Print, Radio, TV, billboards, direct response, coupons, pay-per-click advertising, email, paid social, events sponsorships, website, blogging, loyalty, local advertising  … there are more channels than ever where brands and agencies can spend money and time to advertise and promote products, services, launches, openings and other campaigns. Most of them are very expensive, especially in aggregate, and take a lot of time to curate and manage. With each of those, it's not just the advertising space and effort that demands high budget, it’s also the creative.

Channels like email and loyalty are great ways for a brand to leverage because they re-engage consumers who have already had a brand experience, raised their hand and have given permission to be marketed to again. But, what about attracting new consumers at the top of the funnel? What is the best channel for brands and agencies to reach their target consumers who have never purchased from the brand, or have fallen into the dreaded “lapsed’ bucket where you were unable to drive additional purchases?

According to a local consumer review study by BrightLocal, “86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses.” When it comes to consumers aged 18-34, that number jumps to 95%. This is an age group known for spending more money on dining than retirement. That means people search online to see what other consumers are saying about a business before spending their money. Recommendations drive adoption and influence purchases from consumers.

When you consider that social media influences 3 out of 4 shoppers to make a buying decision and 80% of consumers are likely to purchase an item based on friend’s suggestions, it points a marketer in the direction of a powerful way to drive purchases: the combination of social media and recommendations.

That’s why influencer marketing has become a go-to choice for many brands and agencies: it combines top of the funnel awareness, social media, recommendations and content creation all in one package. In one coordinated effort you can attract the right customer, generate recommendations from powerful outspoken market leaders who have an audience of followers who trust them advocate for products, services and experiences with the added bonus of creating content to leverage in other marketing efforts.

As marketing and advertising, in particular digital marketing, becomes more and more fragmented, has less and less opportunity for organic reach and requires increasing budget, influencer marketing becomes a stronger and stronger option. Nothing has the power to drive adoption and sales like recommendations. Sure, you could put together a massive and buy large amounts of impressions and awareness but will you get that budget for every single campaign?

Influencer marketing works for both large initiatives like a rebrand, national promotions and key brand initiatives. It can also help drive localized promotions, create virality and move consumers down the funnel quickly past consideration and into a purchase. Influencer marketing can also be used mid to late campaign for additional boosts of awareness without the inflated budget required for creative. Brands doing it right are including in their agreements with influencers the right to repurpose their content in organic social marketing, paid media or in B to B efforts like case studies and franchise sales. It’s quicker, easier and cheaper than brand level creative.

As a marketer, especially for a multi-location restaurant, national brand or a product manufacturer, collaborating with influencers can help you raise more awareness to your targeted audience through strong recommendations and with content that can be repurposed for additional marketing. It’s a multi-tiered solution that can quickly and easily augment your marketing goals.

Now that you are ready to get started find your target consumer with influencer, learn which goals you can achieve with Influencer Marketing!

Rev Ciancio is a Senior Marketing, Branding and Digital Strategist with 20 years of experience, specializing in hospitality marketing, content and local SEO. He has led many clients to new levels of local, national and international success in the hospitality, financial service and entertainment sectors.

He is also former agency owner as well as a former New York City bar owner. Rev is an “expert burger taster” and pens hospitality and marketing tips on his Instagram @revciancio as well as his LinkedIn Profile.