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Mitch MirskySenior Manager, Digital Brand DevelopmentNew Era Cap Co.
New Era Cap Co., the official provider of caps to Major League Baseball and the National Football League, has tested its fair share of marketing tactics. The nearly 100-year-old company isn’t afraid to experiment, and it’s now turning to influencer marketing to reach its target audience. Mitch Mirsky, senior manager of digital brand development at New Era Cap, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about the value of influencers on up-and-coming social channels such as Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.
eMarketer: What made you turn to influencer marketing?
Mitch Mirsky: Cap wearing took off in the ’90s and early 2000s, without much proactive effort on our part. We were flying high, but then that fashion waned and other companies started creating their own styles and eroding our share. We’ve gotten to the point where we need to be proactive with our marketing.
People who wear our caps are in various age groups, but we know that to create a halo effect and grow interest, we have to go after a younger audience—males ages 15 to 25. It is an audience that looks to their friends and to entertainers to influence what they’re going to buy.
eMarketer: What has your influencer marketing strategy been so far?
Mirsky: Our fans already capture content for us and talk about how much they love New Era. What we need to do is harness that and utilize it to speak to our core audience in a way that feels genuine and authentic. This year, we’re working with [influencer marketing platform] Crowdtap to tap into the reach of three major stars on Instagram and Vine and have them talk about New Era in an organic way. All three of them are natural cap wearers, so all we’re doing is giving them an extra push.
eMarketer: Which social media properties do you consider to be the most important for influencer campaigns?
Mirsky: It starts with Instagram. We have a large following on Instagram, and a lot of users are already posting images of themselves in our caps there. That’s a home run for us. In terms of influencers, we also have a presence on Vine and Snapchat.
eMarketer: How do you identify high-value influencers?
Mirsky: We look at our brand objectives, not just our influencer objectives. We want to be wherever our core audience is and be a relevant brand in their lives, so that’s what guides us. We want to make sure that the people we’re contracting as influencers share our values. In terms of KPIs [key performance indicators], we’re not looking for a sale immediately after someone watches a Vine video. But we are looking at the number of views and view duration. We want people to feel good about the brand so that when it’s time to make a purchase, they’re picking New Era.
eMarketer: How cost-effective is influencer marketing?
Mirsky: The jury is still out for us because we just started with it, but it feels right. It’s an efficient way for us to reach our target audience because the eyeballs that we buy from a digital marketing ad buy are less valuable than the ones we get through a genuine influencer who speaks clearly and actively about the brand.
eMarketer: Do you plan to increase spending on influencer marketing?
Mirsky: Yes. We caught on to something here. We’re going into 2016 with full steam ahead.
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