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The phenomenon and rise of Influencer Marketing and how it affects customer opinion and helps or damages brands

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Master Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Master Thesis: The rise of social networks has had a significant impact on the way businesses (business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C)) interact with audiences. With the continuous changes in marketing scenarios, there are many new paid advertising technologies that use online communication to influence the brand's target audience, attract them, and ultimately urge consumers to purchase products. As mentioned earlier, multiple studies have shown that customers trust third parties (WOM) more than the brand itself. Word of mouth is easily confused with influencer marketing: when customers spread information through word of mouth, influencer marketing is the process, and word of mouth is usually the medium (Markethub, 2016). Since the term "influencer marketing" has recently appeared in the literature, there is a lack of academic definition of the term "influencer marketing". Social media influencer marketing is a term that refers to using the abilities of key people to support a brand and spread it to their followers. It has been established as an efficient way for brands to build and attract audiences on social media. This marketing technique requires cooperation between the brand and the influencer. Influencer marketing is not a new concept, because for many years, celebrities, athletes and other leaders have been the only influencers in their field, and brands will cooperate to promote their products or services. In the past, the strategic marketing technique for traditional Internet celebrity activities was to recruit celebrity spokespersons. Today, the challenge is to use influencers who can motivate followers to acquire user-generated images, including brand products or services. Real-life influencers, ordinary people who are passionate about the products they recommend have a noteworthy follower and a lot of buying conversations and conversions. A McKinsey study proved that consumers are more likely to trust and follow this product endorsement. The way of social media communication has recently changed the scene, giving everyone the opportunity to share their voices, opinions and content, which makes influencer marketing unique. This is actually the reason why many marketing blogs and reports call it "Influencer 2.0" or "Word-of-Mouth 2.0" to emphasize that it is Future influence marketing and its connection with Web 2.0 ("Influence 2.0", report by Altimeter and Traackr). In order to clarify what influencer marketing is, it is necessary to outline the term influencer itself. As mentioned above, these terms are relatively new, so many definitions and opinions currently exist. Peck defines influencers as ​"a series of third parties that exert influence on the organization and its potential customers" (Peck et al., 2004). Brown and Hayes (2008) published "Influencer Marketing: Who Really Influences Your Customers?" "In the book, they define influencers as "third parties who have a significant influence on the customer's purchase decision but may never be responsible for them". Keller and Berry (2003) pointed out that influencers are activists, have a wide range of contacts, are influential, have active ideas, and are trendsetters, although this group of attributes is specifically aimed at the consumer market. These definitions refer to influencers as friends and friends, who recommend each other or through online comments in forums. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) recently gave a more general definition, referring to influencers as “people whose influence is more than average in the relevant market through word of mouth” (WOMMA, 2017). This article will use the definition suggested by Freberg et al. (2011) because it is more specific-referring to social media marketing-and more recently; "Social media influencers (SMI) are a new type of independent third-party spokesperson who use blogs, tweets, and other social media Shaping the attitude of the audience". In general, the marketing agency itself has defined the full content of this marketing technique and how it reflects daily usage. Tapinfluence is one of the leading influencer marketing companies, describing it as “a type of marketing focused on leveraging key leaders to promote brand information to a larger market” (Tapinfluence, 2017). Similarly, Markethub describes it as “distributing information to a wider audience through niche market leaders and authoritative recruitment” (Markethub, 2017). 2. 3.2 Types of influencers The current literature is characterized by the apparent frustration caused by various attempts to clarify the role and effectiveness of this new phenomenon (social media influencers) on customer purchasing decisions. Some people think that SMI is a "digital opinion leader). The author supports him (see Kapitan and Silvera, 2016; Khamis, Ang, and Welling, 2016; Pedroni, 2016) as a “miniature celebrity who desires popularity and attention and is influential through his admiration and high social status ". In addition, other studies refer to social media influencers as social leaders; “people who lead online communities through their massive social capital and set standards for the values ​​and behaviors of their members” (Forsyth, 2015; Langner, Hennigs, and Wiedmann, year 2013). Since there is no definite definition of influencer and SMI type, each article and report breaks down it in its own way. For the purpose of this research, the main types of influencers are clearly defined below. Super influencer or celebrity As mentioned above, influencer marketing is not a new concept at all. Over the years, celebrities have been influencing a large number of consumers. Super influencers include celebrities, actors, artists, and athletes, including the initial influencers before the emergence of social networks. Celebrities used to be either brand images or propagandists in the media. According to Mavrck (2016), a well-known influencer marketing agency, even if super influencers have huge influence (up to 1 million fans), their participation is extremely low (2%-5%). They provide higher topic relevance but lower brand relevance. They also have the lowest ability to push the audience to take the desired action on behalf of the brand, even though they are the most conducive to impression and visibility. Macro influencer or opinion leader Opinion leaders or market experts (Feick and Price, 1987; Kozinets et al., 2010) have always been a term often used to explain influencer marketing, but they are actually different from other influencers in that ordinary consumers and Another consumer behavior in which consumers continue to communicate. Lots of strangers (McQuarrie, Miller, and Phillips, 2012). From a more psychological perspective, opinion leaders are individuals in strategic positions in social networks at all levels of society, and they usually have influence on one or more topics (Buttle, 1998). The reliability they exude comes from the combination of knowledge and expertise in the product or service category in which they are highly involved (Feick and Price, 1987). They are also described as innovators. According to Mavrck (2016), they may be executives, bloggers or journalists with strong empathy, engagement and delivery capabilities Read Less