The ubiquity of social media and prevalence of mobile marketing channels give brands more ways than ever before to interact with consumers… As such the interruptive hard sell is not a smart strategy.
People in all walks of life – professional or personal setting – are tired of direct forced advertising. It is an incredibly intrusive marketing tactic in an era of digital dominance when people have so much choice, so little patience, and so much technological savvy to switch on and, crucially, switch off.
Today’s consumer primarily goes online to research for a purchase decision, gain knowledge on a subject, or check out what is going on in the world around them. In short, they have a distinct purpose for being online. These are very personal moments, and they were traditionally free from ads and sponsored content.
Yet all that has changed. Every digital experience, from websites to social networks, news feeds to email clients are becoming increasingly mixed with brand-sponsored content and paid ads.
Be Creative, Yet Subtle
Despite this transition to paid social/paid ads, consumers still don’t respond well to blatant sales pitches and interruptive digital experiences. That’s why the best digital marketing campaigns – especially those of small to mid-sized businesses, that can’t compete on budget or reach with big brands – are creative, yet subtle when it comes to getting their content in front of the right people at the right time.
Brands that do well focus on delivering their message as naturally as possible, and don’t risk intruding when their customers or prospects are going about their daily lives. One exceptionally good way to do this is by leveraging influencer marketing.
Social media engagement, coupled with today’s online recommendation culture, has led to consumers being surrounded by messages that all have the potential to impact hugely on brand awareness, perception, and decision making clout. And while friends and family will nearly always outrank less personal recommendations, the opinions of online influencers are huge.
Brand Advocates: Worth Their Weight in Gold
The best part of all is that it doesn’t necessarily need to be a celebrity brand advocate that is projecting your message, endorsing your company, product or services. Some of the best online influencers today are the real people we know in our daily lives and the experts we respect. Look no further than any respected cloud technology or gaming forum, or at respected bloggers who have managed to attract enormous followings because of their knowledge of a certain platform.
Some of these individuals, you could argue, are celebrities in their own right, but they have a unique ability to convey a message about your brand without it looking like an obvious advertisement. They endorse products, give guidance, offer opinions in empathetic ways that resonate with people because those that follow them share a common bond.
Imagine the potential sales that could follow an endorsement from a respected technology writer or the exposure you’d get if a popular social blogger was to mention your latest release in a blog post, podcast, or YouTube video.
It’s these types of influencer recommendation that can reap huge rewards for brands, especially as consumer resentment of intrusive marketing deepens.
The Internet is littered with pop-ups, banner ads, and disruptive brand messages. They are rapidly falling out of favor as today’s consumers become more averse to blatant sales pitches. In fact, online consumers today want to discover almost everything digitally, in their own time.
Smart brands of the future will be the ones that adapt to this shift, utilizing gamification, subtle brand awareness, personalized user experiences, and creative ads that appeal to Generation-Z.
The ideal result is influencer marketing that is intelligent, relevant, responsive, and classy.
For more on Influencer Marketing here is a great read from Forbes Steve Olenski on ‘The Importance Of Influencer Marketing For B2B Marketers’