If ever evidence was needed of the power and importance of influencer marketing, the latest research on the emergence of challenger brands as genuine threats to established firms has provided it.
A study by HypeAuditor has concluded that major brands like Adidas have been losing out to emerging forces like Gymshark and MyProtein, despite having the advantage of established loyal customer bases and huge marketing budgets.
The smaller ecommerce brands have enjoyed increasing success due to the agile and effective influencer marketing campaigns run on Instagram between October and December last year, the period studied in the research.
HypeAuditor produced the research via its new Competitor Grid tool, which can help marketers who lack knowledge of the role influencers are playing.
Among the shortfalls are 31 per cent who don’t know who their influencers are working with and 45 per cent who don’t know which markets their rivals’ influencers are targeting.
Chief executive of HypeAuditor Alex Friloy said firms are now “revaluating” how they work with influencers.
He stated: “Instead of one-off deals with hundreds of influencers, all using the same copy, marketers and agencies are now looking for more long-term, authentic partnerships that give influencers more creative control.”
The emergence of influencers as a major topic in the analysis of marketing may itself be considered a clear signal of their growing importance in helping brands to either sustain their market position or to attract new custom. Emerging firms may be particularly excited by the potential this research shows for them to achieve strong growth through influencers.
In a recent discussion on trends in marketing sponsored by Drum, former chief digital officer of GroupM Rob Norman described influence as “the leverage of some combination of celebrity, authority, relevance, and relatability”.
He added that the growth of niche markets has meant that everything, including the use of influence marketing, has become more “granular” as it targets more and more narrowly-defined groups.