What are the benefits of a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Effective personalisation is only ever as good as the quality and breadth of your data.

Disparate data and incomplete records leave many businesses unable to join up the dots and build meaningful customer segments. Without these, effective personalisation may not be possible.

The answer? A single customer view made possible by a Customer Data Platform (CDP). In this blog post, we explain what a CDP is and why you need one.

 

What is a Customer Data Platform?

A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a database for marketers that provides a single view of all your customer data. It does away with silos and brings together data from every customer service and marketing channel your business has.

A CDP brings together:

  • online transactions
  • in-store purchases
  • contact profile
  • location data
  • website behaviour
  • email engagement

A CDP aims to enable true cross-channel personalisation and customer journey automation. To provide the fully rounded view of your customers needed to do this, it integrates with your existing CRM and eCommerce platform which allows you to analyse and act on everything you’ve learned about your customers, in one place.

Implementing a CDP ensures your campaign personalisation is based on a comprehensive understanding of how your customers behave. Increased engagement and conversions are a natural result.

 

Benefits of a Customer Data Platform

A CDP provides several obvious benefits. To help you build a business case, we explore each one in this section.

 

Saving time

Having a CDP saves time. Taking different data points from multiple marketing and customer service channels every time you want to build a campaign is time-consuming and cumbersome.

A CDP integrates with your CRM and multiple other channels, bringing together all your data automatically which makes a single customer view accessible instantly and creates dynamic segmentation.

 

Working with big data

Working with large datasets is tricky at the best of times. But in some instances what you hope to achieve might not even be possible without a CDP.

Spreadsheet applications like Excel are great at manipulating small datasets, but if you’re working with big data, you’re going to find it extremely difficult to do basic filtering. You’ll likely run into memory issues, errors and slow down. Excel might even grind to a complete halt as it struggles under the weight of your data.

Excel also has limits on the number of columns and rows which means you’ll need to split your database multiple times and repeat the same task over and over. The key limitation though is that your data will always be a snapshot, dynamic updates as engagement changes will not be possible.

How do we define big data? If you’ve got over 100,000 contacts in your database, then you’re going to need to upgrade from a spreadsheet to a CDP.

 

Avoiding personalisation fails

When you try something clever with personalisation—but get key information wrong—you often make things worse than not personalising at all and can easily cause your contacts to disengage.

For example, you may email product recommendations that include something your customer just bought in store. Without a CDP, there is a real risk of this happening.

This kind of personalisation-fail makes it clear to the customer that your messages are automated and poorly-segmented. Not only may this irritate them, but it could make them unsubscribe completely.

 

Matching multiple data points about one customer

When you have a bunch of disparate data sources, you can end up with duplicate records for the same customer. Each may contain parts of the puzzle that need to be pieced together to personalise for them in a meaningful way.

A CDP joins the dots for you, matching customer identities from different devices and channels. It combines this with real-time website and in-store data to give you an accurate, up-to-date view of your customers in one place.

 

Analysing your audience

A CDP gives you instant access to consolidated cross-channel data, meaning you can analyse consumer behaviour and answer key questions about your audience.

For example:

  • Who are your most loyal customers?
  • Which products are popular with certain demographics?
  • Who hasn’t made a purchase recently?
  • Which customers are coming to the end of their subscription?

 

Building real-time behavioural segments

When it comes to personalisation, a CDP means you can build segments based on real-time behavioural data.

This advanced segmentation is the cornerstone of behavioural marketing. It ensures customers receive timely, contextually relevant messages that they find engaging.

 

Increasing revenue

Running effective customer journey automation from a CDP allows you to grow customer engagement and therefore gives you the capability to promote them through the desired lifecycle with your brand, improving both customer experience and conversions.

Not only this, but next-level personalisation makes consumers feel more connected to your brand, building loyalty, promoting advocacy and boosting customer lifetime value.

The optimal outcome being a bigger return on your marketing investment and a more profitable and accountable marketing operation.

