest subReddit communities that exist on Reddit are focused on makeup. We know these consumers are alpha beauty enthusiasts who live and breathe beauty but also know that how we target them needs to be very specific, as they’re already incredibly savvy.”
If you are going to jump into a conversation make sure you belong there!” Authenticity in not about being opportunistic.
Whether brands are looking to increase awareness or drive sales it seems the message from the panel was that they need to be hyper-focused on the overall customer experience and ensure that they are meeting consumers at all of the various touch points in which they are interacting. An example given by Golin was a regional micro-influencer program for a spirits brand, “we targeted an area where the brand needed a sales lift and leaned into micro-influencers to create content around the product because we had learned that there was an education piece missing and consumers were afraid to buy the brand because they didn’t know how to mix it! Of the 10 markets we targeted five saw double digit growth in sales during and after the campaign.”
Photo by @AndrewWerner
It’s true that the debate could have stretched easily beyond lunch, but as J.J. drew it to a close a question from the floor on diversity meant that our conversation ended on this all important note. Raveena was the first to provide an impassioned response about the need for diversity and for brands to really understand their audiences and “celebrate diversity and inclusion at all levels.” Christine backed this up with an example from Ulta who re-launched and evolved their brand in the fall of last year. They moved from a very functional space to one that is more purpose-driven and are working to ensure that they are not only telling that story but also living that story, for example: “we are featuring male influencers who wear makeup in our advertising, on our social media, in our stores. Beauty culture is so inherently tied to pop culture, so memes have been hugely successful for us across our social media – it’s something that regardless of channel and whether you’re an influencer, brand or consumer, we’ve seen resonate and drive conversation.”
The parting message to the wonderful Creators in our audience… get smart about your data, understand where and how you provide value to brands and ultimately #knowyourworth.
Are you planning your next Influencer Marketing campaign?