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We caught up with Kia Motors America’s Eugene Santos, Senior Manager, Multicultural Marketing, about Kia’s new multicultural campaign, Driving Forces. Anything related to the Hispanic market comes to Santos’ desk first, so he knows a thing or two about how to market to Hispanic consumers. He told Portada New York 19’s audience all about Kia’s first time using influencer marketing to target Hispanics. 

Eugene Santos, Senior Manager of Multicultural Marketing at Kia, has spent years practicing how to market to Hispanic consumersThe last time we spoke to him, he gave us a preview of what he had in store for the brand’s next Hispanic-oriented campaign. All we knew at the moment was the goal, to reach the Hispanic segment through an emotional connection to the brand’s new slogan. Fast forward to a couple of months later, Kia has launched Driving Forces, a campaign that involves real Latino stories.

Eugene Santos discusses Kia’s Driving Forces campaign at Portada New York

“We launched a message during the super bowl: Give it everything,” Santos said to an audience of fellow brand marketers at Portada New York. “In the past, Kia has been successful with Superbowl commercials. But now that the message is out there, what do we do with it? What does it mean? Especially for Latinos.”

The problem facing automakers these days, according to Santos, is that vehicles are smarter and last longer, so consumers are holding to their cars for more time. “The need for an automobile has decreased,” Santos pointed out. But the campaign has already proved to be fruitful, as the 200-percent increase in traffic to the Kia Soul landing page shows. Santos shared this and other pieces of information in exclusive at Portada New York… metrics not even Kia’s management had seen!

 

Still Talking Up the Hispanic Market

For a Korean brand that is relatively new to the U.S., the new Driving Forces campaign is a huge deal. “As all multicultural marketing managers know, budget is an issue,” said Santos. “Since Hispanics account for 18% of the population, General Market assumes we should have 18% of the marketing budget, but it doesn’t work that way.”

In fact, a real problem that stood out throughout the Portada New York conferences was the need to convince management of the relevance of Hispanic consumers. “You’d think that in 2020 we wouldn’t need to fight to convince organizations about the Hispanic business opportunity,” commented Santos. “But we keep fighting the same fight. Therefore, make sure you can show metrics that the general market understands.

The good news is: insightful, culturally nuanced campaigns are an important step to increasing companies’ awareness…, and getting a few more ad dollars. “Telling a story allows us to continue to connect with our audience and keeps the brand on top of mind. This might look like a simple project, but it’s making our company reconsider how they think about multicultural,” shared Santos.

 

An Effective Campaign Will Take You Far

As Eugene Santos explained, a successful campaign can yield results that are very important for the long run: not only can it get you more budget with management, but it can also ease you into the next step of your strategy.

That’s why Santos likes storytelling; it can elevate your brand by telling relatable stories to consumers and then follow up on those stories. But many times complications arise from the start in multicultural marketing. Whether it’s the lack of multicultural representation in management, inaccurate audience measurement or a lack of creative assets, it’s still difficult to know how to market to Hispanic consumers, starting from the (still relevant) question of what language to use.

 

Problem: How to Market to Hispanic Consumers

“When people think ‘Hispanic’, they automatically assume they have to use Spanish,” told Santos. “It doesn’t have to be that way. So for the first time, we’re using English-language creative to reach Hispanics. Bilingual and bicultural creatives go a long way.”

But the problem persisted: how could they elevate the Kia brand in a meaningful way? There were many factors at play, like limited assets, recent leadership changes and a low budget. “For a long time people have assumed that Kia is a cheap Korean Brand, but for the last 5-6 years, Kia has been recognized with top quality distinctions with brands like Mercedes and Porsche,” pointed out Santos. “Kia has various brand messages, but the objective was to dilute it into one message that created top brand consideration.”

 

Answer: Brand Ambassadors Who Share the Consumers’ Stories

Influencers are a risk, and yet most marketers have experience with them. They all learn that the only effective influencer marketing is based on brand ambassadors that share a true affinity with the brand’s values. For that reason, Santos chose two unique influencers that could tell the Latino story, because it was theirs.

“How do we tell the underdog story, which is really the Kia story, and how do we tell the Latino story to them?” asked Santos rhetorically. “I want to talk about the professional who is trying to do something different and relate it to my key customer.”

Consequently, Kia worked with Andrea Londo, a self-proclaimed border child who commuted from Tijuana to San Diego every day to go to school. Now, she is living her dream of being an actress. “You probably don’t know her, but in 2-3 years you will,” assured Santos. On top of everything, Londo drives a Kia Optima, which made for a perfectly organic fit.

Click here to learn Andrea Londo’s story

Clara Pablo, the other influencer featured in the campaign, is the manager of Miami-based Latin Pop group CNCO and of Colombian singer Maluma. Music is one of Kia’s verticals, which allowed for an organic fit with Pablo. In addition, she’s a breast cancer survivor and awareness advocate, which adds “a humanistic element that allows us to send out a message not only about cars but beyond. Young Latinos want to connect with brands that stand for the same things they do.”

Watch Clara Pablo’s story here

 

Once You Have the Right Message, Put it In the Right Creative (and Get the Right Partner to Do It)

One of the first things to do if you wish to launch a successful campaign is choosing the right partner. Because of the various problems multicultural marketers have to face, an agency that can really carry your message is as important as the message itself. For the Driving Forces campaign, Kia partnered up with Verizon Media. “We knew they could programmatically expose our message to a wider audience that is bicultural. Also, their creative studio, RYOT, could help us with assets that allowed us to show our message in relation to the creative,” explained Santos.

Together, they came up with docu-style creatives and an array of branded formats to tell the story of Latinos and Latinas. Through the two “driving forces” the brand chose as ambassadors, they focused on upbringing, biculturalism, accomplishments and their will to tackle a challenge. “The main goal was for them to connect with us,” stressed Santos. “We wanted to hit them at different points of their journey to let them know that we’re here for them and we understand them.

 

Results (Spoiler: Cultural Marketing Works)

The results so far have been positive. The completion rates above the benchmark of both videos show that consumers are interested. Also, CTRs are the same in Spanish and English, so language doesn’t always matter as long as viewers really connect with the message. “If the emotional component is there, they’ll stick around and come back,” said Santos. Reach and engagement have also been good, which has given Santos the confidence to ask for more budget.

Ultimately, Santos concluded that it’s all about three key rules. First, define your strategy: be clear on what the content should speak to and ensure alignment to overall brand strategy. Second, listen to your gut. Pick a partner that can execute and deliver significant reach for your targeted audience. Finally, don’t forget to ask yourself this question: what’s my next move?

 

Featured image designed by welcomia / Freepik

What: During the seventh edition of the #PortadaMX summit, experts in Influencer Marketing took the stage to discuss best practices surrounding this elusive but undeniably effective tool to reach consumers. Vivian Baron, Founder and Creative Chairwoman at Band of Insiders, presented the panelists: Best Buy Mexico’s E-commerce Subdirector José Camargo, Grupo Bimbo’s Global Consumer Engagement Lead Giustina Trevisi, Band of Insiders’ Influencer Marketing Manager Leonardo Vargas, and Pepsico/Drinkfinity’s Director of Business Innovation & Marketing Yamile Elias.
Why it matters: Influencer marketing may seem young, but it has arrived to stay. This trend has been seen to grow almost exponentially during the last years with the rise of social media: it is essential for brands to know how to make the best use of it.

Join us at Portada Mexico 2019 to discuss the most imminent topics of Latin American marketing. Meet top brand decision-makers on October 17, at Casa Lamm. Register now!

How powerful can influencer marketing be? Is it for everyone? During the last years, the trend of using influencers as a tool to amplify a campaign or message has grown to a great extent. As Vivian Baron, Founder and Creative Chairwoman of Band of Insiders believes, “It is no longer about the relationship with the media, but rather about how we amplify our client’s message correctly. There’s great interest placed on influencer marketing, but there’s also a great lack of knowledge around it.”