 

Improving reporting

A CDP also allows you to measure and report more easily. Having cross-channel data in one place makes calculating important marketing KPI’s much simpler.

When you don’t have to spend ages creating reports, you have more time to analyse them, allowing you to pinpoint areas to improve and continually build on your success.

 

Takeaway

A Customer Data Platform (CDP) allows you to access, analyse, and act on everything you know about your customers which means you can do more with your data and personalise your marketing in increasingly nuanced and effective ways.

The potential results are improved customer experiences, more conversions, increased customer loyalty, and more revenue.

Without a Customer Data Platform (CDP), it is hard for marketers to reach their full potential.

Contact us if you’d like to find out how a CDP can help your business.

Successful marketing is about a framework, not campaigns

I’ve spent the last two and half decades as a marketer, with a focus on digital. In the beginning, digital actually meant anything online or website as the remit was very broad, e.g. Any of the new stuff around the internet, online advertising, paid search, email and search engine optimisation that nobody else knew about or wanted responsibility for!

This traditional view of the role also encompassed creative disciplines such as copywriting and image manipulation, as well as testing like UX (User experience) and CRO (conversion rate optimisation). It was implied that everything you did could be tracked and success evidenced, it was the birth of data analytics and performance marketing.

Add social and content marketing to the mix and the complexity becomes onerous, leading to teams of marketers with functional responsibility only.

In my opinion, digital is now a term that transcends technology and is viewed as the marketing discipline that is responsible for marshalling all these disparate functions to deliver cohesive marketing operations.

To be a true digital marketer, however, you need to have the right mindset. it’s not just about doing stuff, it’s doing the right stuff for a reason and aiming for the desired outcome. Therefore, you need a methodology or framework as a backbone to provide the required structure to this complexity. Marketers love simplifying complexity with models, it provides the necessary comfort to position their activities and efforts in the context of the overall business objectives.

The conversion funnel is my preferred model, and I truly believe that if any of your marketing activities or marketing spend is not supporting customers moving further through the funnel, you shouldn’t be doing it!

It’s all about Customer Lifecycle marketing, and optimising Recency | Frequency | Monetary values to get them to buy regularly, buy more often and spend more. Segmentation becomes critical, as you cannot send compelling communications if you don’t know who you’re talking to and what motivates them.

Marketing is fundamentally very simple, find out what people want and then give it to them. As long as you can do that at a profit, you’ve got a viable business. The same concept can be applied to each interaction you have with a customer, does the planned activity grow the conversation or their awareness of the product/brand. If yes, then you have a viable contact strategy that is aligned to business revenue targets.

So, it’s not just about martech tools, promotions or big brand campaigns, unless those activities are aligned with the marketing framework that supports the marketing strategy.

Good luck with the framework for your own company, once you’ve got the methodology and process rigour in place, choose the right martech to support your vision that enables you to do more with less!

Give me an email if you’d like some help with this: David.judd@hivemarketingcloud.com.

Do you understand how to fulfil a need?

Marketers create products to fulfil a market need, or at least they think they do. To be able to fulfil a need we have to be able to pinpoint this need, without doing so it’s just an idea. But where do needs come from? Let’s start with a very famous model, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow suggested there are 5 levels of needs, with the very basic primitive ones such as food and shelter at the bottom, moving all the way up to empowering customers at the top. We need to know what tier we are fulfilling with our products, and whether customers in our target market have fulfilled the previous tiers, otherwise they won’t be interested in us. For example, a low-income household won’t be interested in buying a £100,000 piece of art, a self-actualisation piece, they’ll be focusing on tiers 2 and 3 keeping their job and staying in touch with friends. It’s all about knowing your consumer and their situation.

 

Psychology

The impact of the psychology behind customer behaviour is HUGE. No one will ever be able to know it all, but what you can do is focus on the key motivators behind the decision-making process. Knowing what drives your consumers is pivotal in marketing to them, without knowing this you could end up spending large amounts of money on something that doesn’t work. Over the evolution of marketing many different proposals have been created, for example, Taylor focused on money as the key factor for motivation, and people’s disposable income provided from their employment while the Theory of Reasoned Action focuses on the outcome of the purchase.

