Benefit Cosmetics is hosting its first macro-influencer event called Beyond Benefit this week in Miami Beach as it rethinks its influencer marketing playbook.
Historically, Benefit Cosmetics has focused on global influencer trips or local events with micro-influencers. But this time, Benefit Cosmetics invited 42 influencers with followings between 250,000 and 850,000 on Instagram, such as Kevin Ninh and Abbey Strohmeyer. Beyond establishing a stronger relationship with Benefit, attendees will also learn how to operate their social media presence as a business. This includes sessions of how to read a legal contract; a fireside chat with Raissa Gerona, Revolve’s chief brand officer; and sessions on advanced editing and lighting techniques.
Beyond Benefit is similar to influencer incubator programs like Sephora Squad and E.l.f.’s Beautyscape, but it caters to more advanced influencers who have a firm grasp on social media basics. Some participants, such as Ninh, have previously participated in incubators like Sephora Squad. Coinciding with this event, Benefit will make its first attempt at livestreaming a product launch, revealing a new blush and a separate makeup brush collaboration with Morphe on Tuesday.
“The macro segment is newer to use, but we didn’t want to rinse and repeat what we’ve done in the past,” said Bernadette Fitzpatrick, Benefit Cosmetics U.S. svp of marketing. “These people have their own goals and needs and are deeply invested in investing more in their careers.”
Fitzpatrick declined to state event costs but said it was in line with previous events. WWD reported in 2018 that Benefit had spent up to $10 million on single influencer campaigns and expected to have double-digit growth in 2019, reaching $1.5 billion in sales.
Macro-influencers have a unique place in the influencer space because they have significant reach beyond what micro-influencers can deliver but still have a higher than average engagement. According to Traackr, an influencer marketing data platform, the average engagement on an influencer post is 2.5%, as measured through likes and comments. At the same time, macro-influencers have yet to reach a point where their social media following warrants hiring outside help like influencer agency. An influencer with 250,000 Instagram followers could earn $950 per sponsored post, ultimately making $60,000 through 63 posts per year, according to Traackr.
“It’s valuable for marketers: They have someone who represents 500,000 people they want to reach, and those people can tell them how much they do or don’t like a product or brand. It essentially [becomes] an influencer influencing the brand,” said Pierre-Loic Assayag, Traackr CEO.
Benefit is basing the success of Beyond Benefit on earned media value but is also using the event as an opportunity to test out additional projects it has worked on over the past 12 months. In addition to its livestream product launch, Benefit created a mobile app in-house for influencers to use, which allows them to keep track of the three-day schedule and facilitate professional connections. Benefit has two photo and videography studios at the event for influencers to create social media content and also created a music theme for TikTok videos for them to use. Fitzpatrick said that anecdotal conversations and feedback from influencers during the event are also valuable to Benefit and how it can continue to change its social media approach.
“I’m not sure what the evolution of influencer marketing will look like, but because of our close relationships with influencers, we can hear what they want, need, and what their struggles are,” she said. “We can then take those comments and go back to the office to try and solve them.”