Marketing to today’s consumers is like writing a choose-your-own-adventure book; so far gone are the days of the linear purchase cycle. Consumers are accessing information whenever and wherever they want from dozens of different devices. The average consumer might watch four commercials, see two print ads, speak with a friend (or five), and read three different reviews on three different websites about a single product before ever making a purchase.
The latest book from online marketing gurus Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella, Influence Marketing,describes this new environment, in which social media and other means of online communication are empowering consumers to turn to their peers and the public at large for advice on purchasing decisions. They are no longer dependent on the messages that brands feed them. So, how do we adapt?
One of the most important ideas presented to us in Influence Marketing is a new approach called “The Four M’s of Influence Marketing.” The Four M’s are an alternative to the Four P’s of Marketing which were originally introduced by E. Jerome McCarthy in the 1950’s: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. “While the Four P’s have helped shape business success for companies for more than half a century,” the authors write, “Today’s online savvy businesses and influencer marketing campaigns are increasingly marginalizing the guiding principles behind the Four P’s. Now it’s less about promotion and more about peer-to-peer or person-to-person; it’s less about place and more about relevance and context.”
The Four M’s will not replace the Four P’s. We will always need a strong strategy in order to sell a product. Instead, the Four M’s address the digital consumer to whom marketers are now selling and the disruptive factors that can occur around a campaign. Here are the Four M’s of Influence Marketing:
- Make – The first pillar is about making or identifying influencers during a campaign. Brown and Fiorella encourage marketers to focus on who is truly responsible for the virality of a campaign by performing a reverse engineering influence exercise. Most participants simply amplify a campaign’s message by Liking or Sharing a post or two, while a true influencer can mean the difference between campaign success and failure.
- Manage – The concept of managing a campaign is nothing new to marketers. In order to run a successful campaign, the details must be managed from the birth of an idea to long after the campaign itself ends. If something isn’t working, change it.
- Monitor – We are currently in the age of data overload thanks to social media and other interactions happening online. The upside of all of this data is that monitoring the success of a campaign is easier than ever. We have literally thousands of tools to help us determine where we’re gaining the best ROI, who is responsive to a message, and where things need to change.
- Measure – The authors consider this pillar to be the most important of the Four M’s. Unless you’re able to measure why and where a campaign was successful, you will not be able to replicate those results in the future – thus rendering all other efforts ineffective.
The concept of Influence Marketing is not new. Brands have been using various techniques to influence consumers’ purchasing habits for decades. But in the age of information and communication overload, the way we think about and leverage influencers must change. Have any of you successfully used the methodology outlined in Influence Marketing?