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Associations Now: Report– Influencer Marketing is on the Rise

by Raegan Johnson, Associations Now

A new study from the Altimeter Group and Traackr reveals the state of influencer marketing today, as well as how it is poised to evolve.

Of all the digital marketing tactics that associations use, influencer marketing may be the most opaque. For one thing, it can be difficult to assess the return on investment of these campaigns.

And there are still so many questions to ask about how best to employ it. Should you use an expensive influencer management software platform or just reach out to an influencer yourself for one-off campaigns?

Brian Solis, a principal analyst at Altimeter Group, conducted a survey of  100-plus marketers and brand strategists—in partnership with TopRank Marketing and Traackr—to get a detailed look at where the influencer market stands today and how it may look in the future.

THE CURRENT STATE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING

The study reports that 43 percent of respondents are experimenting with influencer marketing. “Some brands are leading the way, with 24 percent running an ‘always-on’ program, but only 5 percent have integrated influencer marketing into all activities.”

Influencer marketing budgets are also expected to increase—55 percent of marketers surveyed said they would spend more money next year. In addition, many marketers dip their toes in the influencer marketing waters at the tactical campaign level, rather than investing more money at a higher strategic level.

“However, too often these tactical programs recruit influencers into campaigns, push out content, and then abandon them when [the] budget runs dry,” Solis says. “This does not promote nor foster long-term, meaningful relationships.”

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As the chart above shows, respondents say they have seen the most success in their content marketing and social media marketing efforts, but much less so for advocacy and reputation management.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

“One of the challenges affecting the future of influence is that it is compartmentalized as part of other initiatives,” Solis writes. “This prevents influence from earning executive attention and support as a standalone program of value, benefiting a larger digital transformation effort.”

But look to that to change in the near future, as 57 percent of respondents say influencer marketing will be integrated into all marketing activities within the next three years.

The report adds that over the next few years, marketers will redefine their influence goals to focus on improving brand advocacy, expanding awareness, reaching new audiences, and increasing share of voice.

If your association is looking to rethink its influence strategy, Solis says to keep empathy in mind. He contends that “empathy and customer-centricity [are] instrumental in taking influence to the next level” and that you shouldn’t just use influencers to broadcast your message in social media channels.

Download the full report at the Traackr website.

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