“The act of influencing requires a specific result: a change in thinking or behavior.”
Businesses these days are being sold “influence marketing”. It is presented as making targeted alignments with people or brands that have a large social media following. This is where we confuse Popularity with Influence.
What do you want from Influence Marketing? According to Forbes you want Reach, Contextual Credibility and Salesmanship. To keep this short and not bore you to death, you want to borrow on another entity’s REACH into the demographic you are looking to reach. You want that entity to already have credibility that they are willing to loan to you. And finally, you want the entity to have a sales style that will motivate people to think favorably about your product or service and then actively seek you out.
While you’re trying to wrap your head around this, let me tell you why you are already aware of this kind of thinking. It has been done for decades and for far less money on a cost per thousand basis than what you are now being shown. It’s called Radio. Yep. Radio. People have a favorite radio station. They like it because of the music or the announcer or the information. Whatever that is it keep 93% of all persons in the USA attached to radio each and every week of the year (feel free to check that, I’ll wait). 95% of Milennials listen to radio each week. 97% of Gen X, 98% of Boomers.
“(T)raditional AM/FM radio continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the American Public as a platform and is stronger than ever” -the Pew Research Center
I think that about covers the “Reach” part of the equation. As for Contextual Credibility, look at who some of the largest advertisers on radio are. They are the Who’s Who of business both in your town and on the national stage. Take the Government Employees Insurance Company. Started in 1936 just sixteen years after KDKA Pittsburg went on the air, GEICO is still using radio as a huge part of its marketing mix. So is Pepsi, Wells Fargo Bank, John Deere and hundreds of other national brands. They all draw credibility from each other which in turn builds the credibility of the radio station.
So we come down to salesmanship. Can radio as a medium sell? All you have to do is pick a station and listen to the ads. Go back to the paragraph above and think about those companies. If radio did not sell, why would these brands keep pushing money at the medium.
Influencer Marketing is not new. Influencer marketing on the Internet through any number of platforms is. If you want to launch a campaign of Influencer Marketing you need to find the platform and the “influencer” that Reach… and I’m talking reach in the 10’s to 100’s of thousands of people. You need to find the Contextual Credibility. Before you attach yourself to the latest upshot of the Internet, read up on hundreds of times brands had to distance themselves from some influencer because of their behavior (Kathy Griffin, Matt Lauer, Tiger Woods and Paula Deene just to name a few). And finally you need the consent and the ability to sell. Justin Beeber can pose for an ad in underwear, but can he present diversified portfolio analysis to a Boomer with a 401K and six figures in T-Bills.
Before you spend a dime in any kind of internet influencer marketing do some research on your own. And try the Slimehead next time you go to dinner!
Chris Rolando is the Marketing Director for Pitzer’s One Hour Air Conditioning and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Western AZ and a radio advertising sales veteran, manager, and trainer.