Influencer Marketing for Long-Term Decisions: Does it Work? Exploring the Buzz about Influencer Marketing in the Context of Retirement Planning
Due to the demographic change, one essential challenge for pension providers is finding ways to motivate young people to engage in retirement planning early on. Given that young professionals have longest to contribute to pensions but are simultaneously least likely to think about retirement, it is important to investigate how pension communication can be improved in order to reach this target group effectively. This research elaborates on emerging marketing tools within social media, namely influencer marketing as well as on different message framings, namely one-sided and two-sided messages. More precisely, the underlying goal of this study is to investigate whether the message source (company vs. influencer) and the message sidedness (one-sided vs. two-sided) influence the perceived source credibility. It is anticipated that source credibility is an important driver for company’s advertisement effectiveness. More specifically, this research analyses if a higher credible source leads to increased attitudes towards pensions and search intentions. Thereby, the thesis contributes to the finding of how to target young professionals in the most effective way via social media. By conducting a questionnaire in the United States involving 217 respondents, the presented study finds that the effect on source credibility is higher if the message source is a company. After careful analysis, this effect can be explained by the fact that source credibility was measured on the constructs of trustworthiness and expertise. For expertise, a significant difference between the company and the influencer could be found in favour of the company. Unfortunately, no significant results for the message sidedness could be found. Nevertheless, one interesting result revealed the interaction effect of the message source and sidedness. A
company two-sided message significantly leads to higher source credibility than an influencer one-sided message. The results further show that attitude towards pensions and search intentions can be influenced by higher source credibility.