By Todd Murphy | April 14th, 2016
While it is true the next big buzz-phrase to be tossed around industry meetings for public relations and marketing is “influencer marketing”, this phrase has earned its place at the B2B table. Specific to my world, how does influencer marketing impact the choices organizations make when deciding on a trusted news monitoring or media measurement service? Anecdotally, it seems the impact is quite large.
- First we had pure advertising, and consumers bought what was advertised well.
- Next we had product placement that connected content and aspirations with products, and we bought it.
- Then, in no particular order we developed strategic marketing, refined public relations, and eventually social network engagement. In other words, where we started with advertising has now ended up as a much more social experience almost wholly dependant on trust of the business consumer. Procurement professionals and service subscribers are buying what they see others buying because there’s a level of trust.
In a recent post on Adweek.com we can see 10 powerful reasons why influencer marketing is working. To see all ten, read this article, it’s really quite good.
How we see this manifest itself in the sales/purchasing process for news monitoring and media measurement services is no different. I wouldn’t say the power of the testimonial has been diminished within the marketing materials of a service provider, but the interaction buyers have with peers is becoming more powerful. This is both good and bad for the service providers and the buyers.
When our company generates a critical mass of clients within an industry or geographic region, then we truly can benefit from the influence marketing our subscribers provide us. Their amplification of a positive experience is heard by their network of peers and this leads to more business within that industry or region.
The same is true for our competitors. When a potential subscriber bumps into 2-3 peers using a specific vendor, their instincts are often to give it a try. In their minds their subconscious is saying, “Well if they are all using it, it must be good.” This is where the outcome can go one of two ways. It will either turn out well for the subscriber, or it will be reflected upon as a huge mistake.
The reason that influence marketing can be good is that when a news monitoring service or PR Measurement company is providing flawless service and support, their clients exude enthusiasm. That drives more business. But, what if your objectives, goals, or budget are different from that of your peers. In this case the target service provider may be a very bad fit for you.
Specifically, we often see subscribers wooed by competitors who promise they can provide “print media”, what many call press clippings. In reality, only a few services can truly do this. In the United States only Burrelle’s/Luce and Universal Information Services, my company, deliver real press clippings as a national service. Other services can only deliver what is available on newspaper websites or through the aggregators like Lexis/Nexis. Reality Check: Comprehensive print media monitoring can’t be done via the web, no matter what a salesperson tells you. And print media is just one example of misleading sales.
The above problem scenario, what is delivered is different from what has been promised, is happening far too often in the news monitoring industry. One way to prevent this is to trust, but verify, that which you are pitched. Have the prospective vendor prove the deliverables, and then you must do your job and truly look at the results they are providing you. Are their results really the type you need? Are they as comprehensive as they claimed? Cold call their support lines to see if they are really as responsive as they claim. In other words, buyer beware remains true even in a world of influence marketing.
Word of mouth is nothing new. In our socially networked world, word of mouth is more powerful than ever. Be your own advocate and be careful how much faith you put in those who influence you. For more information on our services, or to discuss this post, visit us online…
…or simply call us. (402) 342-3178