CIOs should be the catalyst for disrupting the execution of influencer marketing

CIOs and CMOs need to work closely together to empower teams to engage influencers at scale, using business intelligence to provide context to real-time communication with diverse audiences.

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Public perception and trust are becoming an increasingly valuable metric for business owners, brand marketers, and even Wall Street. The means by which brands share their message can be a make or break for the vision of their company.

In today’s modern marketing sphere, influencer marketing has been a front runner. Businesses and marketers love it because they can reach networks they otherwise couldn’t have touched, creating a strong level of trust and brand loyalty while holistically engaging motivated audiences.

But what if the business itself can’t properly communicate their message to those who are supposed to "spread the word?" Ironic as it is, this communication breakdown is prevalent for many brands. They recruit dozens – even thousands – of influencers and create a quality roster of people, but they’re unable to communicate with that network in a fluid way.

It’s up to CIOs to provide a platform for their marketing team to more effectively coordinate with and engage influencers. The old school email threads and instant messages aren’t cutting it. It’s time for large teams to work cohesively to shape the message more effectively. And that will rely on technology.

CIOs can empower scalable conversations

For business owners and marketers to be successful, they must deploy tools to speak to brand ambassadors at scale. The higher the quality of the communication that is happening between firms and influencers, the more authentically that influencer can portray the brand’s vision to their followers.

This has become a real challenge for marketers, and it’s because the technology that gave them access to influencers is their worst enemy when communicating with influencers at scale.

“Not only do many businesses lack the resources to send personalized messages at scale, but they also lack the tools to mobilize their community to action,” says Sharon Savariego, founder and CEO of Mobilize, a management tool for communities. “Without the tools to accurately collect user data, they have no way to analyze it. To overcome this challenge, brands need to leverage tools that can aggregate and sort unstructured data from every person in your network, such as where they live, the last time they communicated with you, or what their interests are.”

Tomorrow’s communication platforms need to provide context to the conversation

Operations is a puzzle for any company. Which platforms work best with which workflow? Should we use different tools for different problems, or try to find a solution under one roof? When operating alongside dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people in your network, communicating with them can be a productivity suck.

Chat platforms like Slack, Messenger and WhatsApp are all great for communicating internally. But when trying to organize conversations with more than 20 people involved, it becomes a logistical nightmare. And influencer marketing requires a massive amount of information to be distilled, from multiple sources within the company, to a select group of influential people. If your communication is redundant or disorganized, you’re going to lose the influencer’s attention.

“Influencer marketing started out as a very manual process, and for some it still is,” says Rachael Cihlar from TapInfluence. “It requires hours of cold emailing influencers, creating strategy and sharing it out, negotiating rates, and measuring the effectiveness of the content. However, with an Influencer Marketing Automation platform, marketers can seamlessly search for influencers, invite them to assignments for their already-requested rate, and measure their campaigns with thorough reporting for every type of assignment. This saves time and money and allows marketers the freedom to focus on developing strategy and optimizing their programs.”

Conversational context, aided by technology, improves the opportunity for engagement of influencers and internal teams

When your goal is to mobilize a group of people to take action, there must be personalized messages to prompt engagement as well as a communication platform in place that plays to all audiences.

“When companies fail to engage and mobilize their networks, often the core roadblock is the medium of communication,” says Savariego. “Unlike an internal team at work, you can’t ask an influencer to download a certain tool or platform that you’ve chosen. Each person has their preferred means of interaction, be it email, SMS, etc. Communicating via many channels through one dashboard creates a frictionless user experience that further drives networks to collaborate and take action.”

As traditional brands lose control over the message, the teams with the best context within the storm will win

According to a recent report by Landor, “Brand management has traditionally been occupied with constructing rigid edifices—polished logos, perfected environments, and carefully scripted experiences. But in today’s complex, fast-moving marketplace, the concept of control is a fallacy.”

So what’s a brand to do? The future of brand management is moving toward a more democratized system. Yes, every company has goals they are trying to meet, a mission they’re trying to build, but we will see an increasing number of brands opening their doors to their consumers to creative influence.

“In today’s environment, companies have less direct control over their brands than they did 20 years ago,” Michael Kolleth, director of corporate advertising and branding at Dow Chemical Company, told Landor. “They have to be okay with other people influencing their brands and managing within a more complex ecosystem.”

The brand management of today will drastically change within a year, and be unrecognizable within five. What is important is to make sure a strong communication platform is rolled out to help teams engage their brand’s most loyal and vocal supporters.

Whether your message is being promoted via a community of influencers, or a satisfied customer – listening to, managing and tracking word-of-mouth will be a significant factor in mobilizing your networks.

CIOs must get ahead of the curve, now. It’s time to weave together a communication platform that can see what’s happening both inside and outside of the organization. This way, every team member has the ability to stick to a fluid script, powered by Business Intelligence.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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