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Updated: Feb 17, 2019

There has been too much emphasis on tech within influencer marketing. Marketers blindly run campaigns through fancy platforms and fail to notice we have completely lost the value that influencers bring - a human to human connection.

However, the speed at which influencer marketing has transformed through new technologies has progressed the industry to new levels and delivered great efficiencies in identifying relevant influencers. Yet there is still so much more we could be doing, being able to identify, brief, and manage influencer content is great but how can we start to unlock the value of the relationship?

Influencer marketing is still in its infancy, in regards to marketing channel split, its not a key player because we are stuck in legacy ways of thinking. We need to start optimising our influencer relationship management and discover new ways of thinking that prevent us from running cookie-cutter campaigns that do the same thing but with new tools.

First, we need to realise its not a reiteration of PR, celebrity endorsements or word-of-mouth marketing, the value it brings is much more. It’s relationship-driven marketing, where a person connects with another person, it's not a broadcast message. For marketers who are trying to deliver consumer-centric plans, this is gold.

But it’s not something that can be done quickly. It takes a lot of time to build trust and community around a brand so the one-off tactical campaigns that influencer marketing currently sees right now usually do not deliver any value.

We’ve found the value comes from a strategic approach and creative collaborations with influencers. This is not at the tactical level, this approach is apart of the entire customer journey.

The real power of influencer marketing comes from long-term collaborations that drive authentic understanding and advocacy through both online and offline relationships. The investment into this relationship takes time and money which most marketers have been hesitant to do. But when they do, there is a impactful exchange between influencer and customer where the message becomes something of value. This makes it less about blasting a product message out there and more about providing customers with something real and useful.

The problem in my experience has been the disconnect between departments and agencies - they are unsure who should be managing influencer marketing. But I believe it’s bigger than any one group because it’s about the people. What could be a full funnel approach, from market research to brand awareness to delivering sales, still has only touched maybe one or two aspects of the marketing funnel. To deliver impact it needs to go beyond one group, we need a champion within each group can collaborate on the campaign with the other groups to drive real impact.

We need to think less like marketers and more like human beings. Customer-centric marketing campaigns start with people and that is exactly what influencers do.

Written By Meagan Bickerstaff, Founder of INKWAVE

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