Influence marketing is like getting an invitation to the biggest party of the year. The guest list reads names from media moguls, to this week’s MVPs, to the rich and famous straight off the Hollywood silver screen. Imagine what getting an invite to that party with the ability to get all those influencers on board with your product could mean for your business. What would you say? How would you go about networking, and how would you ever convince these influencers to get on board?
According to Launch Metrics, 93% of marketing professionals are getting results and improving visibility through influencer engagement strategies. However, before ever executing an influence marketing strategy, businesses need a plan to be prepared for success. That success starts with one key ingredient before the campaign ever launches - the right strategy. Strategy is the prep before the big party.
Set a strategic vision
Influence and strategic vision may not be the first words marketers associate together, especially when 95% of the typical workforce doesn't understand their organisation's strategy. Yet, strategic vision and planning is the pathway for businesses and brands to determine a company’s direction, focus its future, act as a template for future decisions, and as a basis for organisational alignment.
If influence starts with the ability to affect the development of something or someone, it goes to reason a clear vision statement is imperative to define strategy. Businesses who draft clear strategic vision statements arm themselves with an overall unified message, which can then be leveraged to communicate not only what potential influencers will pitch to customers, but also engage employees to get excited about the direction of a company and get behind their brand. With the proper enthusiasm and understanding of a company's purpose, employee's enthusiasm can also act as a catalyst to generate overall excitement about your business and even attract potential influencers to promote your brand.
Influence through leadership
Writer and leadership speaker, Robin S. Sharma, said: “Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It's about impact, influence and inspiration....” Successful influencers develop a reputation based on their ability to lead in their perspective spheres. And businesses pay big money to have influencers promote their brands because they can impact, influence, and inspire potential customers. No leader wants to work with a company who has not also proven to have strong strategic internal leadership, and proven internal leadership starts with strategy.
Interestingly, 77% of organisations indicated that their leadership strategy was only somewhat, or not at all, aligned with their business strategy. Strong strategic leadership starts with a centralised figure within the C-suite or CIO leading and directing every aspect of internal strategy, from communication, to brand messaging, to the direction of the company. Businesses who connect strategy and leadership within a company culture can gain greater success, which in turn can be used to attract other valuable external influencers.
Influence of success metrics
Influence itself is hard to measure. How do you measure someone's charisma? The truth is you can’t; it’s something you just know when you see it. However, businesses can measure how their brands and business plans are performing to attract influencers for marketing campaigns. Measurement starts with implementing an overall business strategy that tracks KPIs (key performance indicators). KPIs quantify how a business is doing, can show a company where improvement is needed, and help define where a company needs to go to achieve greater market success.
While KPIs should be a part of every strategy plan, they are not the only quantifiable measurement of success for businesses. Part of marketing is understanding how customers are engaging with your brand, and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) can show how a company is doing as it’s an index to measure customer's willingness to recommend your product or service. Even more important than KPIs, on some level, NPS quantifies customer engagement with your brand. KPIs along with NPS can also signal to potential influencers that your product has measurable value. In turn, they can use this value to lend their name to your campaigns and gain greater influence for your brand.
The right strategy is what gets businesses through the door to any party, as the road to success and influence starts with a plan. Companies who sit by the wayside, like the lonely party goer no one wants to associate with, will never engage influencers or execute effective marketing strategy. However, businesses who use strategy as a means to create a vision, influence through leadership, and measure metrics will find themselves the life of any party - where every influencer on the floor is clamoring to be.
By Craig Catley, managing director at StrategyBlocks
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