The Impact of Influencers

Why this new way of Marketing is here to stay… a while!

The term “influencer” is not new by any means; it has been around since the 1600’s
and the term was used to refer to an individual who has the capability to alter
the beliefs of others. By now the word influencer is as commonly used as other
ones which flow with our daily activities and does not require a lot of effort
as it is so apparent in our everyday life.

But how did we get here and is it working? 

Consumers look for a connection between their purchases and their
personalities; they see purchases as an extension of themselves, either when
fulfilling a need or want. Even the most random purchase has some psychological
support and reason behind it; a justification that makes us accept the
sacrifice of letting go of money for a product or service in return. 

Consumers buy on feelings and not on reason!

One psychological justification behind purchasing goods is the validation we
get from others. It is a reaffirmation that we are on the right track of
belonging. It is a connection between our actual self and the aspiring one.
While marketing might appear as a creative outlet for companies or even a mere
business strategy, at its core it is all about understanding consumers and how
to make them buy more with as little remorse as possible. 

Influencers help close that gap of remorse for buyers by presenting
themselves as one of the customers, one of us. Influencers make us believe
that we have the inside scoop to exclusivity!
As the active purchasing
customer gets more diverse, so do influencers as they are trying to resonate
with the shoppers. Stories of humble beginnings, self-doubt, sacrifice, and
struggle vibrate with almost everyone as we all have had our fair share of
obstacles to overcome.

Purchases reward us; we see them as an agreeable sign of what we
have endured with what we deserve, a promise of where we are and where we might
actually go, even if it equates to a minimum payment dragged over the years on
a maxed-out credit card. The reward might be a new makeup palette, a computer,
an outfit that we saw someone else highlight in their stories on social media,
or a sports package on cable. 

How do influencers do it?

Influencers are perceived as effective marketers and we
will see their involvement grow in the upcoming years. According to marketers,
recommendations from influencers are twice as effective
in converting
shoppers into purchases as compared to content being pushed on to consumers
directly from the company. Influencers tend to connect with their audience as
they focus on a niche, hence are perceived as experts in their area. There are
influencers who promote makeup only and all their content is related to the
beauty industry. They have established themselves as experts, and their large
audience is validation of that. 

While all customers strive for differentiation and expressing their
individuality through their  purchases, the majority of them are
influenced from some form of exposure by the immediate circle of friends and
family, as much as 70% in fact!  

So next time you purchase something new, try and reflect for a moment on
what made you buy what you did. How did the idea ignite to go ahead and
purchase it? Was it a new trend, a person you saw online, an interaction on
social media, an ad?  Who influenced you?

Dr. Marietta Poshi is a Marketing and Business Professor, Researcher, and Published Author.

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