When it comes to comparing influencer marketing to traditional marketing, the primary difference between the two efforts essentially comes down to people being online as opposed to them being offline. In many ways, comparing influencer marketing to traditional marketing is like comparing social media marketing or content marketing to traditional marketing.
Whereas traditional marketing does not have a particular demographic focus, influencer marketing will target a highly relevant audience. This means that influence marketing is much more likely to target a specific niche, and influencer marketing efforts will cater to trying to reach the audience that caters to that niche.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Influencer Marketing and Traditional Marketing
Influencer marketing is a kind of digital marketing in which companies collaborate with digital content creators to help promote certain products or services in exchange for compensation that often comes in the form of payments or product gifts. According to Statista, influence marketing has grown at a yearly rate of 47 percent, with a projection to reach $16 billion by the end of this year.
Traditional marketing, on the other hand, is a much broader term for the marketing channels existing outside the digital world. Such marketing efforts focus on television, radio, newspapers, and other media.
Some of the advantages of influencer marketing include:
- More Relevant to Your Niche — When an influencer specializes in a particular niche, they will have an audience with their own specific needs and interests that the brands they are working with will be able to target.
- People Trust the Influencers — Many creators have a high level of trust and authority with their followers, creating a greater word-of-mouth effect on marketing efforts.
- More Cost-Versatile — People will have a good range of choices that can range from smaller and cheaper influencers to more costly large influencers or celebrities who have greater reach.
- Enhancing Brand Awareness — An immediate benefit of influencer marketing can be an improvement of your brand awareness. A target audience using social media gets to know your brand, story, and the offerings you have.
- Building Trust And Authority — Because influencers have developed strong relationships with their fans, they have trust and credibility which leads to their users respecting their recommendations. If a celebrity endorses a product or service, there is instant credibility for the brand they are promoting.
- Reaching Your Target Audience — Influencers who are relevant to your brand will already have an established audience on social media and can easily get a hold of a target group. You will not need to spend extra money to test and find your market because an influencer already has one.
- Connecting To A Wider Market — By using an influencer, you not only reach your intended audience but also bond with another segment of the market.
- Setting A Trend — Influencers can become driving forces behind new movements because they can expose audiences to novel ideas, products, and brands. When you align your business with a trendsetting influence, you will show that your company is pioneering. The State of Influencer Marketing 2022: Benchmark Report found that the influencer marketing industry would grow to approximately $16.4 Billion in 2022, and influencer marketing-focused platforms raised more than $800 million in funding in 2021 alone.
- Creating Partnerships — Engaging with an influencer is just the beginning of a strong relationship, and you will also expand connections through an influencer. A relationship with an influencer can generate real results that benefit both of you.
- Driving Conversions — Influencers can direct their followers towards a product or service. Since most consumers will see the influencers as trustworthy, they trust influencers for recommendations. The Digital Marketing Institute reported that 49 percent of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.
- Generating Leads — Using an influencer not only creates demand but also generates leads. Influencers might inspire and persuade consumers to purchase your product and offer more opportunities to interact with people and companies that you did not previously engage with.
- Offering Value — Influencer marketing can deliver content that offers solutions to problems. It will educate and motivate your audience. Influencers will be sensitive to the needs of their followers and fans, so you can easily create content that offers value to the target clientele.
- Helping Content Strategy — Creating fresh and engaging content will not always be easy, but an influencer can assist your content development process. You could end up teaming up with an influencer to help create content that is higher in quality and more aesthetically pleasing for your audience.
Of course, finding the right influencer can be difficult. You will need to be sure you are targeting the right audience, measure the cost-effectiveness of any collaboration, and also consider other aspects of such a relationship.
Some of the potential disadvantages of influencer marketing could include:
- Working with the Wrong Influencers May Do More Harm than Good — It can take considerable time and effort to find the best influencer for your campaign. When you do not collaborate with the right influencer, it might cause tremendous damage to your reputation. Big Commerce reported that 61 percent of marketers found it difficult to identify the right influencers for their campaigns.
- It May Be More Challenging to Measure Results — While much of your effort will go into finding the right influencer and launching a campaign, you also have to track and monitor the performance of a campaign. When an influencer is not delivering the desired results, you should stop working with them.
- Influencer Marketing Can Require a Lot of Time — An influencer marketing campaign can require serious effort not only in the examination of finding the right influencer suiting your goals but also preparing agreements of collaboration, supporting the substance your influencer arranges, and measuring the results of your campaign.
- Inherent Risks — When you fail to deliver authentic content or choose the right influencer, you could easily burn through your entire marketing budget.
- Influencer Fatigue and Content Overload — You need to understand that many users can be overwhelmed by the amount of content they receive online, and this makes it harder to reach them. Many people are already soaked with additional paid sponsorships from promotions.
- Risking Fake Followers and Engagement — Influencers are frequently paid based on the number of followers or engagement their account garners, and the problem with such statistics is that many applications exist for people to purchase fake followers and comments. This can mean that an influencer might take advantage of these applications to trick companies into thinking they have a more notable online presence than they actually do.
- Influencers Make Mistakes — While influencers are presenting themselves as professionals, they are still human. Mistakes can occur, whether it is posting a wrong photo or wrong caption, and even a simple error can be very costly for your business.
Traditional marketing is not exactly risk-free, but it certainly has its own unique set of advantages. These may include:
- Connecting with a Local Audience — Traditional tactics like marketing collateral, newspaper ads, local TV commercials, or billboards can help put your company in the heart of the community and your customer base. This can also make sure your efforts reach your target audience and feel more organic while being less corporate.
- Engage with Older Audiences — Older targets usually prefer to consume their content via traditional media such as TV and radio. This makes them more difficult to reach through digital channels.
- More Sustainable Promotional Materials — Whereas digital marketing will require an ongoing stream of promotional material to keep people’s attention, more traditional methods of marketing can be more sustainable and leave a longer impression. This can mean that the same TV commercial, flyers, business cards, or brochures have a longer-lasting impact.
- More Memorable — Ask yourself how often you remember a digital ad. A well-done TV ad, on the other hand, has the potential to stay in a person’s head for a considerable time.
- A More Diverse Audience — While digital marketing can allow you to focus on a specific demographic, reaching a wider audience could ultimately prove to be in your best interest. Traditional marketing will help accomplish that.
- Establishing Credibility — Printed materials and ads that appear on larger mediums will often be seen as being more trustworthy. A company that places an ad in a magazine or a commercial on television and radio will often generate immediate trust.
The problems with traditional marketing may include:
- More Expensive — Production costs and ad buys can be much more costly than digital marketing efforts.
- Little Control Over Target Audience — Because you have no analytics or cookies in your traditional channels, you will not be able to reach a target audience quite as precisely as you can in digital marketing.
- Difficult to Measure — While certain services can estimate TV viewership or billboard drive-bys, they are still estimates. Digital media pinpoints metrics such as page landings and click-throughs to purchases to offer much more precise results.
- May Take Longer — Producing a print ad can take a lot of time and even then requires several additional rounds of edits. After an ad is done, it will be done for good and you cannot go back to change anything. Digital ads may be tested and edited in real-time to improve their effectiveness.
- Difficulty Actually Knowing Your Audience — It can be difficult to know exactly who you are reaching with a traditional marketing effort. Whether you have a TV advertisement or a print ad in a newspaper, it is hard to get a gauge on who exactly is seeing your ad.
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