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Matriochka Influences : “Influencer marketing is a strategic pillar that brands cannot afford to sideline”

Influencer marketing consultancy Matroichka Influences has been driving the concept of integrated influence — a strategy which leverages influences across all levels of the marketing funnel — since its founding in 2014. Today, it is a recognized leader amongst multinational B2C and B2B brands seeking to structure and define influencer marketing strategies that take a long-term, multi-channel approach. In this interview with Kolsquare, Matroichka Influences Co-founders Elodie Monchicourt and Charlie Trouillebout outline how and why influencer marketing has evolved from a one-shot tactic, into a strategic marketing pillar that brands of all sizes must embrace if they are to grow.  

Charlie Trouillebout
Charlie Trouillebout

What's your assessment of the influencer marketing landscape in France in 2024?

Charlie Trouillebout: In Q1, 2024 we've seen a huge acceleration. We're seeing more of our clients' budgets pivoting towards influence. What was once a tactical lever is now becoming truly strategic for advertisers across the entire marketing funnel. 

The reasons are that influencer voices are more authentic than brands’.  Because they've managed to create a community of hundreds of thousands of subscribers around them, the condition of their existence comes from their authenticity. 

The second reason is cost. The financial investment for an influencer campaign and a television advertisement are not in the same order of magnitude. Influence is more authentic, less expensive and more effective because the tools offered by Meta and TikTok are precise in targeting a certain category of population via media buying on their platforms.

The debate around France’s new law last year drove a wave of skepticism from audiences about influencer authenticity; has this eased since?  

Elodie Monchicourt: It depends on the typology of influencers. Today, nano influencers speak to much more targeted subjects, create a very strong commitment to their community, and have high credibility scores.

There are two trends. Marketing managers have changed their perception of influence to take into account this new reality: influence is no longer a simple tactic, it's becoming strategic. Investments have doubled or even tripled compared to last year. 

But we also still see a trend in public opinion to homogenize the influencer community, an amalgam that blurs the understanding of their distinct roles and specific contributions.

What does this evolution of influence from a simple tactic to a strategic pillar imply for brands? 

Charlie Trouillebout: The major French, European and American brands will no longer be able to keep influencer marketing at arm’s length. Especially for mass-market brands, it will become an essential pillar of their marketing mix. For small brands it's going to become the essential pillar versus other levers that are much more out of reach in terms of budget. This implies a certain internal transformation on the part of the advertiser. A few years ago, we were talking about digital transformation. Now, there's a new pivot to be made towards influence. Our role is to assist our clients in this new transition.

We're seeing more requests from large French and international companies for support in structuring their internal teams, their workflows, their tools, to enable them to catch the wave and reap all the benefits of this new paradigm. We've been doing this for fifteen years, and we can see that this expertise is strategic, especially for major groups.

How are influencer pricing and contract conditions evolving to reflect the changing market. 

Elodie Monchicourt: Costs are in line with the creation. When customers question budgets, our response is that it creates value. It's only natural that everyone involved in creating value should benefit, whether they are the advertisers, influencers or agencies. We do see that prices have stabilized compared to two years ago, because there's a fragmentation of audiences too. 

As an agency, we're not mandated for a campaign, we're mandated for the management of a branding strategy. We have a vision that's not short term, but is at least a one-year vision. So we can make long-term partnerships with influencers, we can turn them into real ambassadors, not just product launch representatives.

Charlie Trouillebout: More often we use tactics in contracts that require creators to mix sponsored content with much more spontaneous and authentic content that the influencer creates according to their desire and spontaneous use of the brand. It’s a hybrid tactic that allows us to respond to different pillars of the marketing funnel.

How do you see the combination of influencer marketing and social or e-commerce developing? Are European consumers ready to directly purchase from their favorite KOLs?

Charlie Trouillebout: When it comes to buying, Instagram is a very effective platform thanks to its functionality of adding a link or promo code to Stories. TikTok and Instagram also offer advertising formats which can feature influencers and can be very effective in terms of e-commerce, by referring audiences to an Amazon page, for example.  

Elodie Monchicourt: We don't have a crystal ball, but we see that everything that comes from the United States or Asia works, so we don’t see why it shouldn't [be the same with social commerce]. We've been trying to set up live shopping for the last five years. Maybe we were too far ahead of our time. There was a first wave three or four years ago, and now it's back with a vengeance. We think it's really going to take hold. There’s now a certain level of education about online purchasing habits, people are definitely more likely to buy online. E-commerce has developed in five years, so coupled with the power of influence I don't see why the two combined wouldn't be successful. 

What’s your view on how AI and other tech developments will impact influencer marketing? 

Charlie Trouillebout: It will enable us to perfect our support in several areas. Take the methodology of a consulting agency like ours: we use data to identify the right insights and emerging conversations and, if relevant, connect our brands to these conversations. There are an increasing number of AI tools that are still in their infancy, which can identify future trends. There are AI tools that enable us to forecast the results we can expect to achieve with an influencer. It’ll also help us to pilot KPIs in real time. AI can help with scripting, editing and video graphics, so it will help content creators professionalize content production. 

Elodie Monchicourt: Influence is a business that's still in the process of structuring itself. There are a lot of influencer agents who can offer influencers and content creators for a sponsorship but there aren't many influence consulting agencies that offer real communication strategies. That's what's at stake, and precisely why we partner with Kolsquare: we need the tool to be able to do our job as consultants. It creates value. Even when experts know the trade inside out, new technical tools like Kolsquare can be leveraged to provide even more refined, effective and more closely monitored advice.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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