Influencer Marketing and Women 35+: Celebrities are Not Authentic Influencers

By March 10, 2017

Women 35+ represent an invaluable target for influencer marketing – and one that deserves a tailored approach.  At Vibrant Nation, we’ve spent nearly a decade reaching women 35+, listening to them talk to each other, and developing a deeper understanding of who the 35+ woman is. In the first week of January 2017, we asked 1,000 women aged 35-65 to help us understand exactly how bloggers influence them, and how they influence each other.  The result is our White Paper, “Beyond Millennials: What You Don’t Know About Influencer Marketing and Women 35+” Click here for access.

This is the third finding we share in the White Paper: celebrities are not authentic Influencers for women 35+.

As women age, they rely increasingly on their own experience and the experiences of their peers.  As a result, celebrities become increasingly less important influencers as women age.  For these vibrant women, authenticity comes from learning about what really works; not from thinking something is cool because a famous person got paid to say so.

Yet celebrity endorsements continue to command one of the largest pieces of many marketing budgets.  Marketers and PR firms should rethink that investment, especially when it comes to women 35+.

When we surveyed 1,000 women 35+ they ranked celebrities as the lowest among 9 sources of content likely to influence them, lower than bloggers, expert recommendations, online reviews, magazine stories, on-air product features, and even banner advertising.   For women aged 35-50, only 36% said that celebrity endorsements were important in influencing their final decision to buy a product or service, and 17% said that celebrity endorsements were irrelevant to them.

For women 50-65, the response was even stronger.  Only 25% said that celebrity endorsements were important in influencing their purchase decisions (by far the lowest of 9 sources); 30% said celebrity endorsements were unimportant to them, and another 23% said that they had no value at all.

So, what does this all mean for marketers planning campaigns?  Celebrity endorsements are easy to invest in and deliver proven outcomes. They attract editorial interest, which can deliver lots of impressions, but they don’t deliver authentic influence.  They might even turn these vibrant women away.

If you want to deliver lots of impressions and want to engage women 35+ with content that will influence their behavior, your most authentic mouthpiece will be a non-celebrity blogger.  While you may not achieve the high level of impressions a featured celebrity can deliver in one fell swoop, a midlife influencer’s highly targeted posts are more likely to achieve your real goal: getting women to buy your product.  Their blogs and social media posts will also include the kind of branded messaging and specific consumer calls-to-action that a celebrity and her editorial partners will never deliver.  And unlike celebrities, who come and go, influencer messaging is evergreen; it lives online, delivering search results and content that can be shared for a long time to come.

If you’re reading this blog you are probably already among the 85% of marketing and communication professionals who now use influencer marketing – and you may even be a brand or agency with clients that want to engage women 35+.  If so, we hope you’ll download the full White Paper (click here to download) to see what we’ve learned not just from this recent survey but from almost a decade of watching women 35+ influence each other. And then we hope you’ll let us put that expertise – and our broad network of influential bloggers – to work for you.

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