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7 Lessons from the First Ever Influencer Marketing Tell All

Sep 7, 2017

For the first time, all eyes were on influencer marketing at this year’s Content Marketing World (CMWorld) event.

With a dedicated track on September 6th, CMWorld attendees could access influencer marketing tips and tricks, such as:

  • Applying trends and learnings from big brands
  • Implementing a global, enterprise influencer program
  • Thinking outside the box to develop strategies that work
  • Overcoming the biggest hurdles (as told by the superheroes of influencer marketing)

Influencer Marketing Tell All: How to Overcome the Hurdles to Success

During the final session in the influencer marketing track, Traackr’s Founder & CEO, Pierre-Loïc Assayag, led a panel comprised of both brands and agencies (and all customers of Traackr) to address a popular topic: influencer marketing problems.

Influencer Marketing Problems | Traackr

What stands in the way of a successful influencer marketing practice?

Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut for success in influencer marketing. The solution is complicated.

But, we’re all in this together.

The Five Stages of Grief for Marketing

The 5 Stages of Grief for Marketing | Traackr

Every brand has a journey with influencer marketing. Whether you are still in denial or feel like you are about to arrive at acceptance, most marketers can pinpoint where they currently stand on this spectrum.

The influencer marketing panel covers lessons in:

- Avoiding common pitfalls

- Implementing the right process across selection, engagement, and measurement

- Understanding the role of agencies and brands

- Building trust in relationships

- Securing budget for program resources

The lessons have been compiled from thoughtful insights, delivered by the superheroes of influencer marketing. A huge shout out to:

7 Lessons from the First Ever Influencer Marketing Tell All at #CMWorld

1. Think Always-On Relationships: Don’t Make Influencers an Afterthought to Your Campaign

“In our early days of influencer marketing, we were thinking about it as one-offs, campaign based or for a specific product launch. What we weren’t doing with that approach was extracting the full value from these relationships with influencers. We are getting better and better at thinking about things as a long-term relationship instead of a one and done approach.”

  • Carlisle Campbell, Senior Director of Communications, Capital One

“Make sure you have a clear strategy of your buyer’s journey. Avoid trying to back in the influencers after the program or campaign has launched. It’s really difficult to be successful and prove value when you lack a road map that articulates how and why you integrate influencers into your program.”

  • Megan Conley, CEO & Founder, Social Tribe

2. Equate Influencer Marketing to Dating (Yes, Quite Literally)

“The right analogy for influencer marketing is dating. What I mean by this is you need to get to know your influencers, they get to know you and build an affinity to your brand before you consider paying them...otherwise it’s not called dating anymore, it has a different name.”

  • Pierre-Loïc Assayag, Founder & CEO, Traackr

“Dating usually starts with a cup of coffee or a drink. If you are new to building a relationship, I would suggest you start with something that is low risk/low hanging fruit. Maybe you are collaborating on a small piece of content or a social component to your program. This gives you a chance to build rapport and then gain more trust. Then, you can up the ante to things that are higher value for them and your brand.”

  • Megan Conley, CEO & Founder, Social Tribe

“It’s definitely a two-way street. There has to be a match.”

  • Kelsey Brigel, Principal Consultant, Text100

3. Scaling Influencer Marketing is a Job for Brands and Agencies Together

“When we started our programs, we used an agency as our matchmaker. This helped us ease into the programs. As time went on, we were able to continue those relationships as well as create new ones of our own. There comes a time when you will shift from agency to in-house model. You will give up some things (flexibility, on demand resources) but you reap the benefits to wholly own the conversation with that influencer and be the primary relationship holder.”

  • Becca Taylor, Influencer Marketing Manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

“For agencies that have the urge to keep influencers close to you instead of your brand clients, this is the worst mistake you can make to earn money. And here’s why: when programs get brought in-house, budgets get multiplied by 7X. And what’s the fastest growing part of the budget? The agency portion. You’re actually increasing your share of the overall pie, in a pie that has grown 7X. Everybody ends up winning in this context. The worst thing is to hold your clients back simply because you want to manage the tactical campaigns."

  • Pierre-Loïc Assayag, Founder & CEO, Traackr

4. You Can Make Influencer Marketing as Big or as Small as You Want

“Depending on what your goals are or what audience you are trying to reach, there are low barriers in just about every case. You can be as manual as using google search or twitter search to find people and just start reaching out to them, mentioning them, and having conversations. Don’t let this impede you. If you can’t afford to hire an agency, maybe you can hire an intern. You have to be thoughtful on how you want to approach it.”

  • Becca Taylor, Influencer Marketing Manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

“The last thing you want to do is start up a program that doesn’t have buy in and then spend the subsequent time justifying, defending, convincing instead of doing the work. If that is the case and you are bootstrapped, people think of influencer programs as being primarily paid. But there is a lot of low hanging fruit. You can use social media to find the people that are driving this conversation. You can find ways to weave in influencers without adding top layers of budget. You also need to be reasonable about your expectations for returning results on that kind of program structure.”

  • Megan Conley, CEO & Founder, Social Tribe

5. Make People Realize That You Need Influencers to Get Your Content Seen

“What was helpful for us was starting small, getting some wins, and getting people to realize that you need influencers to get your content seen and get it seen by the people you want to see it. Once we started doing that in small cases, now it’s just a bigger scale. People want to see our influencer strategy for any program that we have.”

  • Carlisle Campbell, Senior Director of Communications, Capital One

“In terms of ROI, we have encouraged our partners to think about our actual objective that we are trying to achieve and make it really measurable. What do we want them to do for us? Do we want them to drive people to an event, or a survey? Let’s start there and put some real numbers beside what we expect to deliver. Agree on that, set KPIs that you know you can achieve, and then find what’s working and what’s not.”

  • Carlisle Campbell, Senior Director of Communications, Capital One

6. Context is King and Therefore Makes Influencer Marketing Complex

“The core frustration around influencer marketing is the seeming simplicity of the practice, and yet, it’s complicated. The process for influencer marketing is very straightforward:

  • Set my strategy and alignment with marketing goals
  • Find the right people to work with
  • Engage and build relationships with them
  • Activate them once you create a relationship and some level of affinity
  • Measure results

Why is it so complicated? The answer is the wrapper around it. Very often, influencer marketing is the prism of much bigger changes in a company and a brand challenging their own way of how to do things, between the old marketing, the new marketing, and many other practices around it. It’s the context that makes it complex.”

  • Pierre-Loïc Assayag, Founder & CEO, Traackr

7. Plan to Hire an Influencer Marketer and Be Discerning about These Qualities

“Someone who can think on their feet.”

  • Becca Taylor, Influencer Marketing Manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

“Don’t forget data analytics and insights abilities.”

  • Carlisle Campbell, Senior Director of Communications, Capital One

“Really exceptional relationship building skills.”

  • Megan Conley, CEO & Founder, Social Tribe

“Someone who can have chemistry with your client (if you are an agency).”

  • Kelsey Brigel, Principal Consultant, Text100

Continue Your Influencer Marketing Education

We’d like to thank our influencer marketing superheroes and also everyone that attended the session. It was a lively conversation and we hope you found the insights to be helpful!

To continue your learning, we hope to see you at next month’s live webinar featuring Mark Schaefer and Evy Wilkins, which explores the rise of influencer marketing in leading technology organizations.