The Influencer: A Consumer Voice With Legs

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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
 
These are trying times for marketers. Budget restrictions require they accomplish more with less, while at the same time consumers are increasingly difficult to engage. Marketers face the arduous task of generating greater sales returns on smaller advertising allowances and connecting to a broader public with fewer resources. All the while, an increasing number of channels are vying for the shopper’s interest, creating unprecedented competition.
 
Against this backdrop, consumers have become exceptionally savvy, ferreting out third-party information on products before investigating a brand’s own material. Oftentimes, this means seeking out recommendations from others, online or in person, before making a purchase decision.
 
So how, in this arena, do marketers leverage their limited resources in a way that translates to higher product sales and brand recognition? Extensive research indicates it is pretty straightforward: Word of Mouth, an approach that harnesses the innate behavior of a unique group of consumers, known as influencers, who are willing to extend the reach of your efforts through talkability.

While the concept of WOM is not new, the power of influencers and their ability to spread word about products they like is still largely untapped. Further, the potential to extend their impact into emerging frontiers, such as social media, presents a largely uncharted territory for growth.
 
The challenge, then, lies in tapping this rich resource. Marketers have, after all, been aware of influencers for some time, and a general profile has existed. But ICOM’s research adds elements of detail that alter what had been the prevailing concept of this segment. These findings give influencers a multi-dimensional quality that illuminates not just who they are, but how they act.
 
Its analysis shows:
• Consumers are influencers strictly within product categories, not across them all – a departure from common thinking
• Few commonalities exist within influencer demographics - they cross gender, age, income levels and channels
• Influencers have a tendency to do their talking in person – at the kitchen table, in the grocery aisle or on the phone but opportunities exist to take their message to new realms, such as social media
 
 
 
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