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Influencing the influencer………

Influencing the influencer….


Who is an influencer you ask? Well this is usually a person, someone who has “influence” over you or a group of people in the decisions you or they make.

This is relevant not only in terms of marketing, but is also very relevant in the work place.

Let’s look at an example from both the marketing world and the world of work. Then maybe we’ll all be in a better position to understand this person and how important they are to us.

Marketing: The image above sums a lot of this up. In marketing we’re trying to find the person who has the power to influence you into buying our products and services.

There’s a lot of talk about Facebook and other social networking sites being the holy grail of influence marketing. All you need to do is jump on and recommend a product to a friend. Hey presto Sale!

But, and its looking like a pretty big but, this isn’t as straight forward as it first seems or seemed.

Whilst a friend can be an influence on your buying decision and recommend a purchase, particular for purchase online where someone wants that extra push to buy due to trust issues, research and talk is questioning if this influence is enough.

A true person of influence could be a friend or I’m arguing could be a person who is or can be perceived as a friend but with the experience in the usage of the product or service you’re interested in buying.

Let me explain. I like biking, tour de France style. When I’m looking at purchasing something online (or offline for that matter) for my bike, I look to my friends for recommendations. But what gets me over the line (depending on the product and price) to purchase is an influencer. Someone who is on a forum or even an experienced semi well known person who has used the product and gives me a through run down on its suitability, with honesty, even if they work or are endorsing that company and its products.

So I supposed this is or can be considered, a two staged influencing process…mmm…. Stage 1 friend recommends and influences to look at the relevant web site or visit the store. Stage 2, second influencer, the well experienced, trusted user of the product, pushes me over the line for the purchase. Light Bulb moment – 2 influencers, not one, there’s a thought??

Workplace: Very different, but is this so far from what I’ve discussed in the marketing example?

Let’s take a sales role as an example. Are you, as a sales person talking to the right person? Are they the ultimate buyer, yes? Or, yes they are but will they have outside influences on the purchase.

Give you an example. Back in the day, another time and place in the past, where at times I would have a sales role within my own business, for larger clients.

Well my company and in particular myself, naively I must say, spent many, many, days hours, weeks courting a new client. We thought we were having our discussions with the ultimate “decision maker”. He was extremely happy with the price, service, people, everything. He was ready to buy and did. The snag was that he only used our services a tiny bit. The total contract he had the ultimate decision on was for hundreds and thousands of dollars, in fact over a million dollars a year, we got a few thousand dollars a month worth of work. What was wrong??

We, I, tried all sorts of things, regular meetings, offered to place our own staff into his business, dedicated customer service staff, and so on.

After many months of continued and failed negotiation we settled for the slice of the pie we were given.

Looking back the reason we had so little work form him was the influencers within his business.

He had customer service staff and warehouse operations staff who where in the front line. They had to deal with us on a day to day bases. Guess what….. they didn’t like ….you got it change. They were very happy to put up with the mediocre service that they were receiving from their present suppliers and did not want to change. They “influenced” the ultimate buyer into not giving us all of their business.

The moral is that we should have spoken to the “influencer’s” as well as the ultimate decision maker, found a way to get everyone on board from the start.

So in Marketing or in the world work you need to know who the influencer is or are and focus your efforts on them.

Let me know your thoughts and your experiences, similar, same or is it, what is he’s talking about?, please let me know and put me straight or join the conversation.

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