Whether you are new or familiar with influencer marketing, your programs should be based on more than a transactional relationship with influencers. It is time to build relationships with influencers that are mutually beneficial and span more than single campaigns.
To learn more about influencer marketing and how you can take your company’s influencer marketing program to the next level, we sat down with someone who has helped many companies develop influencer marketing strategies over the years, Scott Guthrie. Having worked at leading agency Ketchum and PR Newswire before that, Scott has contributed to thought leading books and been featured in numerous publications.
Our interview with Scott is part of Traackr’s “My Influencer Philosophy” series in which we showcase those advising on, executing and scaling influencer programs every day. Often, marketers at different companies are facing the same hurdles. By sharing both their obstacles and triumphs, we hope to inspire you to overcome your challenges while also pushing the industry forward as a whole.
Watch the interview below to learn why your influencer marketing program should be long-term, win-win and measurable.
Who are you and what’s your philosophy on influencer marketing?
SG: My name is Scott Guthrie. I'm an independent influencer marketing consultant, and I'm a strategic advisor to CampaignDeus. My influencer philosophy can be summed up as long-term, win-win and measurable. I think it's time to ditch the tactical and the temporary and to build long-term business partnerships and to make them measurable. How you measure will be dependent on what you're trying to achieve, as long as you don't use Earned Media Value (EMV).
What aspects of a company’s influencer marketing program should be kept in-house?
SG: It makes the most sense to keep the building of relationships in-house. It's that nurturing of the long-term, mutually beneficial relationships that will be important in influencer marketing in years to come. I think influencer marketing will move more into the customer journey, and that it's important for the in-house teams to nurture those relationships, even when a campaign isn’t live.
I think internal teams are best for being boundary spanners as well. Connecting networks internally, of course, making sure other departments know about influencer marketing whether it's search or marketing or SEO or social or new product development and also externally, making sure you get the best value out of agencies.
What value do agencies bring when conducting influencer marketing?
SG: Agencies do add value, and they add value in a number of ways. One, they can provide data-driven recommendations for new influencers to be used by clients; Two, I think they have a valuable role as people that can look over the brow of the hill about what's happening next in influencer marketing and report that back to their clients; Three, they can advocate best practice; Four, they can marry communication goals with corporate goals; Five, they provide another pair of hands when it's time to execute campaigns.
What is your take on the compensation of influencers debate?
SG: The question of whether to pay or not to pay influencers is a perennial question. We've been talking about this for years. To my mind, it's not binary though. It depends on what you're trying to achieve and who you're working with. I think you should certainly pay influencers for their time and for the content they create but not to pay for positive endorsements.
How should brands deal with the growing regulation in the influencer marketing space?
SG: There is a lot of talk about growing regulation. I don't think there is more regulation; I just think the regulators are starting to enforce their regulation. What does that mean? I think it's great stuff! It forces influencers and forces brands to work harder. Consumers don't have a problem with viewing sponsored content. On two provisos: one, we don't feel hoodwinked into thinking that sponsored content is organic content; and two, that it's good quality, that we're learning something or we find it entertaining or that it prompts us to do something else.
What are the essential skill sets for an influencer marketing team to have in order to be successful?
SG: The important skill sets for influencer marketing are twofold. There are hard skills and soft skills. The harder skills are being data-centric. That is looking under the bonnet and choosing influencers based on demographics, what they've produced before, their ratio between engagement of sponsored and organic content. But there are also softer skills and we've touched on this before. It's about building those long-term and mutually beneficial relationships.
What do you think the future has in-store for influencer marketing as a practice?
SG: I think influencer marketing has got a bright future ahead, though there are many developments. One, we will see an evolution of engagement. It will be about what people do after they've seen that bit of content. Do they search for a review? Do they look to find out more about the product? Do they tell their friends about it? Do they share the content? Do they follow the brand on social media? Do they buy the product?
Secondly, I think that influencer marketing will become part of the full customer journey. Increasingly marketers will adhere to influencer feedback and build that into the new product development phase.
Thirdly, ROI is going to be fundamental. As we spend more on campaigns, our masters will demand to see where their money is being spent.
Learn more about Scott Guthrie and his thoughts on influencer marketing
A massive thanks to Scott for coming down to the London office to share his insights on influencer marketing. If you would like to stay up to date on content from Scott, you can follow him on Twitter or read his influencer marketing blog. You can also keep an eye out for a new series of interviews as Traackr has partnered with Scott to learn how leading brands are scaling influencer marketing.
You can also watch the previous “My Influencer Marketing Philosophy” which features Social Tribe’s founder and CEO, Megan Conley.