The Potential of Influencer Marketing for Tour Operators to Increase Brand Value

Bachelor Thesis, 2019

77 Pages, Grade: 1,3


I. Table of content

I. Table of content

II. List of figures

III. List of images

IV. List of abbreviations

V. List of appendices

1. Introduction

2. Methodology

3. Definitions and Principles
3.1. Tour operators
3.2. Brand Value
3.3. Marketing
3.4. Online Marketing
3.5. Influencer Marketing
3.6. Generation Y
3.7. Generation Z

4. Fundamentals of Influencer Marketing
4.1. The role of Millennials and Generation Z
4.2. Consumer behavior
4.2.1. Black Box Model - Stimulus Response Model
4.2.2. Motivation theory
4.3. Development and Trends of Influencer Marketing
4.4. Classification of Influencer Marketing in the Marketing Mix
4.5. The role of Influencer Marketing for Companies
4.6. Communication channels - social networks
4.6.1. Instagram
4.6.2. Facebook
4.6.3. YouTube
4.6.4. Twitter
4.6.5. Snapchat
4.6.6. Blogs
4.7. Success Measurement of Influencer Marketing
4.8. Sustainability and Professionalization of Influencer Marketing

5. Influencer Marketing for tour operators
5.1. Impact of Influencer Marketing on the Travel Decision Process
5.2. Brand image and Brand awareness in tourism
5.3. Practical examples

6. Opportunities and risks of using Influencer Marketing with Tour Operators
6.1. Opportunities and advantages of working with an Influencer
6.1.1. Reach
6.1.2. Reachability of target groups
6.1.3. Long-term cooperations
6.1.4. Wide range of possible applications
6.1.5. Trust in third parties, content longevity and double benefit
6.1.6. Reorientation for the creative department
6.1.7. Credibility and Influence in Buying decision
6.1.8. Micro Influencers
6.1.9. Expertise of Influencers
6.1.10. Take action against advertising fatigue
6.2. Risks and Disadvantages of working with an Influencer
6.2.1. Selection of a suitable influencer
6.2.2. Labelling obligation
6.2.3. Offline advertisement market still dominates
6.2.4. Conflict potential within the relationship conditions
6.2.5. Loss of control
6.2.6. Compensated Cooperations
6.2.7. Cost factor

7. Empirical Study/Research Results
7.1. Qualitative Results
7.1.1. Reliability of Influencers
7.1.2. Factors for successful campaigns
7.1.3. Long-term cooperation vs. one-time projects
7.1.4. Target groups of Influencer Marketing
7.1.5. The future of Influencer Marketing
7.2. Evaluation of online survey

8. Discussion

9. Conclusion

VI. References

VI. Appendix


Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to reach potential customers, which is due to a society flooded with stimuli and advertisements. The Marketing activities of companies are in a state of change, due to the many possibilities offered by the Internet. Tour operators also struggle with this, as they can hardly reach certain target groups via traditional media anymore. From consumer's point of view, the generation change has opened up a new target group, most of which are online. Another problem is that consum­ers are less and less trusting in traditional media and are instead following recommenda- tions from friends and acquaintances. Companies must react to this trend and are forced to find alternative communication methods and integrate them into their existing Marketing system. One of these tools is Influencer Marketing, which many companies are now using and integrating as an important part of their Marketing mix. This paper examines the com- ponents of Influencer Marketing with its target groups, potentials and risks.

Keywords: Influencer Marketing; Millennials; Generation Z; Tour operators


In der heutigen Zeit gestaltet es sich für Unternehmen immer schwerer, potenzielle Kunden zu erreichen, was in der reiz- und werbeüberfluteten Gesellschaft begründet liegt. Die Mar­ketingaktivitäten von Unternehmen befinden sich im Wandel, aufgrund der vielfältigen Möglichkeiten, welche das Internet bietet. Auch Reiseveranstalter haben damit zu kämp­fen, da eben jene Zielgruppen kaum über klassische Medien zu erreichen sind. In Anbe­tracht der Konsumentensicht hat sich durch den Generationenwechsel eine neue Ziel­gruppe aufgetan, welche überwiegend online ist. Ein weiteres Problem ist, dass Konsu­menten klassischen Medien immer weniger vertrauen und stattdessen Empfehlungen von Freunden und Bekannten folgen. Unternehmen müssen auf diesen Trend reagieren und werden dadurch gezwungen, alternative Kommunikationsmethoden zu finden und diese zu integrieren. Eines dieser Instrumente ist Influencer Marketing, worauf nun viele Unterneh­men reagieren und als festen Bestandteil in ihren Marketing-Mix integrieren. Diese Arbeit durchleuchtet die Bestandteile des Influencer Marketings mit seinen Zielgruppen, Potenti­alen und Risiken.

Stichwörter: Influencer Marketing; Millennials; Generation Z; Reiseveranstalter

II. List of figures

Figure 1: Overview Online Marketing

Figure 2: The stimulus response model

Figure 3: The Pyramid of Needs from Abraham Maslow, 1943

Figure 4: Number of users of social networks worldwide

Figure 5: Idols of Generation Z

Figure 6: Marketing Mix

Figure 7: Use of Social Media Channels

Figure 8: Phases of the (travel) purchase decision process

Figure 9: Influence of Influencer Marketing on the purchase decision process

Figure 10: Analytics of Novalanalove from Socialblade

Figure 11: Number of users of advertising blockers in Germany

Figure 12: Online and offline volume of the advertising market in Germany

Figure 13: Results of the Online Survey: How do you become aware of advertisement?