 

Taylor’s motivation theory

Taylor suggested customers would be motivated by price, for example, if you sent them a 20% voucher this would motivate them to buy. This is obviously very applicable in the modern world; many studies have found a causal effect between voucher codes and increase in sales. However, is this the strategy we want to employ? Not only does it reduce the profit made per item sold, but also changes the positioning of the brand.

Taylor’s motivation theory has been found to increase the short-term sales, but not the long term. There is the potential for customers to only buy when there is a deal on, then the cycle intensifies because you don’t sell when there isn’t a deal, so you put another deal on sooner than you planned to increase sales but then the cycle is in full flow. Because you’re operating with discounts all the time your margins are lower, so this puts more pressure on the operations and buying functions as they need to supply you with more to sell. Although an increase in sales sounds attractive, there are several risks and considerations to be made before employing this strategy.

However, you can now employ MarTech solutions to combat the limitations of this theory, for example by utilising customer journey automation you can reduce the number of people that receive discount codes to only the ones who need it to purchase. This allows you to develop different campaigns to re-engage defecting and sleeping consumers without needing to offer the discount to those who will remain active without it.

 

Theory of Reasoned Action

When customers are looking to buy something, they are doing so with the intention of receiving an outcome, the theory suggests. Our job as marketers is to show customers what our product can do for them. A good example of this is Lynx deodorant. The purpose of deodorant is to make you smell nice right? Well, Lynx took that to another level, showing how Lynx makes beautiful women become attracted to you. This is the theory of reasoned action in play. People want that outcome, so they buy Lynx.

 

Conclusion

These theories offer food for thought, you don’t need to manipulate them all, but you need to know which ones you’re looking to take advantage of and the forces in play that might hinder your strategy. If you would like to discuss how these are relevant for your business drop me an email: joel.rowbottom@hivemarketingcloud.com.

Who deserves your attention?

Every marketer and their dog is aware of the importance of knowing their customers and sending them the right message, but what tools are in place for them to do this? What can we actually use to monitor them and choose how to target them? Resources are often spread thin and struggle to be managed effectively. This highlights the importance to develop the back-end assets, the planning and development of documents which outline exactly what the objectives are and what needs to be done to achieve these.

For example, an account-based marketing plan lays the foundation for content to be created to target different buying personas, and what each persona requires at every relevant stage of the buying cycle?

 

Here I have created a tool for analysing existing customers, and the basis for strategic planning to target each section. I have chosen the two key metrics that affect a marketing orientated company, value and frequency of purchases. Value relates to the average monetary spend of each purchase while frequency relates to how many times they have purchased. These metrics were chosen as they are utilised by every business-to-consumer (B2C) organisation.

Use of model

Through the use of this model, it is easily identifiable who requires different campaigns and the grouping of particular segments. Marketers can find inconsistencies in their activity where one segment receives full attention, and another receives none. This can alienate segments and allow the relationship to be broken and see customers defecting. By applying this model time will be split effectively to nurture each segment to develop the relationship and maximise the returns from this.

 

This model offers marketers the chance to place different market segments into the quadrants and identify who requires what. It effectively links the overarching aims with the content plan and provides a basis for which different plans can be created. Without applying the correct amount of resources to different levels of consumers, revenue will not be maximised, and a lower ROI will be achieved.

 

Implications

This value-frequency model has implications for organisations who offer both high and low-value goods, as customers at different ends of the spectrum are reactive to different material and this needs to be defined before content is distributed. For example, a retail organisation will need to put significant time into developing loyalty with high-value customers as the nature of the industry involves a high turnover of customers, extending their customer lifetime value is pivotal. This can be done through relationship nurturing, personalising the messages that are sent to them and ensuring they are relevant and in line with the customer persona. On the other hand, customers with a low purchase value but high frequency can effectively be managed by mass-market social media activity, as they only need inspiration and can be influenced easily.

