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Under The Influence LEARN THE INS AND OUTS OF TODAY’S BIGGEST MARKETING PHENOMENON : INFLUENCERS. BY ALEDA JOHNSON

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HIS PAST JULY, influencers from all over the country—250 “mommy bloggers” to be exact—gathered at Chelsea Piers in New York for an event showcasing the latest and greatest products from more than 20 children’s brands. The exclusive event, “Babypalooza” at Blogger Bash, gave manufacturers a space to hawk their product to the influencers in attendance, offering unique giveaways and photo ops, all while pushing brand-specific hashtags in hopes of wrangling consumer attention through the bloggers’ massive social followings. Popular e-commerce company Zulily set up a booth for attendees to take back-to-school photos, facilitating hundreds of promotional shares and tags throughout the day. And when Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss (there to promote her new baby line Raising Ace) stopped by for a photo, Zulily exhibitors were quick to document her experience at its booth on Facebook Live. Across the room, children’s apparel company JoJo Maman Bébé offered attendees personalized nameplates, splashing the U.K. brand name across American social media accounts. Not to mention, the official

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event hashtags #Babypalooza and #BBNYC were used generously as the Internet-famous moms excitedly shuffled from booth to booth. Glancing around the well-decorated venue, it was certainly a challenge to spot a blogger without their smartphone positioned in front of a rep giving a product tutorial or a booth’s aesthetically pleasing display. All in all, Babypalooza was one successful influencer event. “This was not only an opportunity for brands and influencers to meet so they can potentially work together down the road, but to use this event for real-time marketing,” says Karyn Ravin, president and founder of Maletzky Media, the organization that planned the day’s festivities from the morning’s kickoff panel discussion to the product show that followed. Marketing experts say the growing prevalence of social media channels has turned traditional sales tactics upside down, causing brands to abandon old outreach methods and scramble to adapt new-age strategies. Welcome to the new gatekeepers to consumer awareness: influencers. Over the last decade, bloggers have re-focused on their holistic digital approach, prioritizing engagement with readers through

Earnshaw's | September 2017  

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