Figure 14: Results of the Online Survey: Which one of the following Social Media Channels do you use?

Figure 15: Results of the Online Survey: Have you ever purchased a product or used a service recommended by an influencer?

III. List of images

Image 1: Screenshot of the Neckermann Campaign by Bianca Heinecke

Image 2: Screenshots of advertising posts by influencer Farina Opoku

IV. List of abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

V. List of appendices

Appendix 1: Interviews

Appendix 1.1 - Interview I

Appendix 1.2 - Interview II

Appendix 1.3 Interview III

Appendix 2: Online Survey

1. Introduction

Digitalization has fundamentally changed the ways in which communication reaches con­sumers. Considering that 25 years ago consumers were almost exclusively reached pas- sively by television, radio or newspapers, companies hardly had the opportunity to reach a large audience or the right target group (Seeger, Kost, 2019, p. 13). Classic Marketing, in which the buyer is asked to buy a product through advertising messages, no longer functions as it used to. The flood of information has considerable coverage losses for the enterprise communication to the consequence that more than 99% of the advertising mes­sages from customers are no longer perceived at all. This also applies to online advertise­ments (Kreutzer & Land, 2017).

The digital change creates new opportunities as well as uncertainties for companies (Schmitt, 2019). Marketing must inevitably adapt to this change in media usage behavior (Kreutzer & Land, 2017). This can lead to changes in every area of a company. Especially in communication there were strong changes at a very early stage, "this means completely new possibilities and ways for companies to reach their target groups” (cf. Schmitt, 2019, p. V). Communication began years ago to adapt to the advantages of this change with its own advertising appearances. Through further developments, many companies are now using Social Media to reach their target groups digitally (Schmitt, 2019). The Internet and in particular its "best-known application, the World Wide Web (WWW) has developed into one of the "most influential and widely used media in the world” (Fries, 2019, p. 3).

In today's world of excess supply and information, brands are becoming increasingly im­portant as orientation aids, which is why digital brand management is an opportunity for companies to establish themselves on the market (Kreutzer & Land, 2017, p. 14).

In the meantime, Influencer Marketing has become more and more established in Germany and from the experimental phase it turned into a key component in the Marketing strategy for companies. As a result, more and more standards and rules are being developed (See­ger, Kost, 2019). The use of Influencer Marketing is also becoming increasingly popular also in tourism. Influencers are regarded as authentic, credible and keen to experiment. They appeal to a young audience that traditional travel companies in particular have had difficulties reaching until now. Young tourists of Generation Y will probably be the most important tourist group in the future, both in terms of the size of this segment and in terms of growth and purchasing power (Naumovska, 2017). The increasing demand of tourists confront providers in the tourism market with constantly rising challenges. Global trends

Methodology highlight the increasing demand for sustainable, authentic travel experiences. In order to remain competitive in the market, it will become increasingly important for players in the tourism industry to reach and address the target group of young tourists (Naumovska, 2017).

In the foreground of this paper are the questions whether this kind of communication is suitable for tour operators and the purpose of Influencer Marketing. After this introduction, in which the relevance of the topic and the objectives as well as the structure of the work are explained, follows the methodology, in which the procedure of this work is described. In the following theoretical part, the terms used in the work are first defined. Subsequently, the work is divided into 2 further theoretical parts, in which first the fundamentals of In­fluencer Marketing (chapter 4), such as the role of Millennials and Generation Z, consumer behavior and development and trends of Influencer Marketing are clarified.

Chapter 5 describes Influencer Marketing for tour operators, where the travel decision process, brand awareness in tourism and practical examples are outlined. In the 6th part of the work the advantages and disadvantages of Influencer Marketing for companies are shown. The 7th and 8th chapter of this work consist of the empirical evaluation of the expert interviews conducted and a survey. Here the statements of the interviewees about Influ­encer Marketing are evaluated and compared with each other. Chapter 9 of this paper once again summarizes all important points of the work and deals with the recommendations for action, which consist of the results of the theoretical investigation and the evaluation of the expert interviews.

The following Research Questions will be evaluated in this following paper:

- How is the potential of Influencer Marketing in the tourism sector?
- What are the chances and risks for tour operators?

As a result, recommendations for action are made for future influencer campaigns by tour operators.

2. Methodology

For the theoretical part of this work online research was made. Other materials such as books, journal articles, reports and statistics were also used. Most of the books were ob- tained free of charge from the library of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich as well as the Bavarian State Library. Studies on Influencer Marketing and generations were found mainly by Google Scholar. A mixed method was chosen for the empirical part of the re­search, since both the qualitative and quantitative methods were used.

For the quantitative method, an online questionnaire was used to survey a selection of consumers. The survey was conducted on the website and the questions were answered in German and English. The duration of the survey was one week, in which the respondents could participate. The survey was sent to the author's friends and family and published on various Social Media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. The survey contained 17 questions, including 6 multiple choice questions and 2 open questions. 59 people took part in the survey.

For the qualitative research method, interviews were conducted with three tour operators from Germany. It was advantageous to talk to several Marketing experts as they have a broad know-how and a detailed view. The interviews were conducted by telephone or e­mail in German and lasted 10 to 15 minutes.