 

Conclusion

When devising a content strategy, applying relevant models and frameworks provides stability and clarity, though it does rely heavily on your ability to effectively segment your audience, so you may need to research a Customer Data Platform (CDP) if you haven’t already got one in place.

It becomes easily visible to all members of the organisation which direction the company is going in and what needs to be produced for which segment. This allows clear targeting to be conducted and the utilisation of company resources for quantitative results.

Business-2-Business (B2B) Lead Scoring – A methodology for success

There has long been a territory war between sales and marketing teams on what constitutes a qualified lead or opportunity, and as with most things in business nowadays we have ended up with acronyms! A Marketing Qualified lead is an MQL and a Sales Qualified Lead is an SQL, simple stuff obviously, but the devil lies in the detail and in this case the underlying definitions.

 

The following paper will provide a framework and methodology for marketers to score any new prospects or leads and define the processes and content types required to nurture them to a point where they can be handed off to the Sales team to close the opportunity.

 

How do you score a lead?

All prospects and leads can be defined by how much you know about them and how interested they are in your brand, this is called their Profile and Engagement.

Both the Profile and Engagement can be quantified by specific criteria, which you can agree between your Sales and Marketing teams.

The prospect Profile is explicit criteria – information that’s provided intentionally by the person (e.g., via a registration form or survey) and taken at face value, rather than analysed or interpreted for further meaning.

The following are examples of explicit criteria you should consider:

  • Company
  • Location
  • Business type/industry
  • Revenue
  • Number of employees
  • Lead source
  • Title/job role
  • Level of responsibility
  • Purchase authority

 

The prospect Engagement criteria are implicit – information that’s NOT provided intentionally and; thus, can only be derived from analysis of their actions.

The following are examples of implicit data you should consider:

  • Website visits – Number and type/category of pages visited, frequency/length of visits, referral sites
  • Phone calls – If your automation platform is integrated with your CRM system, custom fields can be created to categorise different types of phone calls and assign points to them
  • Content interactions/media downloads – Views and/or downloads of articles, press releases, white papers, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc.
  • Subscriptions – Requests for newsletters, RSS feeds, other digital notifications for ongoing content
  • Webinar attendance – Number of webinars registered for, number of webinars attended, topics
  • Form completions – For demos, contact, surveys, questionnaires
  • Offline/custom events – Trade shows attended, other types of physical events

 

This list is not exhaustive, it just offers a basis of what you should consider including, the variables will be dependent on each individual organisation and what you value.

 

Once you have defined the criteria that are required to qualify a lead for your brand, you can assign each a numerical value to generate a relative importance or weighting. A suggested grid is listed below:

Each of the relevant criteria for a specific lead can then be tabulated and a total points score generated for Profile and Engagement. This is then mapped against the lead scoring grid to identify the alphanumeric value, e.g. a Profile where you know the company, business type, job title, job level and purchase authority will give a score of 90. An Engagement where they have only visited the website gives a score of 15.

The lead score would then be D1.

Once the lead score is defined it is important to know what to do for each box on the grid. There are obviously options to pass to Sales, qualify further, nurture or drop.

 

The grid and legend below then identify the specific action required.

 

The methodology provides the much needed rigour and definition for both Sales and Marketing, and a clear course of action for Marketing.

The methodology works best when overlaid with a strong Customer Data Platform (CDP) and journey automation as the engine of an Account Based Marketing strategy. Prospects will then be targeted with relevant actions or content based on their persona or stage of the buying cycle they are in.

 

Logical stuff, but you need to ensure the process is operationalised so that the qualification criteria are consistent and the funnel is efficient!

Data-driven marketing – what, why and how

Marketers are forever seeking the holy grail of marketing, striving to focus their efforts towards a segment of one, where they can be sure that their message matches the intended audience and the content/context metric is perfectly balanced. The pursuit of this goal is by no means trivial and requires the right people and processes in place, along with the right tools to be able to deliver the strategy.

