Can we unlearn the notion that real market influencers are noisemakers?

Perhaps the single most damaging concept that’s emerged over the past couple of years in Influencer Marketing is that the most important influencers are those who are most prolific on Twitter. We know which company we have to thank for that notion. They were championed, then loudly criticized. I don’t think anyone now considers them ‘the standard for influence’, if they ever did. But much as the fire is out the smoke is still around.

‘Influencer Marketing’ has these days come to stand for mass-database platforms of tweeters and bloggers already writing about a given subject. That doesn’t make them influential, that just makes them noisy. And there’s no evidence that anyone was listening. A would-be prospective client called me the other day and began the conversation with “I’ve been researching plenty of companies who do what you do”! I had to bite my lip. As far as I know none do what we do.

You think 2014 might be the year when ‘Influencer Marketing’ reverses out of the cul-de-sac of ‘social influencer scoring’ and gets back to the intention we originally had for it – understanding who really influences buyer decision-making? Or maybe the name has been lost forever now and we need to create a new title for it? Maybe ‘Influencer Marketing’ has been subverted once too often.

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