In spite of this lack of knowledge, many brands have tried to take advantage of the opportunity that influencer marketing represents. Unfortunately, not everyone has succeeded. “Digital platforms are so strong today that influencer marketing can have a hugely negative effect,” asserted Baron. “It should be taken very seriously.”

Can (or Should) Any Brand Be a Part of the Influencer Marketing Trend?

With the buzz around this type of marketing, every brand wonders if influencers can boost their ROI. While this can and does happen, it isn’t as simple as some could believe, and influencers can help a great deal in things that are not necessarily direct sales. “Influencer marketing is key in any brand, not only to create awareness but for many other things,” said Yamile Elias, Director of Business Innovation & Marketing, Drinkfinity/Pepsico. “At Drinkfinity we’re using it for insights, to ask the consumer certain things. When we have a problem they can help us solve it, but only if it’s a good fit.”

For Giustina Trevisi, Global Consumer Engagement Lead at Grupo Bimbo, brands are already surrounded by influencer marketing, and it would benefit them to adopt a position towards it. “Influencers are something we can’t ignore. It’s a ‘can’t hide’ matter, where the question is ‘how to leverage‘,” asserted Trevisi. Influencers are a great tool in any ecosystem, but it doesn’t work on its own. You’re not supposed to have an Influencer Marketing strategy on its own, but rather include it in your overall communication strategy.” Moreover, she agreed with Yamile Elias that this tool helps in diverse areas, such as crisis management, campaign support, and PR and perception. While these don’t have a direct impact on your ROI, “they obviously expand reach,” she said.

What matters now is the content, sales should only be the consequence.

Have Your Objectives Clear

Yamile Elias, Leonardo Vargas, Giustina Trevisi, José Camargo (L to R)

Every company could leverage this tool provided that they do so in a smart way. “It’s very important to have a clear strategy with defined objectives,” explained José Camargo, E-commerce Subdirector at Best Buy Mexico. “Many brands look for immediate sales, but these initiatives should be for the long term. You should focus on gaining trust and credibility through an influencer whose values coincide with the company’s. Audiences are tired of traditional advertising that only goes after the sale. What matters now is the content, sales should only be the consequence.”

In fact, influencer marketing is already helpful from the very basics: in the words of Leonardo Vargas, Influencer Marketing Manager at Band of Insiders, “Influencers are not only about your image; they can provide a great amount of information. By analyzing data and organic profiles, you can find more information than what a common marketing study can provide because you’re listening closely to your product’s final consumer.”

What Are the Keys to Successful Influencer Marketing?

Just as a successful influencer marketing activation can bring instant success, it can also cause great negative consequences if not done well. “When used superficially, the influencer marketing tool can lead to crises as the ones we’ve seen recently,” commented Vivian Baron. “Sometimes there’s a great potential but it doesn’t hold up. It’s very important to design a long-term strategy that allows you to create a critical mass of loyal followers in an industry where loyalty is virtually non-existent.”

Giustina Trevisi summarized the essential elements when sharing one of Bimbo’s stories of success: 1. Objective, 2. Target, 3. Creative. “The first step is knowing the objective and whom we intend to reach. We held onto a current event, something that was happening at the moment (Peru qualified for the World Cup), and we focused on getting the formats, times, and platforms correctly,” she told. “You need to choose the correct target and influencers according to your objective and budget. If you show the idea to management and they don’t like it, that is a good sign, as it’s not for them.”

A Matter of Strategy

You need to choose the correct target and influencers according to your objective and budget. If you show the idea to management and they don’t like it, that is a good sign, as it’s not for them.

“Influencer marketing should be carried out in very strategic ways,” added José Camargo. “For Best Buy, something that has worked really well is these people we call ‘insiders’ that don’t even know they are influencers. These kids can get 3-4 thousand people in 20 minutes for an opening.” What matters the most, he emphasized, is a good fit between the influencers’ values and those of the company: “The brand and the influencer should have similar values. Only when the influencer is convinced by the brand are the publications really natural: the brand’s ideals rub off on his or her posts and comments.”

How to Select an Influencer?

As we have seen so far, having a clear objective matters, but so does selecting an influencer that matches that objective. The first thing, then, is knowing what each type of influencer can achieve.”There’s an influence pyramid that we can divide into mega, macro, and micro. Each one of these has different results,” explained Leonardo Vargas. “However, the new trend is ‘hidden influencers’, people who have an impact both online and offline. We need to look at their profile and their basic social circle in order to provoke a more direct impact on sales.”

“Most times, micro influencers have more strength, they can generate a direct impact on sales and we can see the needle move,” added Vivian Baron. “Hidden influencers are very powerful; their magic has to do with the fact that they don’t know they’re influencers. You need considerable efforts of analysis, listening, and data in order to find them.”

Having an expert to deal with them helps with the flow and builds long-term relationships.

For Better Results, Employ an Expert

The next thing would be the actual process of selection. For Giustina Trevisi, this is much easier with the help of a specialist. “I would recommend others to work with influencer agencies, to work with experts,” she stated. “It’s important to have someone who knows how to handle them, have a good communication with them. We work with several specialized agencies who take our brief, give it back, then we do a second brief, they give it to the influencer and then they present a creative proposal. If I do the regulation part, I lose the emotional component. Having an expert to deal with them helps with the flow and builds long-term relationships.”

For the opportunity to participate in thought-provoking conversations with top-notch marketing disruptors and agency executives from the leading companies in Latin America, register for Portada Mexico 2019 here.

Can Technology Make the Process Easier?

“We have to automatize processes through platforms, technology, data, correlations… We need to use what’s available, but the decision has to ultimately go through a human filter who knows the target and can make sense of everything,” said Giustina Trevisi. “A tool can give you a diagnosis, but a human being has to make de decision. A machine uses algorithms, but the context has to be human.”

Once having entered the topic of algorithms, Trevisi went further in that direction and offered her opinion on the subject: “I think we will all adapt just like when Facebook had an algorithm change,” she asserted. “The only difference is the amount we need to spend to get our contents to stand out. You pay to play; if you don’t you lose. It’s part of the business, there’s an impact on our allocational budget in the communications area and we might need to assign more money to this instead of making the mistake of thinking that digital is free even when it’s organic, that’s one of the worst mistakes in our mindset.”

“I’m in favor of digitalization and automatization, but the human part is inescapable,” agreed Leonardo Vargas. “Instagram stories, for example, can give you very complete information, but only when you have a team of experts constantly looking at what’s going on on social media. Every day there are more platforms; with just one click you can execute a campaign, but we need to go back to the brief. Everything needs to be taken care of.”

 

What Can We Expect for the Future?

It’s easy to see where we’re going if we take a quick look at where we’ve recently been. As Yamile Elias commented, “If we analyze the number of times people search the word ‘influencer’, we find that the number has grown 200% since 2016, and it grew 60% in the first quarter of this year alone. Estimations show the budget for influencer marketing in the U.S. to go up to 5-10 billion dollars.”

 Facebook, Twitter, etc. have become just another showcase for brands, and consumers don’t want to see that anymore.

According to Leonardo Vargas, there are already a couple of trends that we can expect to see in the near future. “One: strategies linked to SEO and automatized keywords, which are different to Google’s ad words because they get placed on social media,” he explained. “Two: audience marketing for influencers; a type of audience analysis that helps you know what works, not what looks well. A new trend that will be very important, and it’s a great time to be pioneers, is the rise of new social media. Facebook, Twitter, and the others have become just another showcase for brands, and consumers don’t want to see that anymore. There are new social media that are going back to what Facebook and Twitter were about originally, like Mastodon, in which users are in control and it’s free of ads.”

