Shocking demonstration of influencer marketing from Volkswagen UK

We’ve all heard of influencer marketing, right? You find out who the key influencers are within your target market and use them as a vehicle to get to the people you are aiming at. Great in theory, but not many companies are really doing it right (if they are attempting it at all!).

To begin with, you need to understand the difference between an influencer and a brand advocate, as was expertly described by Aaron Lee recently in his iStrategy blog post. Whilst I don’t agree with his overall point that the brand advocate is ‘always’ more valuable (I think that really depends on how you interact with them – as per the Volkswagen example I will discuss later), his infographic does illustrate how each could be used, and where the strengths are in building on these relationships:

Influencers versus AdvocatesIn my experience, the real difference lies in how you choose to engage them. Writing a piece on how great your company or your product is and then farming out to the influencer – no matter how relevant their audience is – is not the best way to execute what could be a very valuable ongoing relationship. You need to work with them, understand their motivations and plans for the future. In the case of bloggers, what are their future plans for content and growth? What are they motivated by? Is it about volume of content, or about the quality and relevance? Just how influential are they really – are they interacting with their audience and really helping to steer people towards a solution?

In most cases influencers will be crying out for help with regards creating brilliant and relevant content – it’s not an easy thing to generate on a regular basis – and if you take the time to understand them and find out how you could fit in with their plans in a mutually beneficial way, you will end up with a much more effective influencer marketing strategy.

Having said all that, Volkswagen have just done something completely different with an influencer, but which I also think is great…… 🙂

In the UK it seems that around 500k  people have accidents every year due to applying make-up whilst driving. Yes. It’s true – there are that many people desperate enough to top up their foundation and lipstick that they will do so whilst driving and therefore put themselves and others lives at risk! As part of their social responsibility charter (and no doubt secondary brand message around their own vehicle safety levels!) Volkswagen looked to where people who are most interested in make-up tips go – YouTube.

Working with NikkiTutorials, a young woman who has been offering video make-up tips for several years and has built up quite a following,  they filmed this great video which really brings the message home:

This is going to hit people who would not actively select a ‘warning video’ – arguably, just the people they needed to get the message to. Creating a video for their own YouTube channel just could not have done this.

Now, with my ‘Global Marketing’ hat on – think about how you could roll this type of strategy out internationally? Not an easy task!

Conducting a Global Digital Review

As part of a Global or International company, can you say that you know everything you need to know about your digital activity in each region? What’s working well? What is failing? Are the methods of measurement consistent across each region so that you can make decent comparisons? How are your SEM and SEO doing? How does digital fit in with your global branding – is it consistent?

It’s true that the larger the organisation, the harder it is to keep tabs on what is going on, and there are often more issues with communication and consistency, but getting a handle on this – no matter what your size – is a must before you embark on creating a global digital strategy.

The latest article within the Digital Marketing Strategy section continues to look at how to take a strategic approach to Global Digital Marketing. Following on from 1. Understanding your Global Customers, 2. What have you done so far?: Conducting a Global Digital Review will look at the following areas:

  1. Global website and digital inventory
  2. Regional Campaign activity
  3. Mobile activity
  4. Regional Social Media Activity
  5. Regional Digital Marketing Plans
  6. Regional SEM
  7. Measurement tools
  8. Regional content
  9. Global digital agencies and suppliers
  10. Regional team structure and skills audit
  11. Communication and information sharing

So, check it out! As always, I am happy to chat if you want to get in-touch about any of these topics to discuss further.

Predictions 2011 part 1: Content is STILL King

Content has always been a key ingredient for me, so it made me smile somewhat to see so many people talk about it as a growth area in Digital Marketing next year, as if it is something new!

Years ago, content was important for websites (portals in particular) purely because the right content brought users, and the more users you could get, the more advertisers you could get.  A lot of the commercial deals I did 10 years ago involved a share in the ad revenue with the content suppliers (based on clicks and page impressions), as we recognised the fact that content needed to be created by specialists and it was worth paying for.  This approach, however, was not adopted by a vast majority of corporate or brand websites, who would usually stick to the basic product and business information.

However, content should now be a key factor in any marketing strategy, as getting it right can not only mean bringing more people to you (Search Engine Optimisation), it can also mean ENGAGEMENT with you and your brand. More importantly, where and how you choose to create this content, can have a real impact on the results. It’s getting far more interesting, as there is so much more you can do to make a difference!

2011 is likely to see more people realising this and adopting a content strategy which is based on a real understanding of who they are ‘targeting’. Speaking about things which they know will be of interest, and making sure this content is available in the right format and in the right places, is of growing importance. It’s not just about words and a few stock photography pictures anymore – video content, apps, podcasts and thought-out relevant imagery is much more valuable if done right.

Seeking out the right people, including online influencers in the shape of master bloggers and established groups, is also key. Go to where they are and join in the existing conversations (but make sure you say the right things and know what you are talking about or you could do more harm than good! ). Spread your content around!

So, how does this work in practice? Here’s a great example:

The Japanese Tourist Board wanted to get more Australians to their Ski resorts, so they decided to create the ‘right’ content – in this case a cool ski game/app – that the people they were aiming at would really love. They then made sure that they promoted this content in all the relevant places online, where Aussie Ski-lovers already hung out. Note: not just a website which talks about how great skiing is in Japan and the merits of visiting there for your next powder-fix, with the hope that some Search Engine Optimisation will help to get people there, and that they will be bothered to read it!  Truly targeted content, pushed out to the right places, shouting their message instead of whispering it behind a wall! Something which really excites people and is much more likely to have a higher ROI in the long run.