Almost three-quarters (71%) of brand strategists and marketers at leading enterprises consider influence marketing to be a strategic marketing category, according to an Altimeter, Traackr and TopRank Marketing survey [download page] of 102 respondents at organizations such as Microsoft, American Express and Adobe. While influencer marketing investments remains fairly small, a majority are planning to increase their spending.
Indeed, some 55% indicated that they would spend more on influencer marketing in the coming year, a figure that rises to 67% among those already spending more than $250k and to 77% among those using Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) technology. In other words, those already invested in influencer marketing are even more likely to be hiking their spending in the year ahead.
Overall, more than one-quarter feel that influencer marketing will become a primary area of digital marketing investment in the next 3 years.
Research from Gartner has similarly found a growing interest in influencer marketing. More than one-third (35%) of senior marketing leaders in North America surveyed by Gartner reported having an influencer marketing program in place, with another 28% planning implementation in the next 12 months. Were they to follow through on their plans, the adoption of influencer marketing by these marketing leaders would almost double.
With that in mind, it’s worth looking at the main goals of influencer marketing, of which there are several. In fact, a majority of respondents cited each of the 10 goals listed as a future objective, which the analysts believe “symbolize[s] a more ambition, cross-functional vision for influence spanning functions across the enterprise, including marketing sales, support, and loyalty/advocacy programs.” (Not too surprisingly, then, almost half believe that in the next 3 years, influencer marketing will be a cross-functional discipline that will extend beyond marketing.)
At the top of the list, improving brand advocacy (94%) and expanding brand awareness (92%) emerge as the most common goals of influence marketing over the next few years. These are closely followed by reaching target audiences (88%) and increasing share of voice (86%). These leading goals bring to mind prior research, which identified “more authentic storytelling” and “better reach to consumers” as the most important aspects of influencer marketing.
Objectives identified in the Altimeter report extend beyond branding goals, too. Roughly three-quarters are looking for influencer marketing to improve sales conversions, and two-thirds see influencer marketing driving lead generation.
Many also see the potential for influencer marketing to accelerate digital transformation (64%) and improve employees’ influence (53%).
The study outlines several recommendations for an effective approach to influencer marketing, including:
- Starting with desired business outcomes;
- Aligning influencer marketing work with internal CX efforts; and
- Mapping the customer journey specifically with influencer relations in mind.
The full study – and set of recommendations – can be downloaded here.
About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 102 brand strategists and marketers from leading companies around the world. Seven in 10 come from companies with at least 1,000 employees, and more than one-third (36%) come from either Fortune 1000 or Global 500 companies. Some 28% are CMOs or higher, with 81% being Directors or higher.
The study also describes its methodology as follows:
“This research study was commissioned by Traackr in partnership with TopRank Marketing to understand the current and future state of influencer marketing in lead- ing enterprises.
The research was conducted by Traackr and TopRank Marketing with the guidance of Brian Solis from Altimeter using an anonymous online questionnaire between August 24 and September 28, 2016. In total, 102 brand strategists and marketers from leading companies from around the world responded. These included Microsoft, American Express, 3M, Amazon Web Services, Diageo, Adobe and many more.
This custom report is sponsored by Traackr and TopRank Marketing. While the research in this report has been informed by the qualitative research study, all analysis and insights are independent and represent Altimeter’s body of research.”