To figure out the why and how we first need to define the what – “Data-driven marketing is the process by which marketers glean insights and trends by analysing company-generated or market data, then translating these insights into actionable decisions informed by the numbers. The goal of data-driven marketing is to optimise marketing processes and strategies to cater to changing trends and the unique demands of audiences and consumers by leveraging data to gain deeper insight into what customers want.”
Ngdata.com, July 2018.

This is the fundamental definition of Marketing in its simplest form – figure out what people want and give it to them – the data-driven piece allows you to be more granular with your targeting, fulfilling the quest for “segment of one”.

The analysis and insight of the data should allow the marketer to become almost prescient, within the confines of their brand and products, and enable them to predict the “next best action” to promote the customer engagement along the desired customer lifecycle. Personalisation is the key to growing engagement, and this comes from knowing all about your customer and what they have done to date. If you are capturing data about your customers, then you are duty-bound to use as much of that data as you can to provide the most personalised experience to meet and exceed their expectations.

Theory and practice can often differ greatly, consumer data comes from a variety of sources, from surveying consumers directly, to secondary sources such as social media, web browsing, search behaviours, or even measured device preference. With all those information sources available, the sheer volume of data generated each day alone is overwhelming for many marketing teams. But data-driven marketing strategies and delivery tools are the most effective and efficient way to create content that will resonate with customers and ensure that the message is highly personalised. So, there are some challenges and it takes a lot of time and effort to come up with a data-driven marketing strategy, but it is well worth it.

So, what to do next, how do you build the best data-driven marketing strategy. Use the following steps to start the process or to enhance an existing strategy.

  1. Commit

Change is painful, but the rewards are clear, so once you decide to follow the strategy your organisation must commit the time and resources necessary to see it through. It’s incredibly difficult to develop a well-defined path forward, without putting in the time. Processes will need an overhaul and you may need to review your organisational operating model.

 

  1. Integrate & Automate

As mentioned above, the sheer volume of data that customers produce every day can be overwhelming for even the most robust marketing teams to collect and becomes exponentially more difficult to analyse effectively. Without a specialist database or Customer Data Platform marketers won’t have the appropriate data required to create a view of the customer profile and engagement. There is also the challenge of linking offline and online activity data to ensure physical location sales and mobile browsing can all be integrated into a single customer view. However, by implementing new marketing automation tools and technology into their strategy, marketers can spend less time analysing their data to find segments, and more time optimising these segments building quality creative and highly personalised marketing campaigns.

It is important to note though that not all marketing automation tools will give the required capability, with triggered campaigns at the lower end and automated customer journeys at the top end, you’ll need to choose what supports your strategy. Being able to track signals, interactions and events in real time is the only way you’ll be able to respond with relevant content when your customer wants and needs it.

 

  1. Get appropriate talent

This can be one of the most difficult tasks to complete when dealing with emerging technology and new business processes. Recently, however, there has been a convergence on traditional marketing disciplines and IT with more people classing themselves as marketing technologists. This new breed of marketer has skills in marketing, business analysis and query logic. It is not critical to find talent that can undertake all the tasks in isolation, but it is important to find someone that can successfully orchestrate all the constituent parts effectively.

 

  1. Collaborate

Organisations will be collecting data from different departments for their individual business goals that may contradict each other so, it is important to ensure data is shared and works across the organisation and that those top-level business objectives are aligned. This could be achieved with cross-departmental teams, but it is more efficient to ensure that the data is of a high quality and integrated to successfully implement data-driven marketing.

 

  1. Imitate

Competitor awareness and analysis are important, you will undoubtedly learn a lot about what to do, and conversely, what not to do from how other brands run their strategies. Marketers should also take on the role of staying up-to-date with the latest trends and changes in data-driven marketing to help their own brand’s strategy.

