What is Influencer Marketing?

What exactly is influencer marketing? Who is the one influencing and what kind of influence is taking place? Most are familiar with the basics of marketing but have not heard of this particular kind of advertising approach. Let’s get into some of the basics of what this type of marketing is all about.

Basic Definition

For those looking for the most direct definition of this marketing approach, Forbes provides a great rundown:

“Influencer marketing is a form of relationship building; you develop rapport with the people who can create visibility for your product or service. Unlike other marketing approaches that focus on ‘masses,’ this approach focuses on the individual influencers, who can range from niche bloggers to well-known celebrities.”

In other words, this marketing concept is as much a matter of relationship harvest as it is advertising effort. Here, the marketing entity first manifests or grows a relationship with a party that is advantageous to be close to for marketing purposes. This person, service, or other entity being courted is considered the “influencer.”

The second step is the arrangement for the use of the influencer in the interest of marketing reasons. This influencer may personally promote products or services. They might also simply provide a platform or media with which the advertiser can put forth advertisement. The role played can vary, but the utilization of this relationship with the influencer is the cornerstone of this approach.

Related resource: Top 10 Best Online Masters in Marketing Degree Programs 2014

Examples in Action

A few figurative examples of this advertising model tend to help some with further clarity on the subject.

A local advertising company seeks a beloved celebrity figure to tout the services of its lawn care service-providing client. A local bodybuilding celebrity agrees to the role after some courting, and a successful advertising campaign surrounding traits of strength and reliability persists as a result. New clientele is drawn to the lawn care service and the celebrity profits from the receipt of prearranged compensation.

Another example of marketing with an influencer comes to us courtesy of an arrangement between a local magazine and a larger advertiser. The advertiser and the magazine have reached a mutually beneficial agreement in which each assists the other as needed. The magazine provides advertising space, subtle nods, and other sorts of advertising applications within their publication for the advertising service. In return, the advertising service does its own advertising for the magazine and select happenings within its monthly issues.

In both of these figurative yet accurate portrayals, there is a distinct influencer being utilized for advertising purposes. One is a celebrity figure that directly promotes a service. The other example shows us the power of the overall relationship as well as media space and publishing power found via this influencer affiliation.

There are many, distinct benefits to the use of such marketing tactics. Here, a relationship is harbored and mutual benefit and diverse opportunities for those benefits can then arise for both parties involved. As time rolls on, the advantages can grow and grow. These are the basics of influencer marketing approaches most commonly employed today.