Opportunities for Influencers

Another good thing that can happen in the future is, in the words of Vivian Baron, that “influencers will have the opportunity to get more professional and improve the quality of their work.” This is because especially in countries like Mexico, it’s very difficult to regulate the use of influencers. “We aren’t using algorithms or social media restrictions as they do in other countries in order to define what is promoted content,” shared Leonardo Vargas. “Influencers don’t have a reference of how much to charge either.

We should identify ways to work with influencers at a low cost when we identify they like our brand. We’ve been working on a system that will allow us to identify influencers’ interests before we select them: which brands they like, their activities… All this data that is floating around, we can take it and identify their consumption patterns. If their lifestyle matches my brand, I know they’ll want to work with me even before I approach them.”

In Conclusion…

In short, we should try to go deep into the influencer marketing tool instead of staying at a superficial level. Influencers are for every brand only if the strategy is very clear. Objectives, channels and the influencers themselves should fit, not only to minimize crisis risk but to ensure good results overall. It’s very important to analyze the data, be aware of the results you’re aiming at. We shouldn’t underestimate Influencer marketing, it isn’t easy, but it can really bring you success. It should be a part of your whole marketing strategy, not as an isolated campaign but as a long-term program. If we do it well, it’s a great bet. Otherwise, it can really hurt you. That’s why you should partner with experts.

A bi-weekly summary of the most exciting recent news in marketing technology and trends. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • Facebook is eliminating the “relevance score” on its advertising platform and replacing it with new metrics designed to give advertisers a sharper view of how their messages are performing. As reported by ClickZ, the new metrics replacing the relevance score are “quality ranking,” “conversion rate ranking,” and an “engagement rate” ranking. Ad effectiveness ranking on Facebook will also now be limited to the audience that has seen an ad in the past 30 days.

 

  • Brands are giving influencer marketing very high rankings in Linqia’s “The State of Influencer Marketing 2018” report. More than 80-percent  said they used influencer marketing in 2017. Some 44-percent of brands reported they plan to leverage influencer content on other digital channels, and 51-percent said that influencer content “outperforms” brand-created content. Instagram topped all social media platforms in the survey, with 92-percent of brands saying it is “the most important social network for influencer marketing in 2018.” Facebook followed at 77-percent.

 

  • Users of Instagram can now make purchases without leaving the social media application. More than 20 brands have joined the service called “Checkout with Instagram,” as reported by ClickZ. The new feature is aimed at reducing the number of shoppers that abandon their purchases because of the need to switch from Instagram to a brand’s own website.

 

  • Brands will no longer be able to target age groups, genders or zip codes when advertising housing and credit services and employment on Facebook. The social media platform has removed those categories following a successful lawsuit by organizations including the National Fair Housing Alliance and the Communications Workers of America. The use of Facebook’s “lookalike audience” tool will also be restricted for the same ad categories, according to ClickZ.

 

  • A recent study by Facebook, which owns Instagram, provides powerful data showing the importance Instagram now has for building brand awareness. Facebook, according to ClickZ, surveyed 21,000 Instagram users in 13 countries and found that more than 70-percent of users had positive impressions of brands they saw on the platform. Some 44-percent of users said they find out about brands for the first time on Instagram and 42-percent said they use Instagram to research brands.

 

  • Univision has chosen the Amobee platform to help advertisers plan and strategize their messaging on the Hispanic television network. Amobee’s technology will assist Univision across linear, social and digital platforms, so that the broadcaster can work with brands who want to use proprietary first-party data or custom target audiences to reach their preferred market segments, the broadcaster said in a recent release.

 

  • Taptica has now completed its acquisition of RhythmOne, making Taptica one of the leading independent video advertising companies in the U.S.

 

What: Paula’s Choice Skincare’s Rajaa Grar, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing, reveals to Portada the keys to keeping content coherent across channels and why authenticity is critical to successful influencer marketing.
Why it matters: Paula’s Choice Skincare has built a cult following of consumers worldwide. At Portada Los Angeles, Grar will provide insights into how she uses influencers and informative content to generate brand awareness with new consumers, while deepening bonds with existing ones.

Paula’s Choice Skincare has built a cult following of enthusiastic consumers across the globe with “real talk about real facts,” and a singular focus on helping women with the truth about skincare. Founded by Paula Begoun in 1994, the highly successful cosmetic brand “helps women see real results,” according to its website. “We create skincare that’s shockingly straightforward.”

Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing Rajaa Grar is building upon and expanding the brand’s success with highly strategic influencer marketing and insightful awareness of the best approach for keeping content coherent across all marketing channels. Portada caught up with Grar for a preview of her participation at #PortadaLA on March 15th and where she will speak on “Influencer marketing: why passion and shared values are key.”

Portada: Content needs to be coherent across channels. What are the best practices for that? How do you get to that result?

 RG: For us, it all starts with a robust content and social strategy that is rooted in science-backed research and truly addresses our consumers and brand needs. We strive to empower our audience with the most educational and informative content on skin’s health and skincare while being relevant and engaging. Of course, the content may need to be customized depending on the platform but, it always needs to be aligned with our brand strategy and DNA.

Paula’s Choice Skincare’s Rajaa Grar, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing, will be a featured speaker at #PortadaLA on March 15 when she will provide insights into how she uses influencers and informative content to generate brand awareness with new consumers.

Portada: Driving passion points through brand loyalty is key for you. How do you accomplish this and what role does influencer marketing play in that?

RG: At Paula’s Choice, we are passionate and absolutely love all aspects of skincare. Our consumers know it and it is one of the main reasons that the brand has a loyal following for the past 24 years and many of our products are cult favorites across the globe. Our influencer marketing strategy is centered around generating brand awareness among new consumers and deepening our bond with existing ones. Hence, many of the content creators that we collaborate with are skincare enthusiasts and share our skincare passion. They also have followers who are Paula’s choice fans as well. They also truly respect our brand and skincare philosophy, rooted in truth and advocacy and are themselves fans of the brand.

Portada: What do you see as being the three top tips/lessons to follow when using influencers in marketing efforts?

RG:  Stay authentic to your brand’s essence when aligning with ambassadors. Don’t be driven solely by the number of followers an influencer has. Deploy your marketing resources carefully.

Getting to know our influencers on a deeper level is essential as they are an extended part of our brand family.

Portada: How does Paula’s Choice protect its brand ethos/image when using influencer marketers?

RG: We go through a careful vetting process ahead of any collaboration and of course getting to know our influencers on a deeper level is essential as they are an extended part of our brand family. When doing so, the results are not only most authentic, but our brand efforts are reaping the benefits for a longer period of time after the content goes live.

Portada: What is the profile of the typical influencer Paula’s Choice prefers to use?

RG: We do not have really a typical profile of one influencer as we want to appeal to a diverse pool of consumers. We want to empower a wider audience to discover the power of our products as our brand truly transforms skin for the better and has changed people’s lives time and time again. We aim to collaborate with influencers that authentically love our brand and have experienced the transformative nature of our products. We found that those people are the most loyal and effective brand ambassadors.

What: IZEA specializes in connecting brand marketers with influencer content creators and has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire FLUVIP, which operates multiple influencer platforms in Latin America.
Why it matters: The rapid growth of cell phone use and digital marketing to sell products and services in Latin America makes FLUVIP’s network of 100,000 Hispanic influencers in both LATAM and the US look like the perfect scoop for IZEA to move into the region.

IZEA may have found the perfect match for extending its dominant technology connecting brands and influencers into the growing Hispanic market in the US and Latin America.

Who’s the lucky bride? FLUVIP.

It’s not a big surprise when you consider FLUVIP’s multiple influencer platforms in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Argentina plus FLUVIP’s network of more than 100,000 influencers. Not to mention its client base.

