Monday, January 08, 2007

Influencing the influential influencers

If you're like me, you're probably excited about the possibilities presented by word-of-mouth marketing, but are less certain about how to identify the influencers who will pass along their positive library experiences. We're not alone. Marketers are trying to answer the same question. I found a few pieces that address this topic that may help:

1. ClickZ mentions a study conducted by Yahoo! and comScore Networks that found that Brand Advocates (WOM spreaders) tend to spend more time online than non-advocates conducting searches and using social media. As the article states, "Researchers believe that as these advocates are investing more time and effort into their own decision making process, they are more compelled to talk about their purchases with others."

2. On Adotas, Jim Calhoun writes about a planning tool called a Viral Marketing Matrix in his piece, "Enter the Viral Marketing Matrix: Exploring the Template to Motivate Your Word-of-Mouth Revolution." The two dimensions of this matrix are Personal Appeal and Social Appeal (high/low). Simply stated, items of high personal appeal are things people want, and those of low personal appeal are unwanted. Similarly, items with high social appeal entail a social benefit; those with low social appeal entail a stigma. By figuring out where your services fall in this matrix, you can determine how to best present your message and what incentives you may need to offer. This approach appealed to me because I think library services can easily be thought of in these terms.

3. DoubleClick Inc., a digital marketing technology and services provider, released survey results in its report, Influencing the Influencers: How Online Advertising and Media Impact Word of Mouth (PDF). The study produced a number of interesting results, including the fact that "Influencers use more of all media, especially digital media. When building a marketing campaign that aims to reach influencers and tap the potential of word of mouth, digital media needs to be a critical part of the plan. Emerging media platforms such as online video, mobile web content, and blogs are also highly concentrated with influencers." Page 9 of the report lists recommended books for leveraging WOM.

Influencers are not necessarily the patrons who use our services the most. By learning about the characteristics of the patrons who influence others, we can better identify and engage them in our marketing efforts.

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