Convincing your CEO that influence* marketing has an impact — however obvious to you — is not necessarily a piece of cake. Top managers are speaking a different language and their aims aren’t equivalent to yours. As is often the case in the field of communications and marketing, it is difficult to pinpoint the real impact of a campaign or project, especially as such an impact is often indirect. I interviewed Influence 4 You’s Stephane Bouillet on that subject.
How to prove the impact of influence marketing to your CEO?
Stephane has spent a considerable amount of time scrutinising how social media managers in charge of influence marketing tend to go to their bosses with stars in their eyes and big reach numbers and high engagement rates, whereas their CEOs expect an impact on sales, brand preference, etc.
Social media managers need to be able to prove their point to their CEO and explain to them what influence marketing is about. Above all, they need to detail how they measured the impact of influence marketing on the business. Influence marketing managers should then resort to a brand new set of KPIs so that they convince their bosses more easily.
At the end of the day, influence marketing is a fully functional marketing channel, provided it is measured properly.
Are you a brand that sells or resells products? That makes a whole world of difference
E-commerce sites might be tempted, for instance, to measure traffic acquisition costs and check whether they are lower or higher than Facebook ads or Google ads, etc.
This is a huge mistake however because they never will be able to compare like for like accurately.
Let’s assume you have a £100 budget to spend on influence marketing, approximately £30 will be dedicated to content creation and 40 to brand awareness.
If you want to compare your traffic acquisition cost across different channels, you should only take 25 per cent of that influence budget and divide it by the amount of revenue or the number of visits.
One should not take 100 per cent of the budget, 25 per cent is enough to reflect the fact that influence marketing is not just about generating traffic. “Don’t confuse influence marketing with affiliate marketing!” Warns Stephane.
A manufacturer such as Nestle, which produces yoghurts amongst other things, will never be able to fathom how many yoghurt sales they made with influence marketing.
They will be able to do this through a traditional ad efficiency test survey. Such a survey will be measuring how the people who have been exposed to the influence marketing campaign have changed their minds about the brand, how brand awareness has evolved and above all, whether this campaign has had an impact on intentions to buy these yoghurts.
In B2B, one is more likely to consider the entire customer journey, the decision-makers, and try to be there on all these “touch-points” to find out how aware of your brand and your offer they will be. One will then be able to work with journalists, with the salesforce of course, but also with B2B influencers to ask them to produce expert content, and above all, that this content be disseminated on social networks.
The difficulty in B2B is finding the right experts. They can be journalists, enthusiasts, independent consultants, who are true content creators.
B2B is undeniably a very different kettle of fish compared to B2C.
Impact evaluation in B2B is far more difficult to measure; this will be done through the pre-test and post-test surveys. It cannot be measured in relation to external clients because the numbers are too low.
Instead, one will rely on the salesforce. Selected salespersons will be asked to depict how they have perceived the quality of customer marketing before and after the campaigns if they feel that the Market definition in B2B and B2C - The very notion of "market" is at the heart of any marketing approach. A market can be defined... has evolved favourably if influence marketing has been helpful to them. This is where we will carry out pre-test and post-test studies.
I’ve been doing influence marketing influence for 10 years. I see the results of campaigns that are fantastic, but so far one couldn’t get the message across to the C-suite
So, I’ve given much thinking to this approach, this method, for more than a year now. Today, it is being implemented. CEOs’ views matter, we want to explain to them what works and how and how we measured the impact.
Maturity of CEOs and CMOs in relation to influence marketing and its impact
That makes sense for our market grows by 50% year on year.
In the past, marketing managers used to look at YouTubers as if they were dangerous animals. Nowadays, influencers are 30 years of age on average, one could hardly call them teens anymore.
Influence marketing is coming of age and audiences are huge. For instance, the top 3 YouTubers in France produced 81 videos that totalled over 19 million views, which is equivalent to the audience of last year’s football World Cup final!
Even if YouTube is still essentially a B2C channel, influence marketing in B2B is starting to grow there too.
So the audience is huge and the power of recommendation, when the brief is clear, is huge too. It’s a media channel that works.
We have integrated LinkedIn on our platform. We are one of the few agencies to do so today.
We are now being asked to get in touch with B2B influencers or networks of B2B influencers to promote brands. We’ve been developing B2B for a year now, beyond blogging.
It’s a fact, in-store promotion no longer works, billboards are dead, and audiences are now developing on social networks.
We seek to address businesses’ needs with 2 different offerings.
The first one is aimed at companies with budgets under €20,000. We grant them access to our platform to manage their influence campaigns directly, find the right influencers, pay them or not.
The second is for bigger budgets, for which our project managers will manage the campaigns.
Our average project weighs around €45,000 to €50,000.
Ethics and transparency
This is very important to us. Influencer Marketing should be handled like any other media channel. We are also members of the group put together by the local advertising regulatory authority.
We are therefore subject to all regulatory constraints, whether it is the Transparency Act, mentioning when the post is sponsored when influencers have received any freebies or any other legal constraints.
As far as ethics are concerned, we are absolutely ruthless.
Stephane shall be warmly thanked for this reminder of how ethics and transparency must be managed.