At the Influencer Marketing Conference 2018 in Munich, eleven leading experts shared their experience in this rapidly growing marketing discipline – incorporating knowledge exchange, case studies, and success models.

The topics discussed included the most striking aspects of cooperation with these new opinion-formers, as well as stumbling blocks in the execution.

Figures show that there is no way around this subject: The budget for influencer marketing rose by 67 percent in 2017, and demand for specialized influencer marketing managers increased by 270 percent. So the focus of discussions was not on whether companies should consider influencer marketing in the first place, but rather on how this new discipline can be implemented properly.

Our Managing Director, Rupert Schäfer, presented workshop participants with five steps to getting started in influencer marketing:

1. Who is the right influencer for your brand?

Even though this discipline seems to be young and trendy, strategic preparation is still necessary. This is why the selection of suitable multipliers should be based solely on overarching marketing objectives. In order to extend your reach quickly and appeal to a younger target group, popular YouTubers may be suitable. For long-term dialog with the target group and credible communication of product benefits, micro-influencers with in-depth expertise might be a better fit. The crucial question: “What do I want to communicate to whom and how do I want to say it?” also applies to influencer marketing.

2. What does optimum cooperation look like?

The first step is setting the strategic direction: Are you aiming for action/event-related influencer marketing measures or long-term influencer relations? Both work under completely different conditions. In the first case, the aim is rapid and high visibility within the target group. Companies deploy measures of this kind for product launches, for example. Influencers are used to extend the reach. By contrast, with ongoing influencer relations, the focus is on long-term dialog with the target group. Product samples, vouchers, and so on are often given to these multipliers to create incentives.

3. How should an influencer campaign be executed in practice?

Just like in any other marketing discipline, numerous intermediaries have positioned themselves within influencer marketing. They range from agencies that represent several star influencers to platforms that focus more on micro- and mid-level influencers, as well as on “rising stars” (i.e. influencers with up to one million followers). An alternative is, however, often forgotten in this heated debate: the in-house solution. As in programmatic advertising or content marketing, it seems reasonable that advertisers should acquire the competencies themselves. They could thus reduce their dependency on service providers in the long term.

4. What priority does performance measurement have?

Even those who see marketing as an investment and not a cost item want to determine the ROI in influencer marketing. However, performance measurement depends entirely on the defined marketing objectives: Image can be determined by market research, sales increase through measurements in defined test areas, and interaction via social channels and blogs. This is the only way to directly compare influencer marketing with other marketing disciplines.

5. How does influencer marketing blend into the classic marketing mix?

Marketing works holistically. If used correctly, influencer marketing can certainly contribute its share of success. But this requires that all measures are well coordinated and orchestrated. Ultimately, however, one person – the conductor – plays a decisive role in ensuring a harmonious performance.

Alongside Rupert Schäfer, the panel also consisted of Torsten Oppermann, CEO of MSN.Digital, Alexander Pühringer, CEO of Linkilike, and Torsten Panzer, CEO of PR Club Hamburg. The author Dr. Erwin Lammenet gave a keynote speech. A video interview with him and more information about the Influencer Marketing Conference 2018 can be found here.

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