It’s been three years since we first started talking about influencer marketing making its way into the marketing mix. And over this time, working with influencers has gone from tendency to an established reality for many marketing and communication experts across the globe. The third edition of the State of Influencer Marketing 2017 Report (where we surveyed 600 professionals from Europe and the United States) shows just how much the practice has evolved in such a short amount of time. This year, we’ve created a second report which is 100% dedicated to the fashion & retail sector — one of the first industry pioneers to work with digital opinion leaders and run dynamic influencer marketing campaigns.
An industry focused on the product launch lifecycle
65% of fashion and retail experts claimed to have run influencer marketing campaigns in 2016. This was a 3% increase of opinion in comparison to responses from industry outsiders. But we’re not just talking about Instagram Stories or Snapchat takeovers for Fashion Weeks — the fashion & retail sector has become much more sophisticated in their strategies and is working with influencers specifically for product launches. 38% of industry professionals said to collaborate with influencers for this type of scenario.
The fashion & retail industry is highly product launch oriented. The need to become top of mind for consumers is essential. Each collection launch should be considered “breaking news” and amplified on social networks until the product reaches the final consumer. We call this process “translating buzz into sales.” In order to generate enough awareness about a product, many professionals are turning to influencers for help. 23% of fashion & retail participants said to send samples of gifts to influencers in 2016 as a means to engage them. As this tendency continues to grow over the course of 2017, creativity, originality and personalization will be key to develop influencer engagement strategies that work in an overly competitive marketplace.
Influencer marketing: the bridge between the physical and digital
One thing is clear from this year’s State of Influencer Marketing 2017 Report — working with influencers is neither 100% online nor 100% offline. There is definitely a large gray area between the two extremes. Something I mentioned at the FashTech conference in Berlin the other week was to “Think Phi-gital,” meaning you need both physical and digital elements to connect with consumers on all touch points. This is why “events” were named the second most-used tactic to engage influencers with 36% of professionals claiming to try to catch influencers’ attention this way. And despite the evolution of online coverage in digital space, the actual event is still a physical occurrence and takes place offline. The same can be said for shipping physical samples or gifts versus sending digital content to an influencer which was used by 11% of brands in 2016.
We also explored who were the owners of influencer marketing campaigns in 2017. 57% of fashion & retail respondents answered that the Communication and PR teams managed the relationships followed by 19% saying the Digital Marketing team was responsible for such strategies.
What’s most important here and must never be forgotten is that influencer marketing is all about relationships. This is why a mixture of tactics used to nurture those relationships are essential. At the same time, there is also a need to automate campaigns as a means to reach as many people as possible. Once again, a balance between the physical and digital is needed to strengthen those relationships (physical) and launch them successfully online (digital). These are the key ingredients necessary for a powerful influencer marketing campaign.
Everything you’ve seen in this article is only a small portion of all of the insights you will find in our entire State of Influencer Marketing 2017 Report. I cordially invite you to download it, read it, and (of course) participate in the conversation with us and other industry professionals with the hashtag #InfluencerReport17 Enjoy!
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