Influencer Marketing Is So 1983

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In 1983, at the American Music Awards, Aretha Franklin won the Favorite Soul/R&B Album of the Year award for Jump to It. As Ms. Franklin gave her thank-you speech to a televised audience of millions of households, she held, in one hand, her award and, in the other hand, a pair of Stuart Weitzman custom-made pumps. While this was not the first incidence of influencer marketing, it is an example, from decades ago, that illustrates quite clearly that influencer marketing is not new.

Influencer marketing is not new. Share on X

In the past, influencer marketing has been known by other names, including brand endorsement and product placement. Remember when Coca-Cola cups sat on the judges table on American Idol? While we did not know what was in the cups, we certainly know who put them there. If Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson were presumably all drinking Coca-Cola, perhaps we should be too!

Find an influencer in your niche

Social media has made it possible for nearly any person with internet access to be an influencer. Mega influencers have more than 1 million followers. Nano influencers can have fewer than 10,000. Align your brand with an influencer who will not just advertise your product, but who will actually use it. Aretha Franklin was the ultimate customer for Stuart Weitzman. She not only held the designer’s shoes in her hand, she actually thanked the designer in her speech for the comfortable, stylish shoes. This endorsement led to more demand for Stuart Weitzman shoes.

Why your biggest customer matters

Even if you never use influencer marketing, your biggest customer matters. Your biggest customer becomes your defacto infuencer. Would your business benefit more from having Amazon or smallretailerdotcom as a client? While you might want to do business with several smallretailerdotcom’s, having Amazon as an anchor client would likely get more of these customers in the door. Are you using your key customer relationships to grow your business?