All personal data of the interviews are anonymous for data protection reasons and are kept as "Interviewer I to III.” The combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods gave an insight into Influencer Marketing.

For simplicity's sake, the word "he” is used and should be understood as gender independ­ent and does not imply any form of discrimination.

3. Definitions and Principles

This part is dedicated to the theoretical basics and creates a basis for the following chap- ters. In the following, the terms are defined that are decisive for the understanding of Influencer Marketing and its impacting factors. The focus is on the description of different types of marketing as well as their target group, the Millennials and Generation Z.

3.1. Tour operators

The tour operator plays an important role in the travel industry, as it combines individual services into an entire new product. It is called package tour and is offered to customers (Freyer, 2015). A tour operator has to "meet its customers' expectations in order to be successful in the market” (Hinterholzer, Joos, 2013, p. 61).

Dörnberg, Freyer and Sülberg (2013) define tour operators as follows: "Tour operators are tourism businesses or parts of businesses which predominantly combine services provided by third parties to satisfy the temporary need for a change of location and related other needs to form a new, independent service and offer and invoice this in their own name” (Dörnberg, Freyer, Sülberg, 2013, p. 5).

Tour operators are companies which work independently and are responsible for organizing and selling package tours. They are also responsible for the Marketing of package tours. One of their main tasks are organizational skills for the selection and booking of the desired travel services, which are then offered to the customers at the end as a finished package tour. Another task is the support of the service providers in order to "win customers and utilize capacities” (cf. Freyer, 2015, p. 257).

Travelers therefore have advantages when they book a tour operator trip, they do not have to organize anything themselves, because the tour operator takes care of that. All services are covered by a travel contract. The services in the package are usually cheaper, as the tour operator can negotiate more favorable conditions with corresponding partners (Ad- jouri & Büttner, 2008).

3.2. Brand Value

Brand value describes the relationship between customers and brands. Prof. Dr. Bruhn (2002) defines a brand "[...] as a service that, in addition to being distinctively marked by a systematic sales concept in the market, also makes a quality promise that achieves a lasting, value-enhancing effect and can achieve sustainable success in the market for the relevant target group in fulfilling customer expectations” (Bruhn, 2002, p. 18). This official definition already mentions an important function of brands for companies which is the differentiation from other products and manufacturers. Brands are particularly important for companies because consumers trust a brand that guarantees a certain quality. They connect brands with emotions and images and are thus shaped (Bruhn, 2002).

3.3. Marketing

Marketing is "the consistent orientation of the entire company to the needs of the market” (Bruhn, 2016, p. 13) as well as an "[...] entrepreneurial mindset. [Marketing] is expressed in the analysis, planning, implementation and control of all internal and external corporate activities that aim to achieve sales market-oriented corporate goals by aligning corporate performance with customer benefit in the sense of consistent customer orientation” (Bruhn, 2016, p. 13). The "increasing saturation of the market made consumer buying more selective” (Kuhnle, 2013, p. 1) in earlier years. Companies had to reorient them­selves in order to fulfil customer wishes and demands. In addition, competition on the market became stronger and stronger and had to be surpassed. The result was that "the consumer was placed at the center of entrepreneurial planning” (Kuhnle, 2013, p. 1). A company management that tries to fulfil "the best possible satisfaction of the needs and wishes of its customers” (Kuhnle, 2013, p. 2) is engaged in Marketing, i.e. market-oriented corporate management. Marketing stands in contrast to a product-oriented corporate pol­icy and "is aimed at producing products that can be sold at a profit and not at selling products that the company has always produced” (Kuhnle, 2013, p. 2).

3.4. Online Marketing

According to Lammenett, "the concept of Online Marketing has not yet been clearly defined or distinguished from other concepts such as internet Marketing, web Marketing or digital Marketing” (Lammenett, 2019, p. 34). A definition from Lammenett in 2006 says that "Online Marketing covers measures or bundles of measures, which aim to attract visitors to their own or a specific Internet presence, or from where business can be done or initiated directly” (Lammenett, 2019, p. 34). Since Online Marketing is developing very dynamically, "the boundaries between Online Marketing, Social Media and Mobile Marketing are blurring more and more. It is therefore questionable how long this definition, which is clear in principle, will last” (Lammenett, 2019, p. 34).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Overview Online Marketing (Source: Own figure based on Kreutzer, 2018, p. 2)

Today, no company can afford not to be present in the online world. The online presence of a company, brands and offers is indispensable. Online Marketing encounters users in a wide variety of appearance forms (cf. Figure 1, Kreutzer, 2018).

Tropp defines Online Marketing "as a Word of Mouth Marketing form using Internet plat- forms primarily for user interaction and the presentation and further processing of user- generated content” (cf. Tropp, 2014, p. 544). Word of Mouth Marketing will be outlined in the following chapter.

3.5. Influencer Marketing

The term Influencer Marketing can be taken in the literal sense because it refers to an influencer, i.e. an individual who influences others. An Influencer "is a person who has expert knowledge and/or social authority on a particular subject, who shares content on that subject in Social Media with their network, and who exerts an influence on their fol- lowers that can lead to a buying impulse” (Seeger & Kost, 2019, p. 27). Influencers are individuals who have a certain status. For instance, they have big online communities, especially on Social Media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. They have the ability to influence others in their opinions or even their buying behavior. Basically, it is a mix of traditional advertising and trustworthy, authentic reporting. This could be a picture on Instagram, a post on Facebook, a video on YouTube or a blogpost on their own blog in order to promote a product or service (Jahnke, 2018).

