What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is any marketing that involves another person, brand, business, group, or other entity in bringing your message to your target audience. Influencer marketing goes by many names. The key insight behind influencer marketing is, that by engaging other interested parties, you can economically reach more customers.

From a customer’s perspective, there are various types of together marketing that will affect them in different ways. If you leverage a brand that your potential customers know and like, the goodwill they associate with that brand will transfer to your own. Also, if you encourage brand advocacy or deploy viral marketing content, your potential customer hears about your brand from a trusted friend.

Types of Influencer Marketing


Business partnerships:

In its most formal iteration, influencer marketing is your brand working with another established brand to reap rewards for both entities. In this case, the influencer marketing process starts with finding a partner. A good partner for your business is anyone trying to reach a similar audience. Once you and your partner have agreed to work together, the brainstorming process is much like any other ad campaign. The only difference is making sure your promotions or advertisements are mutually advantageous.

Imagine you work at a luxury car manufacturer. A partnership with a luxury audio manufacturer would allow you to leverage the power of influencer marketing. A YouTube ad campaign focusing on the high quality speakers in your cars would pay dividends for both you and the audio manufacturer. Customers who are familiar with your cars and associate them with luxury would draw the conclusion that the speaker manufacturer is also high quality. Both the car manufacturer and the speaker company benefit. They reach audiences that would otherwise be more difficult or expensive to influence.  

Influencer partnerships:

Leveraging an influencer, like a Twitter personality or a popular blogger, can be another great way to spread brand awareness. Imagine your favorite athlete tweeting that they love the sandwich they just had from Subway. You will immediately be curious about that sandwich. Working with other voices that aren’t necessarily companies is a great way to get more bang for your marketing buck..

Brand ambassadors:

Reaching out to your loyal customers to employ part-time or commission based brand ambassadors is another example of together marketing. Lululemon has an exemplary ambassador program that is separated into two tiers. Famous athletes like US Olympic skiers encompass the “elite ambassador” component of the program, while community leaders with active lifestyles are  “store ambassadors.” Both types spread Lululemon’s reach to yoga classes, CrossFit gyms, and other health and wellness centers.

Brand advocates:

Brand advocates are customers who are empowered by a particular brand to spread their word. Unlike brand ambassadors, they are generally not paid. They have been contacted by the company and perhaps offered merchandise or other incentives. Walmart runs a brand advocacy program called Walmart Moms, a group of “Mom’s like you” bloggers that support Walmart. They reach thousands of potential customers, and are perfectly aimed at Walmart’s key customer demographic.

Your customers:

Simply building a loyal and enthusiastic customer base is one component of influencer marketing. If you can get ordinary customers to spread the word about your product, you’ve unlocked the easiest way to attract new customers. When the iPhone first launched, people who bought it loved the product and wanted to tell their friends about it. Word of mouth helped fuel the smartphone revolution.

The sky’s the limit! Whatever works best for your brand, anytime you work with other people, groups, or brands to promote your own brand, you are practicing together marketing! Together marketing is certainly the most cost effective way of spreading brand awareness and attracting new customers

If you look around for examples of influencer marketing, you can see them everywhere. This is likely because most successful companies take advantage of influencer marketing.  If you would like to read more about companies that successfully leveraged influencer marketing, check out these stories.

Leverage Influencers to Grow Your Brand

Editor and Contributor: David Polstra, Aug. 2016

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