Plus, the rapid growth of cell phone use in the region has been catapulting digital ad spending by brands to new highs making FLUVIP an even more attractive prospect for IZEA.

“We believe that there is a significant opportunity for international consolidation in the Influencer Marketing space,” Alfonso Gómez Palacio, Telefonica’s Director Hispam North said in a statement announcing a Letter of Intent to acquire FLUVIP released on Wednesday.

“This transaction brings together the leading influencer marketing platform in the United States with the leading platform in Latin America.”

A match made for LATAM

Pedigree helps in any marriage and FLUVIP is brings a lot to the altar with investors which include the global Hispanic entertainment brand Cisneros Group, Spanish multinational telecommunications company Telefonica, and Velum Ventures specializing in seed and early stage investments in Latin America.

IZEA’s CEO Ted Murphy told the website Cheddar that IZEA sees tremendous promise in influencer marketing in LATAM where digital ad spending is expanding at twice the rate of the US.

This transaction brings together the leading influencer marketing platform in the United States with the leading platform in Latin America.

But successful influencer marketing requires a vision and perseverance, according to Vivian Baron, founder and creative chairwoman of Band of Insiders.

José Camargo is a member of Portada’s Brand Star Committee Latam

She recently told attendees at #PortadaMX in Mexico City only a “long-term strategy” can grow the “critical mass of loyal followers” brands need for influencer marketing to do its magic.

Synergy between influencers and a brand’s values is also an important tonic for success.

“You should focus on gaining trust and credibility through an influencer whose values coincide with the company’s,” José Camargo, e-commerce subdirector at Best Buy Mexico told #PortadaMX.

 

A perfect union of technology

IZEA intends to leverage its marriage with FLUVIP to combine the organizations’ technologies and provide better influencer marketing services to large international brands.

This technological union will accommodate multiple languages and currencies, software and managed services, and cultural expertise.

“We are excited by the potential to unite FLUVIP with IZEA to form a truly unique technology and services platform catering to marketers and influencers across North, Central, and South America,” Sebastian Jasminoy, Founder and CEO of FLUVIP, said in a release.

Multiple ways to tell brands’ stories

The marriage of IZEA and FLUVIP would appear to create a perfect match for brands looking for influencers to deliver their unique stories to consumers in LATAM.

FLUVIP operates platforms in LATAM that include Influtech, AdvocatesPro, and Mediadata where brands can harness the power of leading opinion makers in the region.

Plus, FLUVIP customers include Coca-Cola, Samsung, Apple, Pepsi, BBVA, Sony, Fox and National Geographic to name just a few.

But the game of influencing consumers isn’t just about influencers.

“Influencers are not only about your image; they can provide a great amount of information. By analyzing data and organic profiles, you can find more information than what a common marketing study can provide,” Band of Insiders Influence Marketing Manager Leonardo Vargas told #PortadaMX.

The precise terms of the FLUVIP acquisition haven’t been announced. The transaction may be consummated as soon as May of this year.

 

What: A recap of the most important trends in the marketing industry in 2018, including digital content marketing. As seen through the eyes of Portada: What went right? What did we learn?
Why it matters: With one foot in the next year, it’s time to evaluate the paths we took in 2018. We need to see what knowledge and best practices can help us ride the trends in 2019.

Back in 2017, we thought about how to prepare for the new trends the new year would bring us. Last December, experts in marketing and digital content marketing made their predictions public. We started the new year with our hopes high, ready to face the future. Marketing leaders dealt with disruption and emerging technologies. They promised to mature beyond their initial hype. As the year unfolded, we saw those predictions become true. As a result, marketers found different ways to manage the new opportunities each trend brings.

In this recapitulatory article, we take a look at some of the paths marketing and digital content marketing took us in 2018. So far, one thing is certain: the more we evolve, the more we learn. It is time to take a glance over our shoulder. We need to be ready to welcome 2019 with the best possible tools.

1. Artificial Intelligence and Digital Content Marketing

We’ve been hearing for a while about how AI is getting more sophisticated. Brands are adopting AI-powered solutions. They have found it to increase user engagement. However, “Integrating AI with a site’s chat box or Facebook messenger will require perhaps even more creativity and understanding of the brand’s target market,” predicted in February Amanda Hinski, CMO at YMCA, for Forbes. “AI still has to address customer needs and problems just as aptly as a human agent. It helps if the AI experience delights customers in a fun and lighthearted manner.”

In 2018, the ways intelligent machines can help marketers and advertisers multiplied. Through AI technology companies, several brands are already using smart systems and devices. They deploy them for things such as accurate customer segmentation. They also use them for improved customer interactions. “We can’t even imagine where technology will be taking us,” said to us earlier this year Bruno Lambertini, CEO at Circus Marketing. “Data combined with AI and Robotics, with a boost from 5G connectivity, is an explosive combo that opens a thousand opportunities in the world of marketing and communications.”

We can’t even imagine where technology will be taking us.

AI helps numerous brands to enhance their marketing. Actually, most of us interact with AI every day and marketers are increasingly betting on it. Entertainment platforms such as Netflix and Spotify use AI to provide unique, personalized recommendations to its consumers; in fact, about 80% of the content viewed on Netflix is chosen through the algorithm recommendations. Another brand that has pioneered in the use of AI and AR is Sephora. It has its virtual assistant that gives makeup recommendations to its users. BMW, Campbell’s, Hilton, Dior, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Skype, Levi’s, Taco Bell, Apple, Under Armour… Chatbots are everywhere; according to an infographic by 16 Best, they will power 85% of sales interactions by 2020.

AI Continues to Grow

Recently, Samsung announced it will invest US $22 billion in AI, 5G, and AutoTch, and just last week, Honda launched its new virtual sales-assistant on Facebook Messenger. If these examples weren’t enough, let’s remember how in November Lexus launched the first ever ad commercial written by an AI machine.

Jivox, a marketing technology company, recently announced the launch of two new AI capabilities. They offer brands a first-ever fully personalized customer experience across all paid and owned digital channels. That includes social media, native, display, video, and mobile advertising, and the brand’s email and website. We’ve been interacting with AI for some time, but as most marketers know, we are just starting to discover how much it can really do. And in spite of how we could be afraid of machines, the truth is they help us do better marketing. In the words of Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer at Publicis Groupe, “Because of AI, certain things that machines can do better will be done by machines. But but people plus machines have been found to be better than machines in most cases. The human touch is the difference.”

2. Multicultural Marketing

After marketing crises such as Pepsi and Kendall Jenner‘s failed ad last year, voices all over had a lot to say about diversity. They talked about the correct way to address multicultural audiences. As obvious as it may sound, not every brand knows that ethnic groups should be talked to in ways tailored according to their cultural nuances. As a result, we reached throughout the year to several experts in multicultural marketing in order to find out what is obvious and what is not.

The first thing they all agreed on was that, since the US population is increasingly multicultural, everyone should be doing multicultural marketing. “Looking at the US population current data, as well as the projections, I’d be hard-pressed to believe there are many businesses that wouldn’t benefit from multicultural marketing,” observed Marissa Fernandez, Marketing VP at the NFL, a couple of months ago.

“Multicultural marketing is no longer an afterthought or checked box. It has become a key strategy for business growth,” explained along these lines John Sandoval, Senior Brand and Latino Marketing Manager at Intuit. “It’s time for brands to acknowledge this diversity as well. As long as you have customers purchasing your products, you should be considering multicultural marketing.”

 You have to know you’re being scrutinized or evaluated as to whether you make sense to that person… specifically, they would ask themselves, ‘Do you make sense to spend my heart and money against?