Based on the definition of influencer, Influencer Marketing is "a company's attempt to identify key opinion leaders on the Internet and use their influence and reach for its own purposes by motivating or rewarding them to share brand messages with their target au- diences” (Seeger & Kost, 2019, p. 41). According to a definition by Lammenett, "Influencer Marketing is about persuading trustworthy, authentic and credible third parties to make positive public statements about a company or a brand. In the ideal case, these persons fit the respective brand in order to satisfy the aspect of credibility” (Lammenett, 2019, p. 148).

Generally, Influencer Marketing is nothing new due to the fact that companies have been working with influencers for a long time already. Traditionally, famous personalities, such as celebrities or athletes, have promoted a product or a service and were rewarded in return. Even in tv advertisement, celebrities from various sections such as sports, music or entertainment are being hired from companies to work for their product or services (Lammenett, 2019). This advertising influenced consumers to make a purchase decision (Funke, 2019). The awareness of the influencer is essential, as is their relationship to their followers and subscribers. The "close relationship is the real value of Influencer Marketing” (Funke, 2019, p. 23) and is a testimonial of a brand at the same time (Funke, 2019).

The origin of the term Influencer Marketing first appeared in the 2001 non-fiction book published by Robert Cialdini. The author describes in his book The Psychology of Persuasion that "in the increasing complexity of everyday life, people no longer inform themselves in all subject areas and therefore rely on the advice of influencers when making decisions. The associated principles are authority, sympathy, reciprocity, consistency, social effec- tiveness and scarcity and form the foundation for the successful influencing of an opinion leader” (Nirschl & Steinberg, 2018, p. 5).

Influencer Marketing is a form of Online Marketing. Nowadays, influencers are an integral part of the Marketing mix and are therefore integrated into campaigns. The focus is on the authenticity of the influencer and the associated brand. In addition, Influencer Marketing is also Relationship Management, since influencers strengthen the awareness of brand value through becoming a contact person for companies (Funke, 2019). Influencers man­age to present products in social networks so skillfully and to stage themselves as a mem- ber of the community in order to "disguise their commercial interest, even though they are paid by companies” (Gelbrich, Wünschmann, & Müller, 2018, p. 50).

In this context, the term Recommendation Marketing is also frequently used, which focuses primarily on encouraging existing customers to recommend the product to others, for ex- ample by rating it on relevant portals or granting family and friends discounts. Such meth- ods have not lost their importance until today, the possibilities have only become more diverse. In fact Influencer Marketing is based on Recommendation Marketing, where the focus is not on existing customers, but on influential profiles on Social Media, which espe- cially inspire an Internet-savvy, young audience (Dexler, 2018). In addition, Word-of- mouth Marketing (WOM Marketing) plays an important role because it "[...] represents a special form of social influence in consumer behavior” (Lis & Korchmar, 2013, p. 5). The focus here is on the transmission of product information, with WOM spreading without the help of a company (Lis & Korchmar, 2013). Generally, Influencer Marketing is the digital version of Word-of-Mouth (Wroblewski, 2017).

Purchasing decisions are being influenced by customer evaluations in corresponding eval­uation portals as well as recommendations on Social Media. Such recommendations exist for "persons who with their blogs and Social Media accounts a high range of coverage and be considered by their followers as a credible and authentic source of information” (Deges, 2018, p. 1).

3.6. Generation Y

Generation Y (Millennials) was born between 1980 and 2000 (Naumovska, 2017). In the field of Marketing communication, Marketing specialists face a major challenge when trying to attract the attention of their audience. In the field of visualization, marketers need to use more graphics and videos. Regarding "wording and copywriting, creative designers must use a storytelling language and formulations that challenge action. They respond well to humor and hesitate when it comes to serious advertising messages” (K. Williams & R. Page, 2011; Naumovska, 2017, p. 125). Generation Y shows very little interest in television media, with the exception of second screen solutions, such as Rocket Beans, a German livestream channel (Schramm & Knoll, 2014) and are more connected to Social Media and fast communication, whereas content is most important for Generation Y (Naumovska, 2017).

Generation Y was raised in a brand-aware world, which is why it reacts differently to ad­vertisement than the earlier generation and prefers to be informed "about products and services through sources other than traditional media. For this reason, many companies rely less on traditional media advertising and more on Event Marketing, promotions and digital media” (Ciminillo, 2005).

Regarding brand and product preferences, Millennials are attracted to authentic products and search for personal connections with brands that fit to their emotions and standards. (Naumovska, 2017). Millennials use different media such as digital media and portable technology devices such as mobile phones and laptops. In addition, Generation Y watches television less often and is "unlikely to be influenced by conventional media,” (Naumovska, 2017, p. 127) as they more likely use video-on-demand platforms (Sagatz, 2019). Since most of the Millennials have grown up with the Internet, they are very experienced in terms of online shopping or price comparison. All in all, "the Internet is their most im­portant and credible source of information” (Naumovska, 2017, p. 127).

