much ado about influence

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Through marketing, all things are possible, or so marketing professionals would like you to believe. Despite the connections to advertising and sales, marketing is really the science of communicating ideas in order to convince others of a product’s value. In essence, promoting a product is less about the merits of an idea and more about the art of persuasion. Influencer marketing is the movement of taking this idea of persuasion and using it to its utmost potential.

For decades, marketing has focused on the idea of spreading ideas to millions of individuals in the easiest way possible. After all, the more people hear a message, the more potential customers a company has reached. A hundred years ago, this idea involved newspaper ads and pamphlets handed out door to door. With the invention of the radio came the introduction of radio spots and news programs, which eventually gave way to television advertisements, movies and shows. As a final strike to the power of communication, the internet has made spreading marketing messages easier than ever.

Companies collectively spend trillions annually on advertising their products and services. For international companies like Coca-Cola and Toyota, this can total billions in a year with professional commercials featuring famous people or expensive production techniques. For smaller companies, the goal is the same, but with a much smaller budget. Regardless of how it’s done, mass-market advertising has always been seen as the solution to attracting new customers and increasing profits. Until now, that is.

Influence marketing is a new concept that involves promoting a brand, product or idea to a key individual who will be better able to convince others. For example, attracting a well-known author, television star or sports star is a better way to convince an audience than a disembodied voice promoting the strengths of his own product. It is clear that people are influenced by those around them who seem to hold desirable authority positions, such as musicians and movie stars. While large companies often mimic this concept by featuring stars in their ads, influence marketing aims to entice these sorts of individuals without payment or promotion.

Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella’s book “Influence Marketing” has become a how-to handbook for this hot new technique. As the duo states in their book, “the internet and social media channels have created a world where everyone can be a news source, thought leader, and a potential influencer.” Marketing through social media hopes to target people based on context and relationship, such as the pages they visit and the content they read. Influence marketing takes this concept a step further by focusing on the individuals who are most likely to be a good influence via web-based means. The most successful marketers are the ones who can embrace this idea and use it to effectively reach out to their target individuals, creating a twenty-first century response to the clash between technology and advertising.

As “Influence Marketing” explains, the wisdom of the crowds is key. By bringing a product into the mainstream without forcing it on people, a collective body of individuals is more likely to read a marketing campaign almost like an idea they came to independently rather than a blatant advertising attempt. Influence marketing is undoubtedly the future of promotion. Is your company on board?

randy bowden – t | f | g+

(image:123RF)

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