Difficult Path

However, it’s not that easy. Some businesses limit themselves to translating a general market campaign into another language. Or they have an influencer that doesn’t really fit talking about a product. In order for multicultural marketing to work, you need to know who you’re targeting. And as a result, you also need to make sure the connection is real. In the words of Albert Thompson, Digital Strategist at Walton Isaacson, “Consumers are very smart, they can look at a brand and they can tell immediately if it’s for them or not. They may not know if it’s exactly the best for them, but they do know when it is not for them. You have to know you’re being scrutinized or evaluated as to whether you make sense to that person… specifically, they would ask themselves, ‘Do you make sense to spend my heart and money against?”

As the diversity of the consumer market keeps increasing, more and more brands realize that establishing real connections with multicultural consumers is no longer an option, but a must. Everyone has seen the numbers: minority buying power in the U.S. is growing more quickly than the white consumer market, to the extent that the white population in America will constitute only 44% of the total population by 2060, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 29% will be Hispanics.

On September 25, members of the Agency Star Committee got together in a panel to discuss how multicultural insights make general market initiatives more effective. Their answer is simple: “The buyer out there is multicultural, there’s no way around it,” declared David Queamante,SVP, Client Business Partner, UM Worldwide. “If you’re going to focus on the non-ethnic half of the population, you’re going to miss the mark, period. If you’re not incorporating a multicultural media mix, you’re trying to move the needle but you’re only pushing on half of the audience.”

3. Direct-to-Consumer Brands

Direct-to-consumer brands formed an important trend that grew in 2018. It pretty much exploded in the last years. Big companies like P&G aren’t growing so much as they used to because of these brands that don’t need any intermediaries to reach the consumers. This helps the interaction and engagement a great deal, since consumers feel like the brand actually listens to them.

survey by Diffusion and YouGov has revealed that 81% of US internet users said they would buy at least one item from a D2C brand in the next five years. More specifically, 36% said they would make 1% to 19% of their purchases from D2C brands in the next five years. Convenience was the leading motivator; 27% perceived buying D2C brands as easier than going to a traditional store.

Attraction of DTC Brands

DTC brands are so attractive and successful that Unilever purchased the Dollar Shaving Club, a brand that allowed male consumers to receive economical, stylish razors at home without having to pay for a pricey Gillette razor. After Gillette’s market share fell from 70% to 54% from 2016 to 2017, it decided to launch its own on-demand, direct-to-consumer products. Another example is Covergirl, another brand that has decided to face its DTC competitors full on. After 57 years of selling through retailers, there is now a 10,000 square-feet “makeup playground.” It is equipped with a host of state-of-the-art technology where consumers can test and try products, no intermediaries involved.

4. Voice Search

Voice-based devices are another technology that has been evolving in digital content marketing in the last years. According to Mark Browne, MarTech editor at Portada, Voice search increased by 35-fold between 2008 and 2016, but brands don’t have to re-invent the wheel to make sure they’re on top of consumers’ search results.

  • The smart speaker market spend is ballooning. It will grow from $4.3 billion last year to $23.3 billion in 2025, according to Allied Market Research.
  • Amazon’s Alexa led in revenues in 2017 but Apple’s Siri is expected to grow the fastest. More will be spent in North America on smart speakers than anywhere else in the world.
  • The biggest adopters of smart speaker technology are affluent educated millenials as well as young gen X and children, according to Global Market Insights.
  • More than 40-percent of adults “used voice search on a daily basis in 2016,” Forbes Magazine reports, noting that comScore predicts that “50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020.”
  • Most voice searches according to Forbes are also local. They put an emphasis on the ability of the search engine to deliver up local results.

Voice search poses the natural next step. But we see little direct advertising through voice assistants so far. When users make a voice search, smart speakers usually present only the first organic result. Smartphones may present more results, but still not as many as a manual search. Therefore, brands need to concentrate on SEO to identify the real keywords for digital content marketing in order to produce content that puts them among organic results.

5. Influencers and Digital Content Marketing

The panel had the presence of Yamile Elias, Leonardo Vargas, Giustina Trevisi, and José Camargo

During the last years, the trend of using influencers as a tool to amplify a campaign or digital content marketing message grew to a great extent. Vivian Baron, Founder and Creative Chairwoman of Band of Insiders explained at the Band of Insiders Breakfast at Portada Mexico. “It is no longer about the relationship with the media. It is about how we amplify our client’s message correctly. There’s great interest placed on influencer marketing. There’s also a great lack of knowledge around it.”

In spite of this lack of knowledge, many brands have tried to take advantage of the opportunity that influencer marketing represents. Unfortunately, not everyone succeeds. “Digital platforms are so strong today that influencer marketing can have a hugely negative effect,” Baron said. “It should be taken very seriously.”

Getting it Right

However, it’s very easy to get influencer marketing wrong. After surveying more than 4,000 European respondents about influencer marketing, a report by Bazaarvoice shows consumers are tired of the repetitive nature of the content. They don’t like the decreasing quality of posts. According to the study, 63% of online audiences feel that influencer content has become “too materialistic.” They say it is “misrepresenting real life.” Forty-nine-percent of consumers believe there’s a need for effective regulation. It’s needed to define stricter rules as well as best practices for content.

“When used superficially, the influencer marketing tool can lead to crises as the ones we’ve seen recently,” commented Vivian Baron. “Sometimes there’s a great potential but it doesn’t hold up. It’s very important to design a long-term strategy. It allows you to create a critical mass of loyal followers. This in an industry where loyalty is virtually non-existent.”

 

 

6. The Soccer Opportunity

The year 2018 was great for sports. Not only did we have the Winter Olympics in South Korea at the beginning of the year. We saw the most important media opportunity that a sports event can bring: the FIFA World Cup in Russia. No brand in its right mind would miss the digital content marketing opportunities in the tournament. Just after it started, the Chair of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board Joe Favorito prepared an analysis of certain brands using the World Cup to activate their products, such as Kellog’s, SleepScore, and Vivo were his cited examples of brands working closely together with soccer in order to achieve results.

As Jason Howarth, VP of Marketing at Panini, explained in a panel at Portada Los Angeles on May 10, the relevance of the Hispanic market was undeniable from the start. When they found out at Panini that team USA had been disqualified, he “realized we needed to seize all the other opportunities we knew would exist in the U.S.,” he said. “When you go around the country you see all the Messi and Ronaldo jerseys. You quickly realize the U.S. team is probably not the focus of most fans anyway.” He and other marketers knew that the biggest opportunity lay on the Hispanic consumer, who would be rooting for their origin country’s team.

Power of the World Cup

IKarina Dobarro spoke to us just before the tournament started. She is VP, Managing Director, Multicultural Brand Strategy at Horizon Media. “World Cup not only delivers reach and engagement of Hispanic fans. It delivers a level of cultural connection unparalleled to any other sports property. It will be key for brands to determine how to stand out from the crowd. They need to find an authentic way and be creative in finding touchpoints to capture Hispanic fans across devices and time zones.” And with everybody trying to stand out, creativity is really important.

“The lessons learned from World Cup activation and engagement continue to grow,” wrote Favorito after it was over. “The effective implementation of social campaigns tied to the games were in record numbers. Spanish language broadcasts in the U.S. drew solid audiences. That in spite of the fact that the U.S. did not qualify for the event. Many of the elite Spanish language countries exited a little earlier than expected. Still the drama and life displayed by first-timers like Peru and the continued growth and engagement of Mexico led to an even bigger bounce. It was bigger than what was expected. It made World Cup in Russia an overall global success, and not just in soccer, but in sports business.”

 

What: OnBrand and Bynder have published the results of their latest branding report, which gathers answers from 504 marketers on branding trends and challenges for this year.
Why it matters: As consumers’ expectations rise, brands struggle to provide a seamless experience that aligns with their needs across all new channels.

