Research Identifies Influence 2.0 As Key To Modern Enterprise Growth
In partnership with TopRank Marketing, Traackr teamed up with Brian Solis at Altimeter, a Prophet company to release a new report, “Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing”. The report features a global survey of 102 enterprise brand strategists and marketers on current and future executions and investments. The results outline what’s working and what’s failing in current influencer marketing practice for enterprise businesses.
The report maps out a future vision for influencer marketing, and introduces a new business model that unifies disparate organizational functions to enhance existing marketing and sales processes. Influence 2.0, or influencer relations as it states, represents one of the most promising yet mostly untapped opportunities for companies. It will place customer experience at the center of enterprise business strategy, enabling sophisticated and enhanced customer journey mapping and unlocking critical digital business efficiencies.
“The business of influence is maturing and proving to be a driving force in enterprise growth and digital transformation,” said Traackr CEO, Pierre-Loic Assayag. “CMOs must make Influence 2.0 a priority investment now to harness this power and lead in redefining the impact of marketing in enterprise business.”
The report invites enterprise CMOs to reimagine their role as the central driver and enabler of this process, taking the lead in digital transformation. But it highlights that influence still has some work ahead to develop and mature as a practice, become a top priority at board level and be recognized for this role.
“Influence 2.0 is an incredible opportunity for marketers to think differently about customer experience to fast track the inevitable changes that digital business presents,” said Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter. “Marketers must reimagine their role as a central driver of organizational change, output and impact by connecting with customers in more genuine and useful ways and on channels they trust and value.”
Solis states that harnessing influence requires a more human approach with empathy and customer centricity instrumental in taking influence to the next level. He pins success on reassessing the value chain around creating value within the relationships between influencers and their communities. He continues emphasizing that customer experience will play a lead role in organizational change and digital transformation. To impact sales, satisfaction and retention, influence management, content strategy and customer experience must be integrated. Even more so, influencers, peers, intent, and experiences must be aligned throughout the customer journey. He goes on to outline a ten step process for marketers to transition to Influence 2.0.
“A more customer centric approach to marketing fueled by influencer relationships has universal applications in enterprise organizations,” said Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing. “The insights in this report provide an excellent framework for senior business leaders to evolve their digital practices from content to customer service.”
- 1. Influencer Marketing Will Make A Strategic Move To Influencer Relations
Traackr’s report identifies the three key success factors of Influence 2.0 as:
- – On-going ‘always on’ influencer relations programs
- – Robust budget and resource allocation and planning
- – Investment in a sound Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) technology platform
It states that where 71% of brand marketers rate influencer marketing as a strategic or highly strategic marketing category, 43% are still experimenting with the practice and 28% are only involving influencers at a campaign level. However, 83% of respondents cited a top priority to “identify and build one-on-one relationships with industry key influencers,” indicating a readiness for influencer relations programs.
The report also highlights that current influencer marketing fails to recognize these three critical factors and remains extremely tactical, with low-level financial and resource investment. This is cited as a fundamental failure of current programs that is hindering performance and preventing influencer marketing from becoming a strategic investment at a board level.
The report highlights that short-term, campaign-driven and paid activities are failing to deliver the opportunity inherent in ‘always on’ strategic Influence 2.0 programs that live beyond a single campaign. Where the latter can powerfully impact purchase decision and activate multiple moments of truth along a more meaningful and productive customer journey, 28% of companies surveyed involve influencers only at the campaign level.
Altimeter states that engaging influencers in authentic long-term relationships is the key to a successful ‘Influence 2.0’ transition. This is achievable only through a meaningful investment in a strategic IRM technology platform that unites all relationship-driven organizational functions. Where some brands are leading the way, with 24% running an “always on” program, many CMOs are missing out with only 5% implementing integrated influencer activities across all functions. The report data demonstrates a considerable lack of understanding of the vast untapped potential for the enterprise.
- 2. Budgetary Projections For 2017 Demonstrate A Shift In Prioritization
Many of the brands surveyed are reporting small influencer budgets relative to the rest of the marketing mix and on average are allocating only a 10% share. 50% of the Marketers surveyed currently allocate less than $100,000 annually, again limiting the potential impact of influence to the tactical level.
But budgetary projections for 2017 demonstrate a shift in prioritization. 55% of marketers plan to spend more. For those already investing more than $250,000 annually, this percentage jumps up to 67% and up to 77% for those already using an IRM technology. This clearly indicates that these brands are already reaping benefits and are willing to evolve, build further and invest more.
Overall it’s clear that to demonstrate success and justify executive sponsorship, influencer marketing must stand as an investment priority in its own right, rather than an enhancement to existing advertising, paid for endorsements or PR programs.
- 3. Influence is Expanding its Footprint Within The Enterprise
Influencer programs continue to be stunted by a disconnect between program owners and implementers. 16% of companies cite PR as the owner of influencer marketing, while 65% of companies report PR executing against an influencer marketing initiative. In 50% of cases, marketing instigates and owns this cost center. But Influence 2.0 is bigger than any one enterprise group, therefore the report calls for integrative collaboration.
Solis states that influencers can play a role in each moment of truth in the customer journey. So to earn executive attention, influence must be championed at a higher cross-functional level by multiple stakeholders including brand, PR, AR, customer and employee advocacy, social media and digital. The report shows that influence is now starting to expand its footprint within the enterprise, with marketers starting to see the bigger picture. 50% of respondents stated that four or more departments are engaged in an integrated influencer practice and 80% quoting more than three. 57% of respondents believe influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in three years. More telling, almost half, 47%, believe it will be a cross-functional discipline that will expand beyond marketing.
- 4. Future Influence Goals Center On Reaching New Highly Targeted Audiences And Improving Sales
Traackr’s report also indicates that the role of influence is now expanding to support new areas including marketing, sales, support and loyalty programs. 94% of marketers would like to explore how it can improve brand advocacy, 92% want to use it to expand brand awareness, 88% want to reach new highly targeted audiences, 86% to achieve increased share of voice and 74% to improve sales conversion.