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Leading CMOs to Erin Andrews: Influencer Marketing Is Here to Stay

Kristin Lemkau is done with commercials interrupting people’s entertainment.

The JPMorgan Chase CMO recalled the days of “television by appointment,” where whole families sat around the TV set at the same time to watch one of the three only offerings. “It was OK to interrupt the show because somebody had to actually walk across the room and change the channel,” she told Erin Andrews.

Today, obviously, things are very different. “You’ve got infinite choice across multiple screens,” said Lemkau. “But most advertising still interrupts someone’s experiences. So that’s why you have people blocking ads, skipping over ads and things that are tricking people into watching your content.”

Ad blockers, commercial-free streaming services and shortened attention spans have progressively prevented marketers and advertisers from reaching the audiences they were used to in the golden days of fancy Times Square billboards and swanky Super Bowl commercials.

So how do top marketers such as Lemkau, The Clorox Company’s Eric Reynolds, HP’s Antonio Lucio and USPS’ Jim Cochrane face this new challenge? Enter branded content.

“What are the ways that Chase can actually be part of the show?” said Lemkau. “Not in a product placement, ‘I’m gonna hold my credit card’ [kind of way], but where, if people are interested in making the most of their money, we would like to be there, and the consumer will accept it. They don’t care if it’s branded so long as it’s good.”

“We see [influencer marketing] as a major lever now to tell our brand stories,” said Reynolds. “It’s not sort of the appendix that you add on to a great plan. We’ve got great stories to tell and you can tell that in film or TV but, more than not, if we can find the right influencer […] it’s pure gold.”

The Clorox CMO went on to highlight the importance of a good match between talent and the brand. “It’s gotta be big and meaningful […] to them because it always shows up if it’s not,” he told WHOSAY, adding that when they worked with NBA pro Steph Curry it was “amazing.”

Another sign that influencer marketing is here to stay? Huge ROI. Antonio Lucio, CMO for HP also talked to WHOSAY about it. “Globally, we’ve used influencers and leveraged the power of that direct to consumer communication,” he told Rob Gregory. “And we’ve been incredibly successful in doing both things: bringing the emotional connection and also, very importantly, bringing the relevance to the younger crowd. Influencer marketing in addition to being strong in emotion and relevant from a connection standpoint [is] also great value for money. So the ROI was huge.”

And what better time to test the power of influence than during the holiday season? Jim Cochrane, Chief Customer and Marketing Sales Officer and Executive Vice President (CCMO) at the United States Postal Service (USPS), knows a thing or two about this.

“We are using [influencers], I’d say the creative side, especially during this time of the year,” he told Gregory, adding that what he calls “the makers and creators” are very effective. “They invite you into their house, into their studio, into their workshop whatever to share what they’re doing what they’re thinking about and it builds a nice community,” he added.