From Mass to Influencer Marketing

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Stefka Nenkova
Student (University), Netherlands

From Mass to Influencer Marketing

🔥NEW According to some views, today’s marketing is losing its effectiveness and is even considered “broken” (Brown and Hayes, 2008). A possible reason is that it does not contribute to sales in as direct and tangible way as before. The wide public is targeted by too many messages that are very similar to each other and not very believable.
Could a company target only specific third parties, which are interested in their service or product and which could affect the purchasing decisions of customers? Such approach would save money and lead to efficiency and eventually to an increase in sales.

Influencer marketing is the approach which attempts to identify specific third parties, referred to as influencers, and to find the best way to approach them (Brown and Hayes, 2008).

  • DEFINITION: Brown and Hayes consider an influencer as “a third-party who significantly shapes the customer’s purchasing decision, but may never be accountable for it”. This means that influencers are completely different from prospective purchasers.
  • TYPES: There are multiple categories of influencers, which include suppliers, management consultancies, customer firms, journalists, authors and management thinkers, government agencies and regulators, systems integrators, venture capitalists and financiers, distributors and other channel partners, industry bodies, forums and federations, academia, industry and financial analysts, online forums and blogs, competitors, internal influencers, etc (Brown and Hayes, 2008).
  • ROLES: Influencers may have a different impact on the decision-making process, thus they play different roles in it. Brown and Hayes (2008) identify the following major roles: idea planters, predictors, trend setters, proclaimers, aggregators, scopers, recommenders, persuaders, negotiators and validators.

A decision-making process is often complex and there are typically many parties involved (besides the decision-maker) who inform, support and validate the decision. The critical points to influence a decision are at the beginning of the process and at its end. Usually influencing in the beginning of the process has a greater and easier impact on the outcome (Brown and Hayes).

The roles influencers play in the different stages of the decision-making process can be seen below:

Figure: Influencers and their roles in the decision process (Brown and Hayes, 2008)

  • It differs from traditional marketing, and involves a change of the approach of the marketing department within a company that wishes to apply it. Marketers have to change from mass marketing, targeting prospective purchasers, to establishing a 2-way relationship with each influencer.
  • It requires alignment between the marketing- and salesforce since the sales people are the first to see the outcomes from applying the approach.
  • There are multiple categories of influencers, which makes it difficult to assess which ones might be most influential and to what extent in a certain market. It might be useful to use the services of an external firm specialized in influencer marketing.
  • The results take time – the message a company wants to convey to its customers would have to happen through the influencers, which means that the quality of the relationship with the influencers is of high importance. In order to achieve such a relationship takes time and effort.
⇒ Do you have any tips or experiences with influencer marketing? Reply me! Thanks…

Source: Brown, D., & Hayes, N. (2008), “Influencer Marketing: Who Really Influences your Customers?”, Routledge.


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