3.7. Generation Z

Generation Z is the next generation of Generation Y. With its members born since 2001, it is currently the youngest of all generations. They are used to multimedia devices and have never lived without the Internet and therefore known as the Net Generation and Digital Natives (Naumovska, 2018). Mobile devices as well as apps are a part of their everyday life. Furthermore, it is estimated that the Social Media world leaves an impact on them. They are "the most connected generation ever born” (Naumovska, 2018, p. 71). Their attention span is very short, however they are usually interested in more than one topic at the same time (Naumovska, 2018). Marketing specialists should recognize that Gener­ation Z enables easy handling of technological devices and thus an comprehensive inter­action with Social Media (Naumovska, 2017).

4. Fundamentals of Influencer Marketing

The following chapter deals with the role of millennials and generation Z (chapter 4.1.), consumer behavior (chapter 4.2.), including theories on purchasing behavior and motiva­tion of consumers leading to the purchase of a product and service. Furthermore, the fun­damentals of influencer marketing are described, such as development and trends (chapter 4.3. ), classification of influencer marketing in the marketing mix (chapter 4.4.) and the role of influencer marketing for companies (chapter 4.5.). The next chapter deals with the communication channels, and the last 2 chapters describe the measure of success (Chapter 4.7. ) as well as the sustainability and professionalization of influencer marketing (Chapter 4.8. ).

4.1. The role of Millennials and Generation Z

The reason for the growing importance of influencers is a gradual generation change, which makes a rethinking of advertising indispensable. The currently still predominant Generation Y will be replaced in the coming years by the Generation Z (Naumovska, 2017). As early as 2017, the population group of Generation Z was 3 million larger worldwide than its millennial counterpart. Generation Y is still the most valuable generation with an estimated purchasing power of over 200 billion dollars, but Generation Z will soon catch up with it as its purchasing power is already 143 billion dollars (cf. Naumovska, 2017). The self-deter­mination of the young generation leads to serious consequences for advertisers, as they are very concerned about their privacy and do not simply give away data (Naumovska, 2017).

As a result, it becomes difficult for companies to reach them due to ad blockers or private surfing. Also, the attention span has become much smaller. Long advertisements thus have no chance with the individuals of the generations as they usually switch the screen until it is over. This change in consumer behavior has led to a rethinking of advertising. Influencer Marketing has established itself as a success, where Social Media has helped individuals become popular because of their credibility and their own beliefs (Naumovska, 2017).

Both generations are the travel generation of tomorrow, which is why it is so important for companies to react to their buying behaviors and use their preferred Marketing channels. According to a study by the British market and opinion research institute YouGov (2018), millennials have as many options in regard to travel booking like never before. These are more and more designed individually and self-determined, which is increasingly booked with providers of individual services than with classic travel providers. Millennials and Gen­eration Z are more likely to consider travel providers such as and Airbnb than classic travel providers such as TUI or L'Tur. Also, in view of package tours, only about every 4th person states that they have booked one in the last two years, whereas every second person has booked accommodation and travel independently of each other. Fur- thermore, Millennials and Generation Z mainly book online. There are trustworthy possi- bilities to book directly with booking portals such as Airbnb, and travel decisions are easy and quick to make and implement (Keylens Management Consultants & InLux, 2018).

Brands need to understand how the digital behavior of young consumers is changing in order to stay in touch with them in their own language. At the same time, it is important for brand communication to know on which channels the generations are online in order to be present with campaigns in the right places (Schwartz & Rothensee, 2019).

4.2. Consumer behavior

To find out how a company can manage to attract the attention of its target group and achieve desired effects, such as dealing with the brand, the prerequisites that contribute to successful communication in Social Media must be analyzed. The following two models can be used for this purpose. They are generally valid for communication, i.e. independent of the medium, and can therefore also be applied to communication in Social Media (Bruhn, 2016).

In principle, consumer behavior can be modelled in two ways: as a true behavioral model (stimulus-object-response approach) and as a black box model (stimulus-response ap- proach). The difference between the two approaches lies in the explanation of the imple­mentation of stimuli (e.g. advertising) and in reactions (e.g. purchase) (Bruhn, 2016).

In black box models, the transformation process is accepted as unknown or irrelevant. Marketing activities are therefore only treated as input. The reasons for this are irrelevant. What is important here is the observable output. Real behavior models, on the other hand, are "attempts that are oriented towards the stimulus-object-response paradigm and that reconstruct and depict in detail the psychological process of making purchasing decisions”, which "fathom the structure of consciousness” (Nieschlag et al. 1997, p. 197). It is thus attempted "to empirically underpin the hypothetical structure of consciousness through theoretical constructs such as attitudes, motivation and learning” (Bruhn, 2016, 58).

