Could CGI Influencers Be About to Shake Up B2B Marketing?


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

CGI influencers give businesses complete control to create a strategic partner for B2B marketing.

Article 4 Minutes
Could CGI Influencers Be About to Shake Up B2B Marketing?

Influencers have become an integral part of brand strategies in recent years, with many B2C campaigns focusing on the aesthetics or values of content creators to help promote their products. When it comes to B2B marketing, influencers are just as important but should be viewed in a different way if they’re to meet their full potential.

B2B influencers must be industry experts that organizations can become strategic partners with in order to achieve mutual goals. Such relationships can be incredibly powerful marketing tools, but finding the right individual to fulfil the role can be tricky. This has lead some to predict that the future of B2B marketing will lie in CGI influencers.

What are CGI influencers?

CGI influencers may look like other influencers at first glance, but they are in fact computer-generated in a way to make them appear and act like real people. Their online presence is carefully curated to fall exactly in line with the principles their creators want them to embody in a way that isn’t possible with a true human being.

The advantages of CGI influencers

There are many advantages to basing a B2B campaign around a CGI influencer as opposed to a real person. The first is the level of control a company has, as the influencer’s independent thought doesn’t need to be taken into consideration. Organizations can ensure all of the attributes they want displayed are programmed into the influencer’s persona, providing them with an effective mouthpiece for their organization.

Practical considerations, such as travelling to photoshoots, no longer apply when a CGI influencer can be placed in any location at any time and with ease. Research from Mediakix showed that 89% of marketers believe the ROI on influencer marketing is as good or better than other marketing channels. If you strip away production costs and the fees many influencers charge by going with a CGI alternative, the returns will only increase.

The drawbacks of CGI influencers

Issues of transparency and authenticity have been swirling around influencers for some time and CGI influencers are a step even further away from representing these attributes. In fact, the optics companies decide to use when creating their CGI influencers could bring them under greater scrutiny.

Allegations of greenwashing could come from giving an artificially-created influencer eco credentials and supposedly diverse characters could be seen as cultural appropriation. If a company designs every aspect of their influencer, they can expect their decisions to be judged and there’ll be nowhere to hide.

CGI influencers paving the way

CGI influencers are not simply a concept that may be developed in the future, but a reality that has already been unleashed on the social media world. Among the most famous is Lil Miquela, who has attracted 3.1 million followers and worked with the likes of Samsung and Calvin Klein.

While her profile states she’s a “19-year-old Robot living in LA”, it’s hard to distinguish her from other well-edited influencers that aren’t digitally generated. It may be that as CGI influencers become more mainstream, there’ll be calls for transparency and hashtagging in the same way ads now have to be flagged on social media.

Lil Miquela isn’t the only CGI influencer out there, with Zoe Dvir, Imma and Shudu having racked up 28.3K, 254K and 218K followers respectively. These real-life followers represent the reason for such influencers to exist, giving them real estate in the marketing world.

While Imma and Shudu both make reference to their “virtual” or “digital” status in their profiles, Zoe Dvir simply states she’s a blogger without any reference to her being a digital construct. A #virtualinfluencer hashtag can, however, be found in the comments on some of the account’s posts, but with a casual glance at her grid, there’s nothing to suggest she isn’t a real life content creator.

"There isn't really much difference between a real person and one of these CGI accounts. If the interaction and trust is there, a campaign with Lil Miquela should be as effective as one with any other influencer." - Buzz Carter, digital marketer at Bulldog Digital Media

These examples make it clear that CGI influencers have in fact already arrived, and could well have a part to play in the prevalence of influencers in B2B marketing.

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