Can influencer marketing thrive despite the recession?
If you need a sign to take the plunge into influencer marketing, this is it. Lauren McFarland from Journey Further tells us that it can solve multiple business challenges at once.
Is a recession prime time for brands to get on board with influencer marketing? / Alan Hardman via Unsplash
As Henry Ford once said, “stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” We know from previous economic downturns that the businesses that continue to advertise at the same rate, or higher, achieve higher growth rates post-recession than those who reduce budgets.
Most businesses are likely discussing how they can spend smarter without increasing budgets. But influencer marketing is a channel that allows businesses to stretch their budgets further - and get more bang for their buck.
Influencer marketing provides brands with an affordable way of connecting with their audience. Money spent on influencer marketing will drive more return on investment than the same amount spent on TV.
Meta reported that branded content ads have a 31% lower cost per purchase, v typical ad campaigns, so we know that influencer content typically performs better. We also know that people trust people, not brands. Smart brands will be considering how they use influencer content beyond the influencer’s channel.
Some of your competitors will reduce spend across channels and they’ll slip into the back of consumers’ minds. Take advantage of this: be there for your customers and partner with influencers who create content that resonates with, rather than angers, them.
How to thrive (and not just survive)
The influencer landscape is huge; most businesses are already dabbling in influencer marketing whether it’s through gifting, brand ambassadors, campaign activity or an always-on approach. However, businesses and teams responsible for activity cannot simply dabble and expect to see success. Instead, brands must consider whether their current strategy can thrive and survive a recession.
An efficient way to do this is to perform an influencer audit. By integrating your influencer team with strategy and insights teams, you can understand who your core audiences are (or should be), where they’re shopping, where they're spending their time, and what makes them tick.
Despite decreasing levels of disposable income as a result of a recession, a great benefit of influencer marketing is that it allows businesses to be agile. So, if you're planning on shifting your product or services to be more affordable for customers like Boots and their new everyday range, influencer marketing is a great way of driving awareness.
Having an influencer’s seal of approval will give your product gravitas while driving consideration and loyalty among your core audience.
Show that you’re listening
At a time when retaining and attracting new customers can be difficult, working with influencers could create an opportunity to understand your customers better. Influencer marketing isn’t all posting pictures of products in exchange for money. Try working with a pool of influencers, preferably those you’ve got existing relationships with, and asking their audiences what they’d like to see more of (and less of).
The information you receive can then feed into your strategy and your customers will become more loyal because they are being listened to. Similarly, if they feel they’re being ignored, you will be ignored.
Influencer marketing isn’t like other channels because it provides solutions to an array of business challenges: creative, reach, and content for brand channels, allowing brands to stretch their budgets. Think smartly about how and where this content should be used, and make sure you have permission from your influencer partners to do so.
Finally: influencer marketing isn’t just about brands or agencies. Influencers are humans, so when it comes to negotiating deliverables and terms, remember that they may also be feeling the pinch.
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Journey Further is a performance brand agency based in Leeds, Manchester, London and New York.Find out more