Let’s get the basics out of the way early. Influencer marketing is nothing new. Marilyn Monroe being gifted a dress to wear to a media event where she’ll be photographed? Influencer marketing. Every band you’ve ever seen wearing shoes they were gifted for free or paid to wear? Influencer marketing.
The difference now is who the real influencers are… You may be surprised to hear they’re mostly people you have never heard of, that have built trusted online relationships with thousands (or even millions) of people across social networks. They have more influence over what sells or gets into the cultural zeitgeist than just about any TV advert you can name.
In the digital world, it started with bloggers, which evolved into vloggers and then smartphones and social networks combined with advertising and got clever. Now there are thousands of hugely influential people online, globally, every hour of every day.