Word of mouth is powerful; if it’s used properly.

Influencer Marketing, has been around since Eve first offered Adam that apple. It is the the oldest and most effective form of marketing known to humankind. However, somewhere between the start of the industrial revolution and the explosion of the internet, it is almost as if we forgot about how important the opinions of others are in determining our own ideas, behaviours and purchasing considerations.

The technology that enabled the internet, and the way in which new generations of people have embraced the notion of sharing, has re-opened our recognition of the power of word of mouth and the necessity to, at the very least, consider the inclusion of word-of-mouth as part of any communication or marketing mix. This is backed up by how since 2014 there has been an exponential growth in the use of “Influencer Marketing” as a search term on Google. Marketers are understanding the usefulness of embracing influencer marketing as a channel, which is in effect word of mouth re-invented at the sweet-spot of the 3-way intersection of the availability and pervasiveness of internet access, the explosion of social media options, and the eagerness of millennials, centennials and everyone subsequent, to openly share their lives online through the utilisation of these tools.

In South Africa though, we still need to do a wee bit of catching up; both in terms of understanding what the various type of influencer marketing channels are available, but also in terms of educating and passing on skills to prospective influencers on the correct and most effective ways of creating content. Both parties also need to be skilled in how best to seed that content to the preferred target audience. There is thus a real need to drive the understanding of influencer marketing within the marketing and communications industry and for key players to contribute to helping influencers to understand their role in the mix. This will result in ensuring that the ultimate marriage of brands and influencers is not only a professional one, but that both parties are able to derive maximum and mutual benefit from the arrangement.

Article originally posted on Linkedin: