Is it time to say goodbye to “influencers”?

Influencer marketing is solidifying itself as one of the leading advertising channels in 2023, yet why are many starting to say goodbye to the classic ‘influencer’?

The fast-paced channel of Influencer marketing has no plans on slowing down anytime soon. By 2025, researchers estimate that the channel will reach another all-time high with investments totalling $24 billion. And, according to HubSpot’s 2023 Marketing Strategy & Trends Report, 89% of marketers using influencer marketing will increase or maintain their investment next year.

However, the way we look at influencer marketing is evolving, led by a change in how consumers want to experience the channel. And it seems influencers are starting to be replaced by the new social stars; creators.

So, what is the difference between influencers and creators?

Creators are talented individuals who have built a genuine, usually niche-based, audience based on authentic connection. Influencers are a half assed celebrity endorsement mostly used by brands who can’t define their audience, so just choose not to.

What we’re seeing now is influencer marketing evolving into a cut throat channel where disingenuous comms are glaringly destructive and not quickly forgotten. Now at a global scale is influencer marketing tying in with content that is ‘globally conscious’ to please audiences found across social media.

With a climate change, a cost of living crisis and political debate becoming more common conversation across social channels, creators are starting to be more savvy in how they share branded content.

The pandemic spurred influencer marketing to where it is today. As production halted across major campaigns, brands had to get savvy. In that period many discovered that creators were more reliable at helping brands make relevant content for the right audience, more so than influencers who often would post anything for the right price.

Influencer marketing remains one of the most powerful marketing tools in 2023, but influencers are going to be left back in 2022. Influencers erode trust by partnering with brands purely for profit over purpose, and as authenticity becomes more important these vanity metric individuals have a limited place in the conversation.

Agencies looking to succeed across influencer marketing need to now look at how they can be part of these globally conscious conversations without seeming incentive, or pushing consumerism. Especially in a time when many will have reduced spending power.

Brands, agencies and marketers in 2023 are now starting to look at how they can work with creators to reframe content for a more economically conscious audience. This is now presenting an opportunity for many brands to showcase their purpose driven initiatives and connect with consumers at a more value-based level.

As the marketing landscape continues to evolve in 2023 it is clear there is no space for disingenuity or irrelevancy across our advertising. By leaning on creators to set the tone, brands can better deliver long-term brand impact that drives sales and brand loyalty.

But probably more importantly, by leaning on creators to give their input into your campaigns mitigates the risks of potentially pissing off a lot of people.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2023 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

Courtney Devereux

About Courtney Devereux

Courtney Devereux is former Editor of and Senior Account Manager for a global design agency in London.

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