In the several blogs and other online articles I read there appears to be some contradiction revolving around the motive of influencers. In a few cases there appears to be a general assumption that an influencer within a given marketplace is already a customer. While they can certainly fall into this category I do not believe this to be the case. Here's my fundamental reason why...
The primary objective for targeting influencers within a given market is that they quite simply have the power to sway your current customers and prospects. Which one of us goes around telling their friends about "product X" simply to talk about "product X"? While I am sure it does happen on a few occasions, I feel largely this is a marketer’s pipe dream.
Since an influencer is not likely to pawn products that they simply do not believe in the first place, a component of trust needs to already be instilled between a given influencer and their peer group. The influencer may bring up a particular product or brand however they are not standing by idly to market a desired brand. Instead it is more plausible that they are simply engaging in this dialog to help their friend.
Remember, when targeting influencers through online or offline initiatives, you are NOT looking to influence an entire demographic. You are looking to influence very specific people.
Therein lies the danger with targeting and then reaching out to influencers. Consider this scenario, as a marketer, I identify specific influencers for a client. (Which I am developing some software to do and will share this with you shortly.) I hand over the list to the client who in turn blasts out emails to every individual on the list. The vast majority of these individuals then respond with a one-word answer: "Unsubscribe". A death sentence for online marketers as the opportunity is wasted.
So you see, when people are passionately engaged, and when they are true believers in the brand they are promoting, viral campaigns will accelerate. And that is why the influencer theory of marketing continues to be one that is both useful and relevant.
Labels: demographic targeting, influencers, internet marketing, social media, viral campaigns
6/27/2008 06:15:00 PM
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