Marketers understandably put a lot of energy into identifying their most influential customers: the customers who are often the first to try new products, have large social networks, and are most vocal in talking up (or down) their experiences online and offline. They chat with friends, post online user reviews, and rate everything they experience. In looking to identify those influential customers that hold the key to the all-important viral effect, it seems obvious that these hyperactive customers would sit at the top of the list.

The reality, however, is that these customers are not necessarily any more influential in swaying the purchase behavior of their networks than those with smaller networks and softer voices.

In fact, it is a different subset of customers that truly serves as the everyday influencers, with much greater impact on peer purchase behavior.

Pursways work with multiple companies in telecommunications, retail, and financial services shows that the real influencers are:

NOT the people that post the most.
NOT the people that have the most connections.
NOT the people most vocal about their opinions.

Furthermore, the opinion leaders are also:

NOT the celebrities.
NOT the early adopters.

The influencers are you and me, our family members, friends, and colleagues. There is no super influencer. Rather, influence is specific to each subject. You may be an influencer when it comes to choosing a restaurant, while your spouse could be the influencer in selecting a phone service.

  • Everyday influencers typically represent 715% of the customer population.
  • Everyday influencers typically impact actual purchase behavior of 3-10 of their followers, including family members, coworkers, and friends.
  • Everyday influencers typically have significant influence in three to five specific subject areas.
  • Everyday influencers typically are more interested and knowledgeable about your products and services.

 

And, most important:

Everyday influencers typically have no demographic, social network behavior, product adoption, or other general characteristics that distinguish them from the broader population.

Identifying the everyday influencers is more difficult than simply finding those customers with the most connections or the biggest megaphone. But it is the everyday influencers that impact purchase behavior the most. For Influencer Marketing to work well, finding the true everyday influencers is key number one to success. The second key is knowing how to communicate with the influencers and motivate them to exert their influential powers in a manner that serves all parties – the company, the influencer, and the followers. More on that in a future post.