Report: Influencers Becoming More Important as Marketing Tools

A new report from the consulting firm A.T. Kearney makes the case that influencer marketing can be more targeted and effective than traditional types of marketing, which aim at broader, affluent audiences.

The future of consumerism isn’t about who has money—it’s about who can convince people to spend that money.

That’s the main point behind a new report from the consulting firm A.T. Kearney. The Consumers of the Future: Influence vs. Affluence argues that the traditional affluence-based logic behind marketing (find pockets of affluence and build around that market) is giving way to a more influencer-driven market.

In other words, people with strong engagement over a certain audience—think bloggers, podcasters, celebrities, or Instagrammers—can help drive lots of spending. And that means markets are building up around those influencers, big or small.

In fact, per the report, the small ones may even be more influential than the big ones:

Tomorrow’s influencers are likely to be more segmented: for example, a blogger or vlogger (video blogger) with fashion sense, or a local rapper, DJ, or foodie. Such micro-influencers (thousands of followers, strong personal influencers in their communities) may have more impact than macro-influencers (celebrities with millions of followers) because they engage more actively and authentically with their followers and so more effectively build trust.

The group’s analysis finds that the impact of micro-influencers is more profound on younger generations—with 54 percent of respondents in generation Z and 51 percent of millennials saying that they listened to what bloggers or vloggers had to say. (Older generations, meanwhile, were less affected by influencers—with 35 percent of gen X and 20 percent of other groups saying they listen closely to bloggers or vloggers.)

This, says the report, will require a rethink of how brands get themselves in front of audiences. “Organizations must develop agility and speed to constantly challenge today’s models and reinvent the company every day,” the report states.

The report argues that this consumer shift means that intimate relationships with consumers, driven by data and segmentation, will become more important, and that will lead to a change in the way marketing budgets are spent.

“A hyperconnected world makes many traditional marketing activities irrelevant—so budgets, as well as mindsets, must adjust,” the report adds.

The report, based on the survey results from 7,000 people in seven countries (China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States), highlighted a mixture of different economies and demographics within each of those countries.

(Anchiy/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!