Remember Conan O’Brien’s tour, and how he launched it with one Tweet? Think about how much commerce is initiated now through the recommendation of friends through social media. These are examples of Influence Marketing.
I recently had the opportunity to exchange a few emails with Azeem Azhar, the CEO of a startup called PeerIndex that is focused on “Influence Marketing”. Founded in 2009, the company provides a service that helps consumers benefit from their passions, interests and influence particularly with respect to the services they get from companies and for brands and agencies to better identify effective and interested word-of-mouth advocates, something they call “Influencers”. It’s a service similar to the other big player in the place, Klout, with a unique spin.
According to Azhar “Influence marketing is going to be huge – and will become an essential part of the marketing mix over the coming years. In essence, influence marketing recognises that buyers trust other buyers, their friends and experts they know. “
A recent McKinsey report shed light on the trend indicating that word-of-mouth recommendations may be the primary reason for purchases in 20-50% of buying decisions. Further adding to the buzz, Forrester stated that 80% of all B2C and B2B purchases there is some form of word-of-mouth recommendation at play during the purchase cycle. If venture funding is any indication of the success, Klout, with its more than $40 million, leads the pack of companies looking to capitalize on this fast growing trend. Yet Klout isn’t alone in this fast moving sector. Several other start-up companies are quickly adding their own unique approaches.
We’ll see of this particular startup does anything, but the idea of influence marketing through social media is something that every company needs to consider.