An army of lovers: the surprising new stars of influencer marketing

influencer army

Once a function of PR, but now very much embedded within everyone's marketing strategies, influencer marketing is the biggest game in town. But, in the light of recent reports highlighting the untrustworthiness of many influencers, is it time to think again?

We explore the past, present and future of influencer marketing, and take a look at the technology that's helping marketers engage millions of genuine voices with genuine influence, delivering genuine results.

The internet was supposed to save us from marketing bunkum. Gone were the days of super-expensive creative, plastered over billboards and magazines and televisions with nebulous impact. This was a new dawn, where everything was measurable, where scale kept prices down and where campaigns could be tweaked or switched in a heartbeat.

Then the internet broke.

Ad-blockers went all ad-blocky and blocked all the ads, leaving the field clear for giants like Facebook and Google to scoff up all the scale and inflate their prices accordingly. And the interweaving of customer-service with social meant that people were far more likely to respond to a sponsored post by grumbling about the last thing they bought from you than they ever were to go and buy anything else.

So, along

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Black Friday Sales: Getting the most out of the inevitable bargain hunters


Sales exist for a good reason!

While clearing out last season’s left over stock frees up warehouse and display space and provides cash to reinvest in your business, the main reason you, as a retailer, sacrifice short term margins is in the hope that deep discounts will tempt good customers into your stores to begin a long term and profitable relationship. Of course everyone knows that sales also attract price sensitive bargain hunters with little notion of brand loyalty, but as long as there are enough good customers to compensate for the bad, sales make economic sense.

But that was how it used to be. Today we seem to have non-stop sales as imports such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day have joined the traditional January and end of season sales.  And who knows if the Chinese invention of Singleton’s Day will be the next excuse to discount to arrive on our shores! As well as more sales, we have also seen a frenzy of discounting as retailers compete to give away more and more margin with headline grabbing price reductions to cut through the noise from all the competing store sales.

What makes this

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What influences the influencers?

Right. Elephant in the room time. You know those influencers you're getting to plug your products? It's not your brand they're attracted to - it's your wallets.

Your big, bulging wallets, as it turns out. Now that influencer marketing is the fastest-growing method of customer acquisition, it's become a big-money game. Twenty-five percent of brands are spending over half a million dollars on it every year. Five percent are spending over $5m. That translates to about 200 bucks for every half-arsed "Hey, guys - check out this amazing thing I've discovered" and ten grand for every "I just spent a day testing the latest doo-dah from thingumabob."

And here's the thing: it's not their fault. Bloggers gotta eat, tweeters gotta tweet. The problem isn't so much that those all-important influencers have finally woken up to the value of their influence (given that 3% of influential individuals generate 90% of impact online, did you really think they wouldn't charge for that?), the problem is that the tools you've given them - and their audiences - are woefully unfit for purpose.

I'll explain. Like any fun thing worth talking about, there's three people involved when it comes to influencer marketing. There's you,

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Word of Mouth: So What Happened?


Remember the good old days, when the Nescafe Gold Blend couple getting together was a big enough story to warrant a front-page splash in The Sun?

That’s when people used to care about marketing (and newspapers, come to think of it). These days, people don’t just install ad-blockers, they download entire browsers devoted to nuking every last atom of marketing from their online lives. Meanwhile, social networks and search engines algorithmically mess everything up for retailers, sheep-dogging their marketing teams into ‘paid media’ pens where it costs a small fortune to utter so much as an audible bleat. Telly’s a no-go thanks to ad-zapping PVRs, on-demand and piracy. Print, sponsorship, stunts - nothing seems to work like it used to. 

Perhaps there’s too much marketing now. Perhaps there’s not enough. But one thing’s for certain: retailers have had little choice but to continue ploughing the same old fields, even though they’ve started to dig way below the green grass, down into the muck and straight to rock bottom. 

Ironically, though, the answer’s been staring the industry in the face all along....

Once upon a time, back when people actually talked to each

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Dedicated Followers of Fashion... and their friends

Bristol_PunksDedicated Followers: Firing up Referrals in the Fashion Industry

Picture the scene.

It’s a hazy spring afternoon in 1970 as a couple of kids walk the length of Carnaby Street, formerly the centre of Swinging Sixties Britain, asking each bemused ageing hippy boutique proprietor in turn:

‘Do you have trousers with lots of zippers, straps, chains, rings and buckles that have a kind of, you know, a kind of…eh… Bondage and Sado-Masochistic look? Oh…and preferably in tartan’.

Of course that never happened! Who on earth ever dreamed of the monstrosity that was bondage trousers until they saw the Sex Pistols on TV? And who would have ever heard of Malcolm McLaren or Vivienne Westwood either?

The point is that most of us have no clue what clothes we want until we see them. And we see them either as worn by celebrities and models in the media, or by our friends, family and other people we interact with daily. In other words, fashion is all about influence. We’re either influenced from ‘top down’ trendsetters or ‘bottom up’ grassroots or street fashion.

Wasting money on PPC and Affiliates? 

So why do fashion brands waste so much money

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