Creators have changed the linear consumer journey, disrupting how consumers interact with content and gather information. The result? The buyer’s journey looks drastically different today: Purchasing sits in the middle, surrounded by awareness, consideration, retention, and advocacy.
It sets the stage to achieve your wildest marketing dreams of taking consumers through a full funnel journey. Imagine the possibilities if people are not only aware of your brand but also continue learning about it to become fierce advocates who share your brand and drive repeat purchases.
Creators have the ability to spearhead this journey. LTK conducts research year-round to inform your brand’s approach. Our latest webinar explored the value of Creators along the new buyer’s journey, with key findings from LTK’s December 2023 National Shopper Study and LTK & Northwestern University's Retail Analytics Council 2023 Brand Survey. Still dragging your feet on Creator marketing? See why it may be time to break into a sprint.
Determining Your Brand’s Creator Marketing Strategy
Finding success with Creator marketing is an intentional process. It begins with a budget that factors in everything from outsourcing to hiring Creators to promoting content—but you also need to know what will resonate to get the most value from your efforts. That means keeping your finger on the pulse of trends via newsletters, podcasts, and your own trusted Creators to spark inspiration.
Once you start to close in on a strategy, get the right voices to deliver your messages. Trust a wide range of Creators, from diverse Creators who provide representation and authenticity to bring audiences closer to your brand all the way to micro Creators who produce quality content for smaller, easily influenced niche audiences of loyal followers.
As you get going, the key is to keep your eye on the prize, aligning Creator efforts with your overall goals and the appropriate step in the buyer’s journey.
Consumers who are looking for a solution to a specific problem aren’t looking for a sales pitch. Offer a gentle nudge to create brand awareness for individuals who may make their way back to you when they’re ready to purchase.
Storytelling through content is more important than ever.
A brand story is more natural and engaging than an ad, and Creators are perfectly suited for the job. Creators have become the most trusted sources for consumers across generations, as shown in the whopping 21 percent rise in Creator trust year over year. Their impact is so significant that 36 percent of brands spend at least half their digital marketing budget on Creators.
It’s time for your brand to tap Creators’ potential to tell captivating stories that pull your audience along for the ride. Consider the potential of awareness collaborations to scale your reach with LTK Boost, LTK Ads, and connected TV campaigns.
With potential solutions simmering in their minds, consumers need to investigate further. At the consideration stage, they want trusted opinions, turning to Creators over friends and family to help. If you’ve ever read product reviews, you know how much they shape opinions, so using Creator-generated reviews may work to validate product benefits.
Creators streamline the path from awareness to consideration.
It’s striking how much Creators are trusted over friends and family for purchase decisions. Consumers aren’t simply using the same products as mom or asking a friend’s opinion—they’re turning to Creators for objective guidance.
As many as 69 percent of Gen Zers and 71 percent of millennials try a product after seeing Creator posts. This ability to pull consumers through the buyer’s journey is so significant that over half of fashion brands and 45 percent of beauty brands say Creators improved their brand perception.
Video is growing in popularity.
The year is young, but we’re already seeing the value of video, as 74 percent of the general population watches Creator videos. The real trailblazers? LTK shoppers, 94 percent of whom watch Creator videos—a 49 percent increase over shoppers who go elsewhere.
Video is that much more valuable because live streaming adds another layer of opportunity. Whether it’s a live product demo or product release, LTK shoppers lean heavily into live streaming, with 89 percent tuning in to Creator content. Brands have real-time opportunities to engage with consumers, especially via YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram—and over half of the general population now sees the same value.
As prospects choose a solution, they take steps to convert to being customers. Providing transparent information helps them reach the finish line—whether it’s about costs, purchase details, product use, or all three. That honesty goes a long way because if their previous perceptions aren't accurate, they’ll likely abandon the purchase. Creators can help by promoting the specifics of the purchase through campaigns.
Changes in shopping behaviors amplify Creator influence.
When was the last time you made a significant purchase at a brick-and-mortar store (aside from groceries)? If it’s been a hot second, you’re among over 50 percent of shoppers who favor online shopping—and probably do so on your phone, too.
By spending so much time online, shoppers naturally give brands touchpoints to reach them via Creator marketing. We found that 22 percent of the population begins the majority of their shopping on social media, while twice as many LTK shoppers start there. Although it’s no surprise that 66 percent of Gen Zers and millennials make most purchases based on social media and Creator recommendations, it’s encouraging to find that 60 percent of their Gen X counterparts are following suit. Make social media part of your strategy to drive purchases.
Frustrated trying to drum up new business? Repeat customers provide untold value because they spend more and cost less than acquiring new customers—and Creators can keep that momentum up. By promoting everything from your customer service to loyalty programs, Creators ensure better experiences and help you build customer relationships.
Consumers want to see Creator content in other places.
Creators have multimedia and social channels cornered, but they still aren’t as prominent in traditional media, whether it’s in-store or on TV. Given consumers’ lack of trust in the typical ad landscape and their ever-increasing trust in Creators, it makes sense for Creators to make moves into more traditional marketing spaces. LTK shoppers are perhaps most eager, as nearly half are clamoring for Creator content on TV, while the general population isn’t far behind with 34 percent wanting the same.
Your best advocates might be your own team, but Creators come in at a close second. Kick-start brand advocacy by partnering with Creators who are aligned with your brand so they can become champions for it. They inspire their followers by sharing what your brand does well, and they amplify your brand by asking their followers to share positive experiences, too.
Consumers can become advocates or enemies.
New customers often express opinions that are polar opposites, with very little room for shades of gray. You're more likely to hear from them if their brand experience is exceptionally good or bad. Of course, it’s way more valuable to aim for the brighter side of that spectrum, because doing so will elevate brand loyalty and customer experience. Even if they hit a snag during their journey with you, if you can share how your brand righted the ship, it sends a powerful message that speaks to your devotion to customer experience.
Maximize Your Creator Marketing Efforts with LTK
Creator marketing is more powerful than ever, and brands like yours have new avenues to explore with effective partners by your side. Keep up with Creator marketing trends as we push forward into 2024, from the power of video and storytelling to online shopping. Watch the full on-demand webinar now, and get in touch to begin your Creator journey with LTK.