OnBrand and Bynder joined forces with Survata this last January in order to gather answers from 504 marketing decision-makers in the U.S. and the UK on their goals, challenges, and priorities for this year. The selection of respondents encompassed a wide variety of industries, from Consumer Products and Financial Services to Telecommunications, E-commerce, and Sports. The main conclusion, as proved by other recent studies, is that customer experience is the number one priority in marketers’ minds; however, fulfilling customer’s expectations is not only more important than ever, it’s also more difficult because of the number one challenge that goes with it: identifying the right technologies for a seamless experience. Based on the participants’ answers, the team behind the study identified 5 key findings.

1. Brands Want to Personalize but Struggle to Find the Right Technologies

The digital landscape has drastically changed marketing. To quote the study, it has “blown up”. Customers want their individuality considered, they expect each transaction to become a personalized experience, and this forces brands to use technology in order to deliver. According to a study by Segment quoted in the report, 44% of consumers say they will likely repeat a purchase that was a personalized experience. Among the participants who answered the survey, 56% expressed intentions to personalize their marketing this year, and while 89% agreed that technology plays a key role in developing a personalized experience, 90% think that finding the right technologies to do so is a significant challenge. “The two-fold challenge facing marketers today is how to deliver relevant and consistent customer experiences across all channels, while filtering through the clutter of the rapidly evolving marketing technology landscape.” The image below shows the biggest challenges in 2018 when incorporating new technologies into marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Voice Assistants Dominate Tech Investments

According to the report, 40% of marketing decision-makers will invest in voice assistants this year, and 39% are developing integrations that run through platforms like Facebook, Alexa, and Siri. Interestingly, brands will need to choose the voice they want to present to the consumer: “The rise of voice technology has turned the discussion of a brand’s voice from metaphorical to physical, and brands need to consider the delicate politics of gender, personality, and accents,” states the study. 75% of the respondents agree that an ethical development of voice-based technology is a top priority, and characteristics they would take into account are tone, speaking speed, accents, and personas. While gender was reportedly the least important aspect, 54% of marketers would still prefer a female voice. The chart below shows the technologies marketers will be investing in in 2018. We shouldn’t be surprised that 68% will invest in mobile apps, but it’ll be interesting to see how voice assistants shape customer experience.

3. Influencer Marketing is Still Hot

The magic of Influencer Marketing is that they provide access to an already-engaged base of consumers. Good results are not guaranteed and even though influencer marketing could still be proved to be a passing fad, the report’s results show that most marketers are still betting on influencers. 79% of the respondents will invest in influencer marketing this year, and 43% are planning to spend more than they did in 2017. To quote the study, “Influencer marketing is not just a new broadcasting channel, and the brands that achieve cultural relevance in smaller, niche communities will win in 2018.”

The most successful brands no longer market to the world, but behave in the world.

4. Brand Activism is on the Rise

Today’s world is interconnected and transparent: there’s no way a brand will do or say something without everyone finding out the next minute. Consumers expect brands to use their power and influence to give something back to the community; there’s no reason not to contribute to or get involved in social issues, and in fact, customers don’t mind spending a bit more in a product if they know the brand is supporting a cause. According to the study, “The most successful brands no longer market to the world, but behave in the world,” which is why 79% of the respondents said that social and cultural issues will play a role in their marketing this year. 

5. Marketing Teams Are Hiring More Tech Talent

As customer’s expectations rise and the digital landscape explodes, companies will need to largely invest in hiring the right talent that can adequately handle the technological challenges ahead. 53% of respondents said they’ll be hiring experiences designers and developers in 2018, while 34% said they’ll add data scientists to their teams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A summary of the most exciting recent research in brand marketing in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

US/US-HISPANIC MARKET

According to research from Accenture cited by eMarketer, 41% of consumers have switched the brands they buy from because of poor personalization, and 50% say that they did so because of “poor customer experience” in general. This mistake represents a total of $756 billion in lost retail and brand sales.

A new study from RetailNext found that 2017’s Black Friday event saw less foot traffic, but still experienced a combined 4.8% increase in sales compared to 2016.

A new study released today by Engagement Labs found that an estimated 19 percent of consumer sales are driven by offline and online social conversations. 

Content marketing platform Linqia‘s new study, “The State of Influencer Marketing 2018,” found that 86% of marketers reported using influencer marketing in 2017 — and, of those, 92% said it is an effective strategy.

A recent study by Shutterstock found that 88 percent of U.S. marketers surveyed agreed with the statement “Using more diverse images helps a brand’s reputation.”

StreamOn, a new study by Market Strategies International, has found that only 11% of all streamers pay for live streaming television.

Tiffany & Co. is the favorite luxury jewelry brand among wealthy millennials, followed by Cartier, Pandora, and Chanel, according to a recent survey by consumer-research group MVI Marketing. Rolex was the top brand for watches, followed by Apple, Omega and Cartier.

Research from search intelligence platform Adthena found that Amazon took 49.65% of the consumer electronics category’s click share during October and November of 2017. Director of Product Marketing at Adthena Ashley Fletcher credits this to their preference for pure brand terms, versus generic terms.

LATAM MARKET

Latin American media owners’ net advertising revenues (NAR) are set to grow by +9.3% in 2018, to US$26.3 billion, following a +7.3% growth in 2017;  thanks to a more robust economic recovery in the region, according to MAGNA.  Television remains the top media category in the region with 54% of total advertising sales while Digital advertising in Latin America remains lower than the global average.

According to a new report by research firm Counterpoint, 99 percent of Smartphone Sold in Argentina are LTE Enabled.

By Gabriela Gutiérrez M.

Influencers have become a major force in sports and soccer marketing. Mexico’s Chicharito is just one example. Leading executives from Nike, H K Strategies and Fluvip provided Portada insights on how to make the best use of the soccer influencer market.

Soccer runs through Javier’s veins. His dad used to joke that his son first kicked a ball before learning how to walk. At the age of nine, he enrolled in the Guadalajara Deportivo club’s youth league in Mexico. Twenty years later, Javier Hernández Balcázar is now known worldwide as “El Chicharito” and his 8.3 million followers on Twitter make him one of North America’s most important soccer influencers on that platform, above the Mexico National Team, with 5.4 million followers.

The boy from Guadalajara was sponsored by multinational brand Nike for seven years, an athlete’s dream come true.

TV hosts used to wield the most influence over public opinion on basically any subject, including soccer. For millennials, however, these personalities do not have the last word. For digital natives born between 1980 and 1995, Internet is their main source of information. Brands are increasingly interested in being able to take advantage of the connection that influencers have with their audiences.

“According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust other people’s opinions ̶ even if they do not know them ̶ over brands. Brands need stories to be told by people, or influencers. Brands need people to share their experiences with products and services,” says Sebastian Jasminoy, CEO of Fluvip, an influencer and content marketing group that specializes in connecting influencers with brands.

Although the term influencer is now all the buzz, its function is not: five years ago, they were known as brand ambassadors; 10 years ago they were known as celebrity endorsers. “The language has changed, but the accompanying principles that make for strong and powerful connections with your customers, or potential customers, has been a dynamic in marketing for the last 40 or 50 years,” says Andy Sutherden, Global Head of Sports Marketing + Sponsorships at H+K Strategies.

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“What has never changed is the brand’s appetite for identifying the right player, and once identified, to find very powerful and relevant ways in which that player can make relevant connections back to the company’s business,” adds Sutherden.

Soccer Influencer Marketing Rules

For brands, the first golden rule in choosing a soccer influencer is making sure the player shares a credible and authentic link with the brand’s business, such as pairing Cristiano Ronaldo with fashion brands, or David Beckham with personal care brands, explains Sutherden.

Denis Meyer, Director of Sports Marketing at Nike Mexico, agrees: “We select our influencers according to future projections, performance, image, and relationship with consumers. We expect these ambassadors to make the most authentic connection of products and brand exposure with our market.”