 

  1. Rinse and repeat

Test and learn is the mantra of the successful data-driven marketer, campaigns are created and delivered to achieve a specific objective. If the desired objective is not reached, the framework created provides the ability for analysis to identify what needs changing. Marketers can learn what is most, or least, effective and pivot, optimise, and experiment accordingly. This will allow teams to effectively target the right audience, by providing personalised content that persistently resonates with them.

Continually and consistently measuring engagement and impact helps the brand stay focused on the business and campaign goals but has the added benefit of tracking ROI and providing evidence to gain ongoing buy-in from leadership.

 

And finally, the Why. You will never know everything about your customers, but by having a strong data-driven framework in place, you will at least capture the bits of information they want you to use. It is now your responsibility as an ethical marketer to use as much of that data as you can to deliver the most relevant and contextual message to grow the conversation and their engagement with your brand.

We are in the age of 1-2-1 marketing so being able to gain insight on a segment of one allows your brand to stay relevant with your audience and gives them a reason to love you and become an advocate – the desired endgame for most marketers – and the most beneficial for your organisation.

 

Who’s actually in control of the purchase?

It’s all good a customer booking a holiday, but the real value comes from them booking a second, third and so forth. Retained customers are worth 5x more than obtaining new customers. To get them to this stage we need to understand the drivers and factors affecting their purchase decision. When considering a high value purchase there are several roles that affect the decision. This is where the Decision Making Unit (DMU) comes into play.

 

Depending on the industry operated in, there are different levels of complexity within the DMU. An organisation operating in the B2C environment will have a simpler DMU that needs to be manipulated than a B2B organisation. There are six key roles that are prominent across DMU’s which can be seen below:

 

For example, for a family looking to go on holiday, friends may be the initiators but the kids will have a heavy influence on the deciders, the parents. So what weighting do we apply to target each role? Do we focus on the kids and hope their pushing power is enough to influence the deciders enough to make a purchase? Or do we only focus on the decider as they hold the purse strings? These considerations are all used when creating a roadmap for your consumers, where do they start, where do they go along the way and where do they finish.

 

So how do we use this properly? The answer is there is no magic formula, but there are several different strategies we can employ. For example, drip feeding content, targeting relevant material towards the influencers to develop a level of excitement then tailored material to the decider, highlighting the price of the holiday and such. Understanding this framework offers established roles where individuals can be placed, and different journeys mapped out, all with the target of converting them into a customer. Once the journeys for the roles are mapped out, they can be utilised across business offerings with there only being the need for tweaked content.

 

There are key points to consider before implementing this model within marketing strategy, like what weighting do you apply to each role? How important are the influencers and what characteristics do the buyers hold? Once these initial plans are put in place then targeted campaigns can be created and implemented, and you’ll find that this personalisation will reap almost immediate rewards.

 

If you would like to discuss this further feel free to drop me an email at joel.rowbottom@hivemarketingcloud.com or find me on LinkedIn here!

 

 

Influencer marketing, is it just clever people conning us out of money?

Influencer marketing has taken over the online marketing environment, everyone is doing it. And how are they doing it? That’s what I’m going to do here, explain and pull apart the key aspects and strategies that are now being employed.

 

Power

Would you take political advice from a footballer? When writing an opinion led piece, we need to have power, without power our opinion will be overlooked. In the age of influencer marketing it is imperative to understand where someone’s influence comes from. Why can they influence us and how do they influence us? Why are certain people effective and yet I’m not? These are all questions we as marketers are baffled by on a daily basis. Here I will dissect the phenomenon of influencer marketing. Anyone and everyone is an influencer, ever posted a tweet? Or tagged your friend in a funny dog meme? You’re an influencer, you’ve appeared on multiple people’s timelines and affected what they see and what they think of it. What do they think of you? That’s probably affected the content they saw because of you. If they like you they’ll like the content, if they don’t like you they wont like the content, even if it was the same.

 

The first point we subconsciously take note of is power. Power first affects the way we perceive the message, like is it rewarding? Is the Queen making me do something? Almost 60 years ago, psychologists French and Raven developed their 5 bases of power and now it holds more relevance than ever.

