Alecia Dantico, the GM of our Chicago office, is a veteran of the influencer conference circuit, with a decade of experience in the space. But, after years of deep involvement, she became jaded by the same faces and the same conversations at conference after conference. Sure, the technology and toolsets had evolved, but the influencer community seemed stuck on the same, tired topics and generic brand experiences.
She decided to try influencer conferences again this summer, attending both Mom 2.0 and BlogHer on behalf of the Inspira Marketing team. This time, she approached the conferences with a discerning eye, challenging the assumption that influencer conferences remain relevant in today’s hyper-connected, always-on, disappearing “snaps” environment. So, what was her take after attending both conferences? Were they worth it for brand marketers? The answer was a resounding yes. In fact, influencer conferences provide several worthwhile opportunities for integrated and experiential marketers:
1) They help build relationships with target consumers
Influencer conferences give brands an opportunity to build intimate, face-to-face relationships with current and future customers. Sure, some of the influencers at a conference are more interested in swag, but, by and large, most want to meet the real people behind the brand. While it’s great to connect with a brand on Facebook, digital communication platforms still haven’t been able to replace the immediacy of a live conversation and an IRL relationship. Those very same relationships form the basis of advocacy and support when a brand needs to recover from a crisis or test a new product idea.
2) They give consumers a tangible, tactile experience of a brand
Social and digital media channels are great tools for building virtual communities and establishing a groundswell of support for a brand. Still, nothing can replace the experience of holding a new package design in hand or tasting a new flavor of a favorite applesauce brand – a flavor not yet on the market. What does it feel like to drive the new model that the automotive brand touts in its ad campaigns – and to drive it along the Pacific Coast Highway to live the exact lifestyle that the brand envisions for its target consumers?
Influencer conferences allow all of us – marketers and consumers – to build relationships that can last for years. And, the conferences allow us to experience the taste and feel of the brands that eventually become a part of our daily lives. What better way to craft those experiences than in a community of like-minded individuals who have all gathered for a similar purpose – to celebrate and experience IRL the relationships with people and brands that we started to form online.