By: Alexandra Schenk
Recently, my alma matter was named a top 5 business school in the United States. While I wasn’t particularly surprised by this fact, I found myself surprisingly disappointed. I have been out of college for a little under two years and I resent my university for being praised on being a “#7 Marketing School” but having zero concentration in digital marketing. I would guesstimate that a little over 1.23% of my classes my entire undergraduate career, had anything to do with digital marketing. And that is a shame. Digital marketing is unlike any other form of marketing. Any marketing school or any brand that hasn’t recognized this yet is already behind.
Just like print editors paved way for television placement artists, email marketing paved way for digital and social media gurus. So now what? When you’re already in the magazines, the television, and all over the Internet…where does your marketing go? The people.
The biggest difference with digital marketing, which all the other platforms have been unable to achieve, is the level of relationship you can build with your consumer. This can be achieved through a variety of ways, customer support or direct messaging, but does little to build brand awareness or change perceptions for consumers quite the way “influencers” have. This is where influencer marketing has changed the game. I
Influential people online are the digital version of the already “tried and true” best marketing tool, “word-of-mouth”. When I first tried to explain this to my mother, whom is currently work on a real estate digital marketing strategy, it conjured images similar to those from Robert Green’s, “The Art of Seduction”. Instead, I asked her to think of her five best friends and about similar interests and or likes/dislikes they share. Then I compared it to Jim Rohn’s theory that, “You’re The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With”. These are the people that you trust and are exponentially more likely to trust when it comes to honest reviews on products/services. This is the future of marketing. It is important to first determine what an “influencer” means in your industry and then work to develop a strategic digital marketing plan. After all, social influencers are digital marketing’s most overlooked and misused resource.