The Future of Influencer Marketing According to Expert Scott Guthrie

Kelsey Formost

27 Oct 2020 · 2 min read

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I sat down with influencer marketing expert Scott Guthrie to discuss his favorite guests, moments, and insights from his just-wrapped Season 1 of the Influencer Marketing Lab; a Podcast that explores the growth spurts and the growing pains of the influencer marketing industry.

Scott has extensive experience as a thought leader in the space; he’s an influencer marketing professional advisor, conference speaker, guest university lecturer, top 10 PR blogger, podcast host and media commentator. He’s co-chair of the CIPR influencer marketing panel, a PRCA council member, and an editorial board member of both ‘Talking Influence’ and ‘Influence’ publications. Scott has also written chapters for five business books on the subject of progressive public relations and influencer marketing.

His extensive expertise and proven thought leadership is why we decided to sponsor his original podcast, The Influencer Marketing Lab.

Season 1 of the podcast took a deep dive into the different professional arenas and debates going on inside the highest tier of the industry. The tagline of the show is “the growth spurts and growing pains of Influencer Marketing” and it’s quite an apt description of the types of conversations Scott has with his expert panel of guests.

From re-branding micro-influencers as “alpha consumers” with Golin EVP Jim Lin, to Dudley Nevill Spencer’s views on virtual influencers becoming mainstream, to Digital Voices CEO Jenny Quigley Jones sharing the commercial benefits of transparency, to Mark Dandy’s view on the ROI of ‘Love Island’ reality TV contestants, to Oliver Lewis’ prediction that Influencer Marketing will soon de-throne TV advertising in terms of spend… there’s no shortage of intriguing insights and not all of them are in agreement. And that’s the way Scott likes it; he argues “we need rigor of thought to nudge the industry forward”.

Influencer Marketing is one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet, boasting a compound growth rate of between 40-50%. Scott says, “It’s worth upwards of 10B this year, but more importantly, it’s worth 20x’s what it was 5 years ago. It’s growing at a colossal speed. And with those growth spurts it’s inevitable there will be some growing pains.”

But Scott insists that those growing pains, like bad actors who have bought followers and engagement, have actually pushed the industry as a whole forward. “Thankfully, we’re moving away from counting vanity metrics. Bad actors have nudged the industry in a positive direction because we’re more into the impact and the intent metrics, what happens after someone has viewed an influencer’s content? What happens after they engage, what do they do next? That’s the powerful bit of where measurement and evaluation is going.”

And that’s where the industry is headed according to Scott and all his guests; stripping away the positive or negative connotations of the term ‘influencer’ and getting back to a neutral view of influencer marketing as a means of influencing a change in people’s behavior or opinions.

It’s important to remember, Scott says, that an influencer isn’t necessarily an advocate; an advocate is a supporter but an influencer is someone who can affect a change.

It goes well beyond selling products, which we know influencers can do extremely well. We’ve seen an increasing variety of use cases for Influencer Marketing, especially because of the bright digital spotlight brought on by the global pandemic.

Entities like the United Nations and the World Health Organization worked with influencers to share important public health information. The Finnish government even re-classified influencers as ‘key workers’ because of their ability to carry a powerful message to a large and growing section of society who are no longer listening to the radio, no longer reading a newspaper, and no longer watching free-to-air linear TV.

It’s clear that the definition of “influencer marketing” is evolving; everyone is tapping into influencers to motivate audiences to take a desired action.

Watch my full interview with Scott Guthrie below. You can listen to Season 1 of the Influencer Marketing Lab in its entirety here. Season 2 will begin airing in November 2020.

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