Influencer Marketing Defined

Influencer Marketing Defined

March 2, 2016
Business Skills

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

In the retail dietetics industry, RDs are thought of as health influencers. Food companies, for example, want to engage retail RDs about the health and nutrition attributes of their products in light of the consumer-influence power the dietitians have. The influencer approach relies on the idea that most people are influenced by those they believe to be opinion leaders.

The opportunity exists for retail RDs to use this same strategy to increase marketing of and engagement in their programs. It’s turning the tables, so to speak, and considering influencers amongst their consumer segments.  

What is Influencer Marketing?

Good question. An influencer is anyone that impacts consumer purchase decisions even though they may not directly account for the decision. Influencer marketing focuses on using these key leaders to drive your brand message or information about your products and services to your larger target market. Instead of you marketing to a large group of your shoppers, you inspire or pay influencers to reach the broader group for you. You rely on them to move your customers from awareness to intent to purchase.

In a previous article, we discussed content marketing. Content marketing as well as social media marketing are often linked with influencer market. Influencer campaigns typically include an element of content where you create content for the influencers or give them enough information to develop the content themselves. While social channels are often used by influencers to spread the word to your broader target market, this is not the only mechanism of delivery, making social media an element of but not synonymous with influencer marketing.  

An important consideration is that with influencer marketing, you’re focused on finding influencers – not necessarily current customers – to spread your message. For example, a prominent hospital or clinic may be a key influencer, without regard for whether or not their leadership shops in your stores. A mommy blogger may influencer other moms to use your RD services or programs even though she is not a current loyal customer of your stores.

As you consider and build an influencer marketing strategy, it’s essential to maintain focus on your target consumer. If you are trying to reach Boomers managing diabetes or heart disease, who are their influencers? If your target audience is Millennials who seek convenience and have strong interest in sustainability, who can reach them most effectively? The drive has to be first against who the consumer is and the targeted action you seek. Work backwards to then identify who influences the audience.

Influencer marketing is a discipline all its own, and in next week’s RDBA Weekly, we’ll share the four components of a successful influencer marketing strategy.