Five years ago, measuring this type of return on investment for brands was very difficult. Now, with proper social media or digital marketing for e-commerce, a sponsorship deal is expected to deliver sales

The second rule is to get the most out of the loyalty of the influencer’s fan base: “Loyalty can turn into commercial benefits.” To do this, several aspects are evaluated: the size of the soccer player’s fan base or number of followers on social networks, the depth of engagement between that fan base and the influencer, and if available, the historical evidence of the impact the influencer’s support had on past campaigns.

“Five years ago, measuring this type of return on investment for brands was very difficult. It all boiled down to awareness and brand equity. Now, with proper social media or digital marketing for e-commerce, a sponsorship deal is expected to deliver sales,” says Sutherden.

The third rule is summed up in an old popular saying: “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” The [sponsorship] contract must be very clear regarding reasons for termination and should consider the sponsored influencer’s behavior on or off the court, as his image will be linked to the brand.

CHECK OUT: When it comes to sports influencers it’s not all about Twitter followers

What: In a recent study, more than half of all marketers surveyed reported investing in Influencer Marketing in 2016, and more than one in five estimated their corporate-wide Influencer Marketing budgets to be in excess of $1 million.
Why It Matters: While brands are certainly excited about Influencer Marketing, they are still learning how to identify the right creators and engage target audiences through this new and unexplored medium. We spoke to two experts on Influencer Marketing from Fanatics Media and the Branded Entertainment Network (BEN) Group to find out what it takes to hit the mark.

“Influencers.” Brand marketers may not fully understand them yet, but they definitely cannot ignore them. Influencers are content creators that use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to build audiences through showing off their unique talents, sharing thoughts on virtually any topic, and teaching others how to do pretty much anything. Their audiences are not only enormous but also engaged and passionate about sharing. It’s a goldmine for brands looking to connect with young or niche consumers, but implementing an effective Influencer Marketing strategy requires a deep understanding of a very new digital landscape.

In the State of the Creator Economy report from online marketplace IZEAx, more than half of the marketers surveyed reported investing in Influencer Marketing in 2016. 69 percent of those who indicated that they are currently conducting Influencer Marketing campaigns have dedicated a stand-alone budget to them, and from 2014 to 2016, those budgets have increased steadily, now reaching $700k+. More than one in five of those surveyed estimated their corporate-wide Influencer Marketing budgets to be in excess of $1 million.

Research also shows that when Influencer Marketing is done right, it can be very effective: Collective Bias, Inc.’s study, The Power of Influence: A Window into ROI, looked at 11 Influencer campaigns from five CPG categories. While Influencer content significantly outperformed control groups, the study found a wide variance in performance, “driven largely by the advertiser category, seasonality, price point, purchase frequency, and budget size.”

For example, in the case of a major confection brand’s Influencer Marketing campaign, the study concluded that the campaign saw a 7.6x return on ad spend by weighing households exposed to the campaign’s Influencer content when compared to an unexposed control group. A national rice brand and frozen food brand found that its Influencer content generated a 45 percent redemption rate, tripling their benchmark of 15 percent and surpassing the industry digital coupon redemption rate of 8 percent. The study also found that of the group exposed to Influencer content, 48 percent visited the retailer within four days vs. only 29 percent in the identical but unexposed control. These figures beg the question: what separates the high-performing campaigns from those that fall flat?

What Makes a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign?

What does “doing it right” look like? 

The complexity of implementing and executing a successful Influencer Marketing campaign has led to the emergence of agencies that specialize in putting together and optimizing these campaigns for brands. From choosing the right Influencer to producing something that engages the right consumers and fits naturally into the creator’s content, a variety of variables determine the shape and performance of an Influencer Marketing campaign.

Meredith Jacobson, the Head of Digital Partnerships at BEN Group, said, “Depending on the campaign, some clients are more interested in raising awareness around their product or brand, while others are aggressively trying to drive downloads and/or trial and purchase.” A number of factors are typically factored into brands’ decisions when choosing the “right” Influencer for their campaigns: “The number of subscribers, viewership, engagement, vertical, and whether they believe that an Influencer aligns with the brand’s values” are all important, according to Jacobson.

Mark Fidelman, the managing director of Fanatics Media, explained that “smart agencies come to Influencer agencies to optimize.” When a brand or agency turns to an Influencer Marketing agency like Fanatics, they know that they are seeking brand awareness and to generate leads or sales for specific products. But the vast and continuously-evolving worlds of content creation and online video are overwhelming and foreign to them. They lack expertise and appreciation for the detailed work that goes into content creation and do not know enough to “integrate a product and service into video and still keep the Influencer’s MO consistent with what their followers expect from them,” Fidelman asserted.

To Determine the ‘Right Fit,’ Look Beyond Followers and Views

At the end of the day, “anyone can hire an Influencer for 100k,” Fidelman said, “but there are many steps that require optimization in order to make sure that leads and sales follow.” For example, brands often focus heavily on the number of views that a video receives, or feel that with one big win, they’ve done enough. “A lot of brands think that if they get a million views once, they have succeeded, but those views are not necessarily generating sales,” Fidelman added.

A lot of brands think that if they get a million views once, they have succeeded, but those views are not necessarily generating sales.

Fidelman explained that at Fanatics, his team makes sure to dig deeper, “so that when somebody clicks on links in the description of the video itself, this is being tracked through pixels and cookies.” With solid analytics, they can track the path to purchase when, for example, a pixel hits a thank you page, which only happens if the customer bought something. Other factors like how long people are watching the videos can give his team valuable insight into how well the campaign is working.

To Jacobson, much of it comes down to whether or not the creator and the brand’s goals are aligned, and whether the product can be fit seamlessly into the creator’s typical content. “Ultimately, we advise clients to execute campaigns that empower creators’ content rather than disrupt it, which often results in making viewers happy,” Jacobson said. And if viewers are happy, they are more likely to continue down the intended path to make a purchase and become loyal consumers.

When selecting creators to pair with a brand’s campaign, Fidelman emphasized that the number of views or subscribers is less important than the connection and engagement they have with their fans: To form a real understanding of a content creator’s engagement levels, he looks at the number of likes, shares and comments that their videos are receiving and puts it into his own proprietary “engagement” formula to weed out creators whose numbers are misleading. Using this approach, he has found that a creator could “have two million views, but 0.5 percent engagement, while the opposite could be true for someone with just 50,000 views who will also be cheaper to work with.”

Most Common Mistake: Brands ‘Overly Controlling Over the Creative’

Jacobson of BEN agreed, stating, “Some of our best campaigns have included a hybrid mix of large and mid-size Influencers,” and that “this approach gives brands the opportunity to achieve true scale with a large amount of reach and engagement.” She also emphasized that brands need to be “clear with their objectives and talking points, and truly allow the Influencers to act as the creative directors and do something cool and unique that they know their audiences will love.” At the end of the day, the creators know their audiences, and brands should look to them for guidance about what will resonate and what will not.

“The most common mistake that brands are committing when they are overly controlling over the creative,” Jacobson continued. “Influencer content is not a commercial, so it shouldn’t feel like one.” Coming off as “inauthentic and forced” has consequences, as “audiences can immediately pick up on this, and it can cause a backlash.” When the brands listen, Jacobson says the results are huge: “Our campaigns have sold out stock of products in thousands of stores, crashed websites, and delivered over 200% ROI for some clients.”

Brands ‘Understand the Importance of this Space,’ but Are Resistant to Change

How well are brands taking the experts’ advice? Jacobson insisted that education is important, and that they are sure to thoroughly explain “what’s been done in the past, which platforms are most effective at any current moment, trends, what potential campaigns could look like, and what kind of results to expect.” But the interest is there, as “many brands understand the importance of this space, so it’s really exciting to help them find opportunities and success,” Jacobson said.

Fidelman asserted that there is resistance from brands that still cling to platforms like television even though it offers fewer windows into how well campaigns are performing. “There is hesitance because it is what they have always done, and if you are a brand marketer or an advertiser, it is a pretty big risk to move into a new thing.”