4.2.1. Black Box Model - Stimulus Response Model

As already mentioned, the black box model only focuses on statements that are observa- ble. On the one hand such stimuli can be observed which have an effect on the organism and on the other hand the reactions triggered by them (Felix, 2016). This stimulus can be an advertising campaign that produces a purchase as a reaction. The stimulus-response approach is based on the hypothesis that "a stimulus acting on the organism with a certain probability produces a certain reaction” (Felix, 2018, p. 23). The consideration of psycho­logical processes recedes into the background, i.e. how a stimulus affects the interior of a consumer. Rather, it is about the processes that lead from a perception of advertising to a purchase (Felix, 2016).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: The stimulus response model (Source: own figure based on Felix, 2016; Pepels, 2004)

Figure 2 shows that "the processes in the consumer's organism between stimulus and response present themselves as a black box and thus elude observation” (cf. Bänsch, 2002; Felix, 2016). This is exactly what the problem is about, because "intrapersonal de- cision-making processes are consequently not visible and the affective and cognitive pro­cesses between stimulus and reaction must be hypothetically reconstructed” (cf. Ken- ning/Plassmann/Ahlert, 2007; Felix, 2016). In this paper, the stimulus is given in the form of an Instagram post, which is shared from an influencer on Instagram. The stimulus meets "the black box in a further step, which is the sensory perception by the consumer and then leads to behavior, the Response” (Lucco, 2015, p. 23).

4.2.2. Motivation theory

Motivation plays a role in all areas where people are active or perform an activity and is an essential basis for human behavior and action (Schwaiger & Meyer, 2009). In the following, Maslow's motivation theory from 1943 is first presented, which is later applied to the Marketing targets to learn the motivational idea of following an influencer. The the- ory provides an overview of the needs and motives of human action.

The Pyramid of Needs after Abraham Harold Maslow, first published in 1943, is the best- known theory of human motivation. According to the American psychologist, every human being has needs that build on each other hierarchically. Thus, there are lower and higher needs which individuals want to satisfy. First the lower needs must be met, and then the higher ones can be realized (Kielholz, 2008).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3: The Pyramid of Needs from Abraham Maslow, 1943 (Source: Retrieved June 22, 2019 from

Figure 3 shows the Pyramid of Needs from Maslow. At the base are the physiological needs, which are called basic needs. These are part of human self-preservation and serve as a prerequisite for pure survival. These include aspects such as food, water, warmth and rest. If a person feels a certain need, for example for drinking, all other needs are pushed into the background until the thirst is satisfied. The next category only becomes relevant when all physiological needs are satisfied (Maslow, 1978).

This is followed by the level of safety needs. Factors such as livelihood safety and old-age provision play a primary role in safety needs. In addition, there are regulated structures, order and boundaries. People therefore strive for safety, security and protection. If a per­son does not feel safe or even at risk, all other needs are irrelevant until the person knows that he or she is safe. Belongingness and love needs is the next step of the pyramid, which belong to the overall psychological needs, where also esteem needs belong to. This need includes prestige and feeling of accomplishment. Self-actualization is on the top of the pyramid of needs and involves people's achievement of full potential. (Maslow, 1978, cf. figure 3).

It is assumed that a consumer strives for different product benefits, depending on the level of need at which he finds himself. The needs were subdivided into the five need categories described, which are hierarchically based on each other (Solomon & Bamossy, 2016). In addition, there is the assumption that a need for a complete satisfaction of needs has an influence on consumer behavior. It is only after a need has been met that a consumer is prepared to focus his attention on a higher need (Homburg, 2017). However, needs can change in the course of a consumer's life, which also changes the consumer's demand, depending on the individual life cycle of the consumer (Gelbrich et al., 2018).

The aim of Marketing is to design market processes in such a way that consumer needs are met. Therefore, it belongs to the field of Marketing to identify the needs of potential and existing consumers, to change them or even to create new needs. This is accomplished with the use of communication tools (Balderjahn & Scholderer, 2007).

Tourism companies also aim to awaken needs when working with influencers. In addition to the social need for recreation or greed for discovery a journey can also satisfy individual needs such as prestige, status and recognition, or serve self-realization. It can be assumed that by the use of influencers, companies try to address or arouse the needs of their fol- lowers. This should increase the willingness to receive information and to book a trip. Since influencers are regarded as opinion leaders and followers regard them as experts on the subject of travel, it can also be assumed that followers perceive the products presented by influencers as desirable and that they therefore develop a willingness to buy these products (Gelbrich et al., 2018).

4.3. Development and Trends of Influencer Marketing

Due to changes in consumer behavior, Influencer Marketing has developed, which is de- scribed below.

Communication is one of the central tasks of Marketing. Therefore, it is relevant for com­panies to deal with it and to respond to new trends. One of these new trends is communi­cation via Internet, its importance has increased enormously in recent years. According to a study by ARD and ZDF in 2018, 90.3 percent (total population 63.3 million) of the Ger­man population aged 14 and over use the Internet, which is an increase of 1.4 percent compared to 2017. Above all, daily use of the Internet has increased, with 3.8 million people joining the population. 39 percent of people use the Internet daily to consume media. Another section of consumers uses the Internet for communication, surfing, playing games and shopping. Not only the number of Internet users has increased, but also the amount of time people spend on the Internet every day. In 2017 it was 149 minutes a day, in 2018 it increased by 47 minutes to 196 minutes (ARD/ZDF, 2018). Young people spend about 3 to 4.5 hours a day on the Internet. Anyone who wants to reach a younger target group is probably forced to stay on social networks to advertise products or service (Funke, 2019).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 4: Number of users of social networks worldwide in the years 2010 to 2016 and a forecast until 2021 (in billions) (Source: own figure based on Statista, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2019 from https://de.sta-

Figure 4 shows the number of users of social networks forecast until 2021 as well as a significant increase in the number of users since 2010. The figures have more than doubled between 2010 and 2015. However, growth has also slowed down, as can be seen from the number of users, which has increased by less than 50 percent. For the year 2021, it is expected that 3.02 billion people are registered in social online networks, which makes up around 38 percent of 7.9 billion people worldwide in 2021, which means almost a third of the world's citizens will be represented in social networks (Statista, 2017a).

