Influencer marketing – the old and the new

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
December 17 2018,
July 3 2020

Inevitably, as the year draws to a close, predictions for next year’s must-have apps, must-know jargon and must-have skills abound. There’s always something additional to consider, vying for share of budget, keeping us learning, and on our toes.
But I’ve been struck by how some of these “new trends” may not be quite so new after all.

Influencer Marketing

Vloggers, bloggers, Instagrammers, reality TV stars and celebrity endorsers are just some of the so-called influencers whose time, opinions and, critically, reach are now “for hire”. Those with a huge following can significantly impact sales simply by promoting, wearing or just talking about a particular product.

With more than 108 million followers, Kylie Jenner is believed to be Instagram’s most expensive/ valuable influencer. Get her endorsement in just one post and it’s reputed to equate to $1Million in sales. That can work both ways though as SnapChat discovered after she tweeted how it was falling out of favour with her, and almost instantly wiped around £1bn off its stock market value!

The typical influencer engagement rate on Instagram is 5.7%, that’s more than double the average engagement rate that brands are achieving. Further proof that the authenticity consumers crave, especially younger ones, is better satisfied by individuals they identify with, as opposed to a faceless brand.


A new phenomenon? Not so much…

Twenty years ago, Delia Smith (TV cook and Norwich City super-fan) single-handedly increased UK egg sales by 10%, that is some 54 million eggs. Or, as the BBC pointed out at the time, enough to make 13.5 million sponge cakes, or 27 million omelettes.

Her BBC Two show “How To Cook”, created to teach viewers the culinary basics, majored on different ways of using eggs for its first three episodes. Sales went stratospheric and industry body, the British Egg Information Service, declared itself “overjoyed” at the surprise leap in demand! It wasn’t the only beneficiary. A Morecambe-based manufacturer which usually sold less than 200 units a year, had to recruit 15 more staff to cope with an extra 90,000 orders when she praised its omelette pan on-screen.


The humble door-drop

Most of us have embraced the new legislation and worked to take the positives from it but, from others, GDPR has had a bad rap. It’s been in the news again recently as Royal Mail announced it was trialling a new product, Partially Addressed Mail. Said to be “an innovative, more targeted way to use door drops in compliance with GDPR” it’s mail which uses substitutes for the recipient’s name such as ‘Occupier’ or ‘Valued Customer’.

Is it just us or does that not look suspiciously like the door-drops of old? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Research bears out that, for every 100 unaddressed door drops received, 10 are passed on and shared, and each piece is revisited 3 times. On average, 51% of all mail is read immediately, whether addressed or not, with a further 19% eventually followed up on.* All good in our book.

The French have a saying, “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose” which literally means “The more it changes, the more it's stays the same.” When it comes to marketing, I think they might just be right!


*  https://dma.org.uk/press-release/annual-door-drop-spend-remains-stable-despite-industry-uncertainty

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