Revolutionizing the Market to Maximize Returns with Bespoke Influencer Brands
For several years now, businesses of all kinds have been plowing marketing dollars into social media marketing strategies. Of late, a big and growing chunk of their budgets has gone toward financing influencer campaigns, because they’re seen as the best way to reach today’s savvy consumers. At first, a small handful of social media celebrities were the focus of all of the attention. Early YouTube stars and Instagram standouts made up the vast majority of spokespeople.
Then, the next wave of strategies focused on micro-influencers, because they offered marketers the ability to more precisely target specific demographic interest groups. Today, some are now pushing the envelope even further and moving toward building strategies focused on nano-influencers as they look for ways to stand out in an increasingly crowded market. The result of all of it is an influencer market that’s grown by a factor of ten in just a few short years.
According to Marco Calamassi, though, today’s influencers aren’t reaping the rewards that their hard work should be granting them. With a decade of experience in the digital marketing space, and an online entrepreneurial history dating back even further, he’s in a unique position to know. Here’s his take on where today’s crowded influencer market should (and must) go, and why it’s a vision that today’s influencers should sit up and take note of.
Who is Marco Calamassi?
To understand the genesis of the vision that Marco Calamassi has for the future of the influencer market, you must first understand what led him to it. Marco is a serial digital entrepreneur who’s been selling things online since the age of ten when he began an eBay business in his native Italy – which isn’t known as a very digital-forward economy. He fought hard to promote his product line by getting items into the hands of trusted members of the local community. Despite the challenge, the experience taught him something critical about making sales online. It’s that people will trust you if people they already trust do, too.
That idea goes to the very heart of what we now call the influencer economy. It’s the idea that trusted voices online are the ones best equipped to evangelize a product or brand in today’s digital selling environment. That revelation caused him to move to the US and start a multitude of successful online sales and marketing firms, culminating in his latest venture, BrandsBuilder. Its mission is to partner with today’s influencers, not to connect them with big brands in a race-to-the-bottom fight for sponsors, but to help them to build a brand of their very own.
And that, Marco argues, is the future of the influencer market.
From Representatives to Stakeholders
The idea, quite simply, is that today’s influencers are getting a raw deal. They’ve invested the time and energy to establish themselves as online authorities on the topics they truly love and care about. They’ve built vast subscriber bases and worked their hardest to bring their audiences content that’s not just entertaining, but valuable, too. In the beginning, it was a great opportunity to monetize all that hard work by partnering with brands to bring great products to their followers.
Now, however, with markets saturated, influencers often find themselves fighting each other for sponsorships. According to Marco, that’s hurting everyone involved because it gives big brands all the leverage. And those brands are using that leverage like a weapon. It’s also what led to his latest business venture. By building their own brands, influencers can create businesses that they control – instead of selling themselves on the cheap to secure sponsors.
From Influencers to Businesspeople
With that new approach, today’s influencers now have the option of building a business of their own rather than catering to the whims of others. They can create product lines they believe in, and exercise control over those products from top to bottom. That makes it easier to stand behind those products and promote them to their audiences of loyal followers.
The thing that’s stopped this from happening sooner is the nature of the influencer market itself. It’s made up of passionate people, to be sure, but passion doesn’t always translate into business acumen. Many don’t know how to handle logistics and customer service, nor do they wish to learn. They just want to go on doing what they love doing, which is why they became influential in the first place.
A Whole New Model
According to Marco, that model is the future of the influencer market. It offers a sustainable roadmap for long-term success that neither undercuts the competition nor requires a capitulation to big sponsors. And he’s not just predicting that it’ll happen. He’s put his money where his mouth is and built a company that gives influencers all the tools they need to succeed – sort of an influencer business-as-a-service that provides an on-demand selling infrastructure.
What makes it unique is that influencers can start their own brand with nothing more than a profit-sharing agreement with BrandsBuilder. Unlike traditional marketing firms, that charge fees the moment they lift a finger, influencers can make the leap without fear of losing a fortune. If their brand succeeds, so does BrandsBuilder. Everybody wins – or nobody does.
The Future of Online Influence
The key takeaway here is that the future of the influencer market isn’t going to bear much resemblance to the one that exists today. Not if Marco Calamassi has his way. If his vision for the market takes off, it’s going to empower influencers like never before and let them build their own businesses – their own legacies – that will last as long as they choose to keep working at them. For today’s influencers, that’s a seductive vision. And all they have to do is choose to take ownership of their own journey. And if they do, they might end up owing the move to one influential Italian webpreneur.