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Influence in Retail: Are “Super Influencers” Still Relevant?

  
  
  

retail, shoppertrak, in-store analytics, marketingBrands want it, brands need it, and brands are trying to figure out the most effective way to go about doing it. Influence marketing has been an emerging trend in the business world as brands are partnering with key individuals who already have an influence over a specific audience they need to reach and instill action. The question that often arises, however, is who are the best influencers?

 Just as customers aren’t created alike, companies are seeing that influencers are not created the same as well. Although there may be those who hold varying degrees of influence within their social communities, there are still others whose influence is viewed as being exponential, hence the name “super influencer.”

Who are these influencers and what is their exact value? They may take various forms, but we’ve run across them: the celebrity endorser, the popular blogger, or the expert with a strong social presence. Whether paid or not, they are considered opinion leaders; and because of their large platform, they are already connected and engaged with a specific market. Brands have viewed these influencers who already have an established trust with their audience as an effective tool to spread their message, get people to take action, and gain more customers in the process.

Is going the route of a super influencer an effective form of marketing? It depends who you ask. Some companies saw these influencers bring about a 30% conversion average just by recommending a brand’s products or content to their online audience. Their influence has accounted for a high volume of visits to brands’ campaign pages, beating out search advertising. One popular amusement park even claimed that seven influential bloggers were responsible for spreading the word about a new exhibit to an estimated 350 million people around the world. 

Although no one is ignoring these results, there are those detractors who believe that the role of a super influencer has been overhyped, claiming there is a misconception about the actual influence of these “super-connected” individuals. Because people can only actively manage a limited number of relationships, their direct influence on others is also limited, regardless of who they are. The influence platforms used to gage their true impact only gives us half the picture as they measure only what is happening on-line. The majority of purchase decisions by consumers is made in the context of off-line conversations and can be affected by a number of external factors – which is hard to effectively measure.

It’s important to see that super influencers do serve a specific function.  For those retailers who need high impact within a short period of time, an expert testimonial, or even a celebrity image to get their message across, super influencers may be the right approach. However, depending on their objective, it may be more effective for retailers to pursue a different kind of influencer – one which will be explored in the next post.

Determining the most effective methods to spread your brand content and message can be difficult at times, but ShopperTrak provides retailers with concrete data through our in-store analytics to help you make the best possible decisions. As you pursue the most effective brand messages and messengers for your marketing campaigns, our people counting technology can help monitor your success.

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