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Kelsey Chickering of Forrester: how to gain real benefit from the booming creator economy

With more than 300 million creators worldwide, the creator economy grew exponentially over the last several years and shows no signs of slowing down. Creators — individuals who make and monetize social media content — matter to brands because they wield the power to make ideas, trends, songs, or products go mainstream overnight.

They spark cultural movements and shape purchase decisions. A report by found that 53% of respondents ages 18–29 say that they’ve purchased a product after watching an influencer’s YouTube video.

Everyone Wants A Piece Of The Creator Market

Forrester’s Q1 2023 B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey finds that nearly three-quarters of B2C decision-makers will partner with creators and influencers in 2023. This growth in creator marketing upends traditional advertising paradigms. Brands — such as Gymshark and PrettyLittleThing — have started hiring creators as creative directors. Advertising agencies are scrambling to stand up influencer centers of excellence and acquire influencer agencies as a result.

On the platform side, social media companies court creators — through revenue-sharing programs and subscriptions — to get “preferred platform” status from top creators.

#Ads Are Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

Creator marketing in 2023 is more than just an #ad promoted post on Instagram. Marketers need a multidimensional creator strategy to compete for attention in this creator-led world. Marketers can take advantage of this creator-led world by:

*Embedding the brand in new communities. Creators operate within countless communities — from beauty to engineering. Develop partnerships within many communities relevant to your audience segments.

*Fuelling the brand’s content engine. Increasingly, brands hire creators to make branded content to be used across channels, not just promoted to the creator’s followers. Select creators based on their production chops and aesthetic to scale content development.

*Driving direct, attributable sales. Major retailers work with thousands of creators on large-scale affiliate programs that deliver on lower-funnel sales metrics. Work with an influencer marketing solution to manage and scale these programs.

Collaboration And Trust Are Key Ingredients

Great creator partnerships require collaborative building — of products, ideas, and creative. And marketers must cede some control to creators and avoid over-direction. For many marketers, the reflex to control every detail comes from a fearful place. Temper apprehensions and facilitate trust with creators by choosing partners wisely and investing in longer term relationships.

The State of the Creator Economy by Forrester is here. Kelsey Chickering is principal analyst at Forrester Research.

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