Ultimately, we advise clients to execute campaigns that empower creators’ content rather than disrupt it, which often results in making viewers happy.

With television, Fidelman explained, it is impossible to know who is actually watching a commercial even though it is aired. “Unless you have physical stores, you have to look in a demographic area to see if sales went up or not, and it is not a direct link; it’s about inference,” he said. But with Influencers, one can track performance from start to finish without the big budgets of big television campaigns. “Moreover, you have a third-party source that is essentially doing a commercial for you,” he added.

To combat that resistance, Fidelman and his team will often start small with their clients, putting together a pilot whose performance can be compared to that of the brand’s television ads. He says that 90 percent of the time, the Influencer campaigns are more effective.

Targeting Opportunities: Influencers Reach Variety of Demographics

While the Influencer industry was certainly propelled forward by young, digitally-savvy Millennials, brands with older or more diverse targets are finding Influencer Marketing to be an effective targeting tool as well. Fashion and makeup are particularly focused on Millennials and Multicultural, Fidelman said, while technology brands are targeting mostly men in the age range of 30-50. The toy industry is reaching a huge audience through kids that spend hours on their parents’ tablets clicking on videos (have you seen the videos of this woman unwrapping toys?).

But Multicultural Millennials are still some of the hottest targets. “Executing Influencer campaigns in itself is a way that brands are attracting Millennial audiences,” Jacobson said. “As far as Multicultural goes, Brands love working with a variety of Influencers to attract all audience demographics…There are thousands of creators out there, so there are plenty of opportunities to reach any audience.”

The Future Belongs to Those with Long-Term Influencer Relationships

While it is encouraging to see more brands exploring Influencer Marketing, Fidelman emphasized that creating long-term relationships with the creators themselves is key to having repeated success with campaigns. Brands should aim to “work to build relationships with Influencers, and most companies that are smart enough to do it right are only doing it right one time,” Fidelman explained. Episodic content over a sustained period of time will see greater returns on investment.

Overall, the most important factor in the success of IM campaigns might be simple: build a good product and you will be able to find someone who will promote it authentically. “We’ve learned that the best collaborations occur when the creator truly is passionate about the brand or product,” Jacobson said.

Influencer marketing is here to stay. In this article, we offer some thoughts to keep in mind.

In a context where ad revenues are threatened by the presence of ad blockers, brands are forced to find new ways to reach their audiences.

One alternative is to seek out influential people on social media to carry the advertisers’ message, in exchange for some kind of compensation for the influencer.

In so doing, the product appears “organically” integrated into the daily content created by the influencer to communicate with his or her followers on social media.

Up to this point, everything ties in seamlessly— on the one hand, brands can reach their audiences in an environment related to their values (through a legitimate voice that is respected by users), and on the other hand, influencers can profit from the hours they spend maintaining their relationship with their followers (which they would do anyway, just for the fun of it).

In other words, it’s as if the brands selected certain popular voices on social media and paid them to be themselves (who wouldn’t want to make money for being oneself?).

The dilemma arises when the brand “forces” this spontaneity, worrying more about plausibility than the credibility of the influencer selected to carry its message.

The Axe case

A similar scenario happened in Argentina recently. Axe, within the framework of the #VosTenesLoTuyo campaign, apparently created a supposed relationship between a homely boy and a popular “It” Girl (both of them well-known thanks to their participation in different highly-rated reality shows on open television).

The uproar on social media was such that both of them were forced to reveal the truth behind their alleged romantic encounters published on Instagram.

What is not clear is whether this confession was all part of the brand’s plan, or whether it was due to the influencers’ lack of experience (which means no one would have subsequently wanted to hire them as influencers if this “suicide confession” had not been part of the original plan).

For its part, the brand circulated a video in which it gave its version of events, although it is impossible to know if this was carried out as part of its strategy reveal, or whether it was a release of liability in response to breaching the confidentiality agreement of the influencers contracted to carry out this action.

Some thoughts

There are various questions that arise from this scenario. Should we underestimate the users’ intelligence by expecting them to not differentiate between paid and organic messages? Is there a disadvantage to hiring an influencer to convey a brand’s message, as long as the influencer agrees with the brand’s values and considering they would use the product in question anyway? Is it questionable for brands to openly reveal that they encountered some marketing action by influencers to reach their consumers in a novel way?

Users’ behavior makes Influencer Marketing one of the key strategies for 2017. However, before embarking on any action of this kind, it is important to keep possible repercussions in mind and be prepared to respond to any contingencies that arise.

 

 

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The role of Influencers in Latin American Marketing efforts, often in real-time, was a pervasive theme during last week’s #PortadaLat. Comments from Social Influencers as well as from  Brand Marketers in CPG, Cosmetics/Health and the Luxury Goods and Services Categories.

As Denisse Guerra, Regional Marketing Director Latin America, The Estee Lauder Companies and Manuel Medina Riveroll, Marketing Director, Bayer Mexico pointed out during their session on “Brand Leadership in a disruptive World”, even the traditionally conservative healthcare and cosmetic sector has to take a leap of faith and compete in real-time. That includes the hiring of Social Influencers. They also emphasized that some of their categories are growing much more in LatAm (as an example they cited OTC products which are growing 17% in Latin America vs. low single digital growth rates in the U.S. and stagnation in Japan). During his presentation, Jon Suarez-Davis, VP Global Media Strategy, Kellogg Company also noted that Influencer Marketing is an important of the CPG Giants, Latin American Marketing efforts.

At a session called “Online Video Power Connection”, putting together Online Video Content Creators and Platforms, moderated by Pablo Silva, Director Product Innovation at Viacom, Fabienne Fourquet, CEO and co-founder of  MCN 2btube stressed the importance of user-generated “instant videos’.

Lyfestyle and Fashion Blogger Daniela Ramirez noted that she has experienced an increase in interest from brands over the last few years in Influencer Marketing: “Now there is a budget for this,” she said.

Audience_LatInfluencer Marketing does not mean a lot for the Luxury goods and services category represented at a panel during #PortadaLat by Alexis Thanasoulas, MD Latin America, Zenith Optimedia Group, Stephanie Peña, Regional Sales Director Americas, Longchamp, Andrea Carneiro, Director Sales and Marketing at The St. Regis Mexico City as well as by Javier Martinez Staines, Director General Editorial, Televisa. During the Q&A after their presentation Maya Kosovalic -Head of Media and Digital Communication at L’Oréal Travel Retail Americas and also a presenter in a video advertising best practices case session together with executives from Teads and Socialyse- asked about whether St. Regis and Longchamp have Influencer Marketing programs currently going on. Both of the brand representatives noted that this is not a priority right now.

Brands like Hermes have very few social media followers, but they are selling like crazy.

A little bit of Schizophrenia

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Alexis Thanasoulas, MD Latin America, Zenith Optimedia Group; Javier Martinez Staines, Director General Editorial, Televisa; Stephanie Peña, Regional Sales Director Americas, Longchamp, and Andrea Carneiro, Director Sales and Marketing at The St. Regis Mexico City.

“There is a little bit of schizophrenia in the Luxury World,” said Zenith Optimedia’s Thanasoulas. “Luxury brands are often debating between keeping control or letting it go away. 80% of the marketing programs are still invested the old-fashioned way and not in Social Media.” The marketing of many luxury brands is managed centrally and this makes decentralized content marketing and social media programs more difficult.”  Panelists also pointed out that while in the U.S.  luxury brands consumers like to be associated with the mainstream and its celebrities, this is not the case in Latin America where consumptions of luxury goods and services ss a more elitist endeavour.
Besides, as Thanasoulas pointed out, “Brands like Hermes have very few social media followers, but they are selling like crazy.”