According to a survey from 2016, Influencer Marketing is one of the most important mobile advertisement trends alongside location-based advertising (Statista, 2016). Marketing de- cision-makers in Germany also regard Influencer Marketing as increasingly important, with 64 percent of respondents stating that Influencer Marketing will become increasingly im­portant in the future (Statista, 2017b).

The Internet is not only used for private purposes, almost every company now has its own website and integrates Social Media where they offer their goods or services. For compa­nies, the Internet is particularly advantageous to get away from classic advertising such as banner advertising. Consumers are now used to it and subconsciously hide it. Also through the use of consumer ad blockers, companies are confronted with finding a different advertising method (Fries, 2019).

One of the best-known methods is Influencer Marketing, where companies present and advertise their products or services with the help of a long-range influencer. Influencer Marketing is used on all Social Media platforms; however Instagram is best suited for this purpose. In 2016, Influencer Marketing was given attention for the first time and it became one of the buzzwords in the Online Marketing industry. By 2017, almost 70 percent of companies in Germany were already planning to include it in their Marketing budgets (Fries, 2019).

Consumers are more likely to listen to recommendations of influencers and trust them because they perceive them as authentic. In addition, Influencer Marketing promises to address appropriate target groups, so that scattering losses are more probably to be avoided, since "influencers function as targeted digital multipliers because of their topic- specific reach” (Fries, 2019, p. 9). The aim of an influencer campaign is not only to increase profits, but mainly to increase brand awareness, build brand image and sympathy and positively affect them. Furthermore, Influencer Marketing can be used to advertise to ex- isting clients or to reach new target groups (Fries, 2019).

According to a study by the Federal Association of the Digital Economy (BVDW) in 2019, already one in five Germans has bought products because they were advertised by influ­encers. In the case of young adults, the figure is nearly one in every two. The fact that influencers advertise for companies is disturbing for 22 percent of the selected 1,051 re- spondents. 40 percent also say that they do not mind advertising, as long as it is labelled as such (Hesse, 2019).

According to a study by Bitkom, for Generation Z, Internet stars are the most popular idols, especially YouTuber, which is what every third teenager between 10 and 18 years (32 percent) mentioned. Another 3 percent name Instagrammer as their favorite celebrity. Online personalities are ahead of athletes, musicians or stars from film and television in this survey. One in four (27 percent) names a band or musician as their favorite idol. For 13 percent, sports stars rank right at the top and only 7 percent have an actress or an actor as their biggest role model (cf. figure 5). This clearly shows how much media con- sumption among young users has changed and shifted to the Internet (cf. Marketingbörse, 2019).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 5: Idols of Generation Z. Own figure based on Bitkom, 2019 (Source: Retrieved June 27, 2019 from

4.4. Classification of Influencer Marketing in the Marketing Mix

Before Influencer Marketing can be classified, the term of the Marketing Mix will be defined first. The Marketing mix is the "combination of all targeted and strategically derived entre- preneurial instruments and activities that are implemented with the aim of generating benefits for specific interest groups” (Bernecker, 2016, p. 48). It consists of four different components, the Marketing instruments (cf. Figure 6).

In this context, product stands for the product and assortment policy, i.e. the function, quality or packaging of the product. Promotion refers to promotion policy, i.e. everything to do with advertising, sales promotion, public relations and more. As the word already suggests, price stands for pricing policy. These include terms of payment, discounts, pro- motions and list pricing. In this context, Place stands for the distribution and sales policy, which is responsible for logistics, supply, coverage and warehousing (Spindler, 2016).

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Figure 6: Marketing Mix (Source: Own figure based on Deges, 2018)

Influencer Marketing must be integrated into the Marketing mix as a new element if it is to enrich it not as a one-off measure but as a long-term element. There must be an overall plan in which the Influencer Marketing is merged with other online and offline activities. It is significant how important Influencer Marketing for the company is, i.e. whether it is a complementary measure, or it becomes a new independent Marketing instrument. The classification is decisive because it "affects the allocation of financial and human resources in the Marketing budget” (Deges, 2018, p. 51). Influencer Marketing can lead to a reori- entation of the use of advertising formats. This makes it possible to reach other target groups that can hardly be reached via traditional media (Deges, 2018).

4.5. The role of Influencer Marketing for Companies

Now that the general principles of Influencer Marketing have been explained, the role of this marketing strategy for companies is described below.

Influencer Marketing is based on cooperation. Only companies that understand the moti­vation of influencers and create benefits for influencers in a cooperation will have sustain- able success in Influencer Marketing (Firsching & Bersch, 2019). When evaluating and selecting an influencer, it is crucial not only to pay attention to its range. It is about the influence and attachment to followers, fans and readers in a niche. Broad topics such as fashion and tourism have a higher reach than niche topics. The benchmark is the industry and the target group in order to create a clear picture of which influencer is relevant for a Company (Firsching & Bersch, 2019).

