The home furnishing market took a hit in recent years, due, in part, to the housing crisis and “great recession” that followed. The number of home furnishing retailers dramatically dropped – so much so that the number one event in the furniture industry had to rethink its marketing campaign to attract new attendees.
Together, High Point Market and marketing firm Emisare developed an influencer campaign that not only lifted registration for future High Point Market events, but also won it a top spot in the 2013 Top 10 Influencer Marketing Awards this summer.urnishing retailers dramatically dropped – so much so that the number one event in the furniture industry had to rethink its marketing campaign to attract new attendees.
The solution to the declining number of attendees that High Point and Emisare came up with was an elegant one: they’d leverage the influence that interior design bloggers hold over their audience by building solid relationships with a select handful of these interior fashionistas.
Each year, the Market invites a small group of interior design bloggers to attend the show as Style Spotters – tasked with selecting their favorite pieces of furniture and showcasing them on social media.
And the Style Spotters are not just snapping photos of sofas and lamps they like willy-nilly. They’re actually participating in a contest to see whose selections are the most popular among his or her audience. New products are added to the Style Spotter’s Pinterest board, and followers are encouraged to vote for them via “likes” (which gives the Style Spotter one point) or “repins” (awarding them two points). The blogger who earns the most points wins a free trip to the next Market.
This past Spring High Point Market, which ran from April 20-25 2013, saw nine Style Spotters competing for the honor of being the most repined on Pinterest, and thus winning a trip to the Fall Market. And the big winner was Michelle Jennings Wiebe, president of interior design firm Studio M, with each of her 22 style picks clocking in at about 200 repins and 200 likes a piece.
The Style Spotters program is inherently viral, as it encourages influencers not only to attend the Market and blog about it, but to also engage with their audience, motivating them to vote for their style selections.
The interior design bloggers who are part of the Style Spotters program were not always that eager to attend the High Point Market, prior to the program – in fact, the Market was seen as more of a place for retailers over designers. But now, because Emisare was able to target the right influencers, the Market is seeing pre-recession registrations and is becoming quite popular with the design industry as a whole.
A large part of the success of the program was recruiting the right bloggers to attend the Market. The promotional efforts of a select few bloggers was the floodgate that the Market needed to re-create excitement and generate buzz online. Then, thanks to the contest aspect of the Style Spotter campaign, this buzz was spread far and wide in interior design circles.
It’s no secret that harnessing the viral power of the social web can be great for business, but the creativity and smart targeting of influencers makes this campaign one for the books!
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