Thursday, October 18, 2012

Influence, lets not forget what it is and why we pursue those that have it

I have always subscribed to a very simple definition of Influence:

Influence: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

“The capacity to have an effect on the behavior of Someone”

So lets remember: we care about influence and pursue those that have it because they can have an effect on the behavior of our current and prospective customers.

The “marketing noise” that surrounds us is deafening, our brain reacts as evolution has taught it when under such distress: filter out, tune out the overwhelming signals (otherwise it would have to shut down). This means that cranking up the frequency, volume, color intensity of our standard marketing efforts will simply continue to have diminishing returns..

(Before I proceed I should state for the record that I am not one of those that thinks traditional marketing is dead, I do think the portfolio of Marketing tools is ever evolving though, and there is an overdue shift of marketing budgets to more effective marketing strategies)

So what is a marketer to do? what if you have an amazing product? how do you cut through the noise? Maybe something you should consider is to have a programmatic effort to identify and enlist for your cause those that have the capacity to have an effect (buy, renew, upgrade your product) on the behavior of your current and potential customers.

What type of “influencer” you pursue depends on the nature of your product, industry and current-potential customers.. in the context of Social CRM I care particularly about that influencer that is not a celebrity and is not an industry subject matter expert (the former are very important influencers, just not the type I care about from a Social CRM perspective). I call this influencer the “Peer Influencer”, a couple examples to bring it down to earth:
  • You meet with a friend at a bar he suggested, x brand of beer has plastered their image all over the place: posters, coasters, table tents, etc... it doesn’t matter, it takes one word from your friend for you to order a different brand.
  • You are traveling overseas, your friend just visited the same city you are going to... her recommendation has more sway than any amount of advertising and tantalizing offers hotel chain x may throw your way as you book the airplane tickets, you will ignore all that and go straight to the hotel she recommended.

I believe identifying, facilitating the relationship, prompting for action, measuring impact for peer influencers is a key marketing use case scenario for social business platforms.

What do you think?

Filiberto Selvas

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