Influencer Marketing offers a wide range of possible applications. The following examples show how Influencer Marketing can be used. Social Media is fast and up-to-date, and in- fluencers spend most of their online time on these channels. They are always on the look- out for the latest trends and want to report about new products and developments as early and as quickly as possible. If a company wants to launch a new product or advertise a new service, Influencer Marketing is the right tool. Influencers are authentic and usually report enthusiastically about the product (Firsching & Bersch, 2019).

Increasing brand awareness is also a common purpose for using this type of communica- tion. Influencers as opinion leaders have a special impact on their followers. They have a high reputation and credibility and therefore a special influence on buying decisions. If an influencer visits a vacation destination, for example, this is always associated with a posi­tive statement. For followers, however, this not only makes the respective brand visible, but also strengthens a potential purchase decision. A clear proximity is given, since the followers of the Influencer are only a click away and feel themselves as its friends, with the help of direct interaction, like e.g. reactions to contents or asking a question. Also, the frequency of the advertising mail plays an important role here, because several contents or mentions have a clearly higher effect. A too high frequency can also weaken credibility and authenticity. However, this is easier when it comes to travel, since the influencer can post an entire series of pictures from a location over a longer period of time. This can begin with the holiday preparation, and even after the trip the holiday memories can still be recorded without problems occurring (Firsching & Bersch, 2019).

Further examples are product tests, product evaluations and product placement. A product placement is about making followers aware of a product and creating interest (Firsching & Bersch, 2019). Since these are less relevant for tour operators, they are not described in detail.

Operating Influencer Marketing is first and foremost a strategic approach, with the aim of profiting from the influence and reach of important opinion leaders by spreading an adver­tising message for a company on social networks (Nirschl & Steinberg, 2018). According to Kreutzer (2017), the goal of Influencer Marketing is "to increase awareness for its own range of services, to strengthen customer loyalty and to generate sales leads. The so- called digital opinion leaders play a particularly important role here” (Kreutzer, 2017, p. 370). The aim of Influencer Marketing for companies is to use an influencer to encourage its followers to take action, such as buying a product or perceiving a service (Seeger & Kost, 2019). Influencer Marketing is also helpful to strengthen or change the positioning of a company according to the target group (Gerstenberg & Gerstenberg, 2018).

Lammenett (2019) names targets for companies such as:

- "Branding,
- Recruitment/corporate brand,
- Image formation/Reputation,
- Sales Promotion/Leads,
- Commitment,
- Market Expansion/Diversification” (cf. (Lammenett, 2019, p. 164)

Consumers tend to trust well-known brands. Therefore, "branding in social networks is an important component for companies to maintain sympathy and build trust” (Seeger & Kost, 2019, p. 78). Target groups should grow positive emotions in order to associate them with the products and services which later lead to purchase decisions. This is the reason why companies should include Social Media in their Marketing concept. With the help of Social Media, companies have the opportunity to reach desired target groups and can communi- cate with customers at eye level (Seeger & Kost, 2019).

The importance of influencers is growing enormously, so that even specialized agencies are currently taking on the task of bring together influencers and companies with the help of so-called Influencer Marketing platforms. The agencies are the interface between influ­encers and companies, which means considerable time savings for both sides (Nirschl & Steinberg, 2018).

Irrespective of whether a platform or agency is used for consultancy or not, there are central principles that must be observed when selecting the appropriate influencers. The opinion leader should have contact with the relevant target group and be able to influence them in their purchasing decision. Another prerequisite is that the influencer is satisfied with the product or brand. In addition, there are key figures with which success and influ­ence can be made measurable. One should also bear in mind that the numbers are not decisive for the choice of an influencer, rather the fit to the brand and to the company as well as the expertise of the influencer are important. The influencer should be able to market a product or service with conviction and commitment. It is also important that he/she has a credible interest in the advertising campaign (Nirschl & Steinberg, 2018).

4.6. Communication channels - social networks

Social Media is often referred to as the communication instrument of today's youth. Social networks have fundamentally changed the World Wide Web: Social Media give users a voice. Here, anyone can easily create content and distribute it to the public, which is called user-generated content. The dialog between the users is in the foreground (many-to-many communication). In Social Media, multimedia content such as photos, Videos, etc. are a fixed component of communication. If individuals want to take part in the exchange, they only need a profile that is in most cases free and easy to create (Buchenau & Fürtbauer, 2015).

The most frequently mentioned platforms for Influencer Marketing are YouTube and Insta­gram, as Social Media stars have the highest reach on these channels. However, there are other channels that are integrated into the communication strategy, such as Facebook, and blogs (Jahnke, 2018). From a strategic point of view, a combination of all channels makes sense in order to achieve as high a range as possible (Jahnke, 2018).

Especially Facebook and Instagram are the most popular platforms which are in regular use by consumers (cf. figure 7). Instagram plays a particularly important role among 14 to 19-year-olds. The chart also shows that Twitter hardly plays a role (ARD & ZDF, 2018). In the following, the channels are explained in more detail.

Proportion of users who use social media at least once a week (in percent)

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Figure 7: Use of Social Media Channels (Source: Own figure based on ARD ZDF Online Study. Retrieved June 23, 2019 from


Excerpt out of 77 pages


The Potential of Influencer Marketing for Tour Operators to Increase Brand Value
University of Applied Sciences Deggendorf
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ISBN (Book)
potential, influencer, marketing, tour, operators, increase, brand, value
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Alina F. (Author), 2019, The Potential of Influencer Marketing for Tour Operators to Increase Brand Value, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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