Let’s face it: traditional advertising as we once knew it is dead. We live in a mobile, technology-driven, “always on” world, and consumers today are inundated with more marketing related messaging than ever before.
One of the biggest shifts in how corporations in many verticals are reaching their target audiences is through influencer marketing. In fact, it’s the fastest growing and most cost-effective online customer-acquisition channel out there, resulting in high ROI and even higher customer retention than traditional paid advertising.
For those of you working in the marketing trenches, none of the above is truly “news.” But look up… no, higher… there you are! Your C-suite level executive teams may not be quite so in touch with the evolution of marketing and advertising as we now know it. So, how can you go about selling influencer marketing to the C-suite?
Selling Influencer Marketing to the C-Suite
Generally speaking, the folks in the executive boardroom don’t want to know how trendy something is, nor do they care that “so and so” is doing it (unless it’s their competition—see below!). What they want are hard facts and figures. Your job is to make them understand influencer marketing’s relevance and exactly how it will fit within your company’s overall business goals. Here are five tips that can help you win your pitch.
Be prepped and prepared before your meeting. Not 100 percent sure of your company’s top goals for the year? Then do some reconnaissance, and speak to your peers in other departments. Whether it’s increased brand awareness and reach, more leads, a shorter sales cycle, or growing your presence in the digital space, come with clear examples of how your plan will help the company succeed.
Back up that plan with data. Do. More. Research. It’s not enough to know your own company; you must have access to relevant external data to back up your claims. Share (from the most reputable sources, of course) the latest influencer marketing statistics. Or, create a “hypothetical”—first, choose a high profile, industry relevant influencer; then analyze your email and social media marketing strategies, as well as your website visitor data. Illustrate how those numbers could change—for the better, of course—with the help of your chosen brand advocate.
Address the “what ifs.” Companies have been fined a lot of money for being less than honest about when an ad is actually an ad. And let’s face it, the C-suite carries a lot of weight on their broad shoulders, and risk aversion is a healthy trait to have. Make sure they know that when FTC guidelines are followed, influencer marketing and brand ambassador programs can be hugely successful. Most importantly, assure them that you are up to speed on the most current FTC guidelines on digital endorsements, and illustrate how you will work to ensure mistakes are not made.
Emphasize the positives. A well planned influencer marketing strategy can gain the attention of powerful industry media and blogs (and their people!), increase your visibility and engagement across your social media platforms, and result in cost effective, rich blog content that can be re-used and re-purposed, whether as whitepapers, ebooks, or for upcoming webinar promotion—all helping to increase thought leadership and brand trust.
Know what your competition is doing. And finally, do some sleuthing, and find out what your competitors are up to when it comes to influencer marketing. Share some of their success stories, and know who their influencers are. There’s nothing more effective than a little friendly “competition” when aiming for a yes vote.
However you sell it, be prepared and sell it well, because influencer marketing is here to stay. Those who are late adopters when it comes to this particular marketing tactic will soon find themselves losing the race. And one thing the C-suite definitely doesn’t like is losing.