As 2018 has taken off and goes into full swing, the influencer marketing space is continuing to accelerate and grow. But for brands to get in on the market’s success, they need to identify the right influencer(s) to reach their target audiences. As Amazon increasingly takes over the online sales market, it's more important than ever for retailers to accurately target and create meaningful relationships with their core buyers.
With the abundance of data available online, it's simple to identify what influencers will be impactful with a brand's’ audience given the right tools. But without insights into data on in-store sales at vendor retailers like Macy's or Nordstrom, it’s hard to identify what influencer relationships are most relevant for those buyers. Here are a few tips for brands looking to target those shoppers who still purchase merchandise in-store via influencer marketing, especially when sales data isn’t easy to obtain.
Using Data Already Available: Anatomy Of A Vendor Shopper
According to Time Inc.’s Viant, the most likely department in-store shopper is a 32 year old female that is likely married and uses an iPhone. Based on that knowledge and the information available to brands through their sales channels, they can target consumers that they know are more likely to come across their product in-store.
Location-Based Data Reveals Audience Interests
Another strategy is to target people who are in and around the vendor retailer stores that carry their product on their shelves. Using historical location data, brand marketers can see who is visiting the retailer stores where their product is being sold and learn about the interests of these potential buyers. What are they searching for when they are near the store? What content are they engaging with in-store? Are they on specific social media channels? What time are they near or in the store?
Marketers should be picking influencers based on the mobile activity the potential buyers are engaging in while in range of the store and scheduling their posts to go out at relevant times. By using this data to better pinpoint how and when would-be shoppers engage with content, brands can identify the kinds of influencers who will be the most effective at persuading buyers to check out new brands by using the locations they already frequent.
Micro Influencers Vs. Celebrity Influencers Is A Non-Issue
Although it might be tempting to lean towards targeting large influencers with an extensive reach as a broad brush, given the challenges involved in building specific information or profiles for in-store buyers, it can actually be a massive waste of a brand’s marketing budget. While a single post from a big celebrity influencer can be nice, they don't give marketers the best bang for their buck. It is truly the power of engaging content reaching the right folks that impacts the brand's sale pipeline rather than the reach.
Additionally, messaging takes time and repetition to sink in. A one-time post from an influencer with a high reach might get the brand wide exposure in the short term but it won't necessarily deliver lasting results. Long-term relationships with micro influencers allow brands to push out messaging consistently to their target audience. Equally, there will be a greater perception of authenticity when relationships feel like long-term interests as opposed to a transactional pay-for-play post.
In an industry estimated to be worth over a billion dollars, influencer marketing has been proven to impact brands’ sales results. But, and it’s a sizeable but, identifying the right influencer relationships is fundamental to ensure good return on marketing investments. Skip or overlook this step, and all of your other hard work will be at risk.
For those with a large number of in-store buyers, all of whom live and engage beyond the brand’s owned channels, accurately attributing the sale and subsequent re-targeting can be complicated to accomplish. Hopefully the targeting tips laid out here will help brands succeed in capitalizing on their in-store purchases, and not lose out on building better relationships with existing brand advocates as well as identifying and starting conversations with new potential buyers.
Alexander Boykov is the Founder and CEO of Buzzweb, a tool to analyze and grow brands’ social media performance with features such as influencer discovery, campaign reports and competitor analytics. At Buzzweb, Boykov provides the strategic direction of the business, leads product development and quality control. Previously, Boykov co-founded TimeWeb, a leading web hosting and managed domain services brand in Russia.