According to Katie Carlson of ReadyPulse, a recent study “found that consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of other forms of paid advertising.”
Influencer marketing is a crucial part of the marketing gospel that I preach, here at Co-op Social. It is the purest form of social, because it defines human to human connection. With influencer marketing, brands are able to cut through the noise of paid ads, and directly reach their audience through a trusted ally.
The role of influencers has always been prevalent; the main difference is technological evolution. Instead of print articles with glamorous photos, we’ve come into a real-time space where influencers can create a video or a photo on the spot, relishing in their delight of a specific brand.
Aside from “Little Albert,” psychology legend, John B. Watson’s work extended far beyond the scientific world. He actually became VP of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency back in the 1920s. I found one of his most successful campaigns, for Pond’s Cold Cream from his time there, and who’da thunk? It’s an influencer campaign; not quite in the way we know it today (with social media followers, etc.), but still pretty fascinating!
The intended, ideal customer for Pond’s Cold Cream was females, aged 25+ with interests in beauty, skin care, and health. Given the time period, most of these women were probably wives and mothers, also matriarchs of the household.
How Watson Capitalized
Using Edward Steichen’s amazing eye for advertising photography, Watson (alongside the J. Walter Thompson agency) used visual appeal to reach the ideal demographic through photos and testimonials from some of society’s biggest, female voices. According to Patricia Johnston’s coverage, age and location of the influencers mattered, but the photographic style also influenced sales. The campaign, “assured each woman of her unique potential.”
Although there weren’t CRMs back then, according to Johnston, “sales figures indicated it worked.” And, despite the Great Depression, Pond’s use of influencer campaigns consistently increased its revenue between 1929 and 1933.
One of the most successful influencer campaigns I’ve seen recently is from Skinny Bunny Tea. Their entire marketing strategy revolves around social media influencers. They knew who they wanted to sell to, and they nailed it.
It is clear that their intended audience is [roughly] females aged 20-35. The audience has a special interest in health, beauty, and probably fitness, to a degree. They also like to hang out on social media, A LOT. They’re the types of girls who take care of themselves and like to share that fact, via social media.
How Skinny Bunny Tea Capitalized
With the outline above, what is the most obvious marketing avenue to reach this audience? If you guessed “social media,” you’re correct! They recruited females that are in line with their targeted audience, and have made them brand ambassadors for the product. A lot of the brand ambassadors are insta-famous (meaning, they’re not known in “real life,” but are uber famous on Instagram, and beyond). However, they did get their hands on Playboy Playmate [and Hugh Hefner’s wife], Crystal Hefner; and with “bunny” being part of the brand name, it’s kind of a genius match.
The Results (and still growing)
Instagram: 1.2 million followers
Facebook: 75,590 fans
How Can Your Brand Capitalize?
Every strategy, every goal can be positively impacted by an efficient influencer campaign. So, what does an efficient influencer campaign look like? Check out this blog post to find out!