How Zappos Fell in Love with Influencer Marketing

February 6, 2019 Tami Nealy

How Zappos Fell in Love with Influencer Marketing

‘In order to measure success, Zappos landed on engagement as the key metric to track performance. Influencer marketing campaigns hit that metric for them.’

When a company’s core value set includes “Create Fun and A Little Weirdness,” it’s likely their employees will be enthusiastic and energetic. That’s just one of ten core values at Zappos.com. Melissa Depelchin, a marketing manager on the Zappos Co-Op Marketing Team, is nothing short of spirited. And she’s a hugger.

Driven by another of their core values, “Deliver WOW Through Service,” Zappos began dabbling in influencer marketing campaigns in late 2016. The goal was to bring added value to their brand partners. Today, Depelchin spends her days leading the social media and influencer marketing efforts inside the Co-Op Marketing Team. Her love of influencer marketing is unwavering.

A Passion for Brand Partners

Melissa and her team funnel their energy into contemporary ways to bring additional value to the brands they carry on Zappos.com. Influencer marketing is a key part of the Zappos marketing mix for both well-established brands and up-and-coming brands.

“For those brands that are well established, we like to include influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategy. When they have a little bit of everything going on marketing-wise, social media influencers can help support those initiatives,” explained Depelchin. “For other brands that are growing their business, we will use influencers to help spread the word about their products to their target audience even further.”

The Zappos content created by influencers doesn’t live only on the social channels of the influencers. Beyond the Co-Op Marketing Team, the larger social media team at Zappos can share, like, retweet and repost to further amplify influencer content. “Getting the influencer content from the campaigns that we can share and our brands can share is really valuable to us,” she explains. “We love the personal stories behind the content. It really helps elevate the Zappos brand and the individual brands we service.”

Embrace Engagement

In order to measure success, Zappos landed on engagement as the key metric to track performance. And they treat all influencer marketing campaigns the same, regardless of brand. “We look for engagements first and of course anything that stems from engagements is wonderful to have too,” Depelchin underscored.

Say “I Do” to FYI

As Depelchin and the Zappos team evaluated influencer marketing solutions, they were initially looking for more options to execute smaller influencer campaigns. With a range of brand partners, Zappos saw great diversity in budgets. “We wanted to have more tools in our toolbox to offer our brand partners,” said Depelchin.

In a given quarter, Zappos runs a range of campaigns on the Find Your Influence platform. These campaigns have crossed all verticals spanning fashion, outdoor, casual, western, athletic and swim. “Really any of the different products in those verticals work well with influencer marketing because you (FYI) have that vast network of influencers that live every day in those verticals,” emphasized Depelchin.

The most successful influencer marketing campaign with Zappos and FYI? “We did a college road-trip/game-day tour where Hunter partnered with Zappos to carry an exclusive campus collection,” recalls Depelchin. “The tour visited three major universities over three weeks and influencers were part of the marketing mix.” The influencer campaign surrounding that specific activation saw record engagement for Zappos.

 Relationships aren’t just important to Zappos. One of the nine core values at Find Your Influence is “Unleash Inner Cheerleaders.” Jamie Reardon, CEO and Co-Founder of FYI unleashes her inner cheerleader when reflecting on Zappos, “The team at Zappos is such a special group. We’ve been working together for years and they really are like family.”

Melissa and her team are quick to sing the praises of their FYI team as well. “I really love working with Jordan, Joslyn, Sarah and Piper. Those are my go-to girls,” she gushed. “You like working with someone who you would want to spend time with outside of that scope of work and outside of the office. And we know they are always bringing a positive and collaborative spirit to every interaction they have with us.”

And the hugger ends the conversation by appealing, “Give them all hugs from me!”