Referent and expert power are the holy grail for influence marketers, these relate to the attractiveness and expertise of the individual and what is required to gain any kind of result. Legitimate and coercive power comes from people with the authority to enforce change like the government or council, but you don’t want this. Who wants their customers to HAVE to do something, no-one, we want customers to make their own decision, or at least we think we do.

 

However, what everyone uses is reward power, how often do you see people on Instagram and Twitter offering money off for using the code ‘Joel10’? All the time. This comes from the combination of reward power and the heavily documented motivation theory from Taylor, that states the only thing anyone cares about is money. And is he wrong? If so why is the primary marketing strategy all based around price? We as consumers love a bargain, so an influencer strategy from a sales-oriented company will be centred around this. High turnaround brands with small margins will take on board this strategy and look to shift mass volumes of product to keep their revenues high.

 

The other main strategy that influencer marketing is used for is brand awareness. A simple Instagram post from someone using your product immediately puts you in front of their followers and they then are aware of your product, whether they consciously explore it, or it subconsciously drips into their mind for future recall. This is common in high prestige items, where they want to keep their high-end positioning in the market so don’t want to devalue their brand.

 

Celebrity Endorsement Theory

When firms select an influencer there are a number of factors they need to consider such as will the influencer overpower our brand? Do they hold values we want people to associate with our brand? Are they a relevant fit for us? There isn’t a correct answer for these questions, it’s all dependent on the marketers wants and strategy. But there are certain considerations that need to be made, for example academics have investigated the Vampire Effect. This is when the endorser overshadows the brand and takes the limelight instead of your product that they are supposed to be highlighting. Putting this into perspective, David Beckham would definitely overpower my sister-in-law’s lemonade stand she set up on the corner, everyone would be interested in him and she wouldn’t make any money, poor girl.

 

However, a way to combat this has been explored through the Match-Up Hypothesis. This states that to reduce the vampire effect, we can select an influencer who is a relevant fit for the organisation. You know you see all those beautiful people who obviously love their fitness promoting diet plans, protein supplements and such? That’s the match-up hypothesis in action. Makes consumers think “Wow they look good, if that works for them it’ll work for me” when in reality we know they’ve probably never used these things in their life.

 

The next thing to consider is the attitudes and values of the person you’re choosing to influence people on behalf of your brand. Consumers often transfer their thoughts on an influencer onto the brand they’re supporting, McCracken investigated this and proposed Meaning Transfer Theory. This suggests that individuals who support brands put an aspect of themselves into the brand identity. Take Emma Watson for example, she holds many admirable values and works as a female rights activist so if you used her to promote your product, these values would transfer.

 

What can we do?

What to do to break the mould?

 

Well there’s a reason they made the mould, it works. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a new mould, a mould that breaks the monopoly held over the strategy.

 

The principles used in a B2C influencer strategy differ heavily from the B2B environment. Reward power means little, expert power rules the roost, and this is where marketers fall short. B2B marketers focus heavily on the knowledge and functionality aspects and even though these are the more important functions, we are essentially governed by how we perceive things. The reality means little, perception rules. Even though we operate in a B2B environment where knowledge is key, we’re all ruled by emotion right? It’s still an individual you’re targeting at the end of the day and they want to be made to feel like a king or queen, as we all do. We just need to be smart.

 

My proposal for those looking into utilising an influencer strategy is to be simple and smart. Work smarter not harder, take apart your brand, values and identify individuals who hold similar values. The major metric used is followers, but disregard this and throw it out the window. If you get put in front of 50,000 people but only 10 are interested, you will have paid a lot of money to get in front of those 10 people. Focus on low following opinion leaders, an expert in your field with strong connections and a following of 200 people is going to be so much more valuable to you and it’ll save you an arm and leg to get you the same results.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment or drop me an email at joel.rowbottom@hivemarketingcloud.com or even message me on LinkedIn!