Category Archives: Thought Leadership

Pushing the boundaries of Customer Listening

Thinking about Influencer Marketing

As we are now implementing the OpenMic Influencer Identification Algorithms, we want to provide some suggestions as to what you’d do with them once you’ve found them – in the meantime, here are some notes on related articles:

Influencer Marketing Guidelines

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) defines an INFLUENCER as a person who has a greater than average reach or impact through word of mouth in a relevant marketplace. And INFLUENCER MARKETING as when a marketer identifies, seeks out, and engages with influencers in support of a business objective.

WOMMA also identifies 5 broad categories of influencer (from formal to informal) – 

1) Formal Position of Authority (e.g. Political / Business leaders)
2) Subject Matter Experts (e.g. Academics, Scientists, Authors)
3) Media Elite (e.g. Journalists, Talk Show Hosts)
4) Cultural Elite (e.g. Celebrities, Designers, Musicians)
5) Socially Connected (Community members, Business Networkers)

WOMMA’s Influencer Marketing Guidelines provides a set of best practices for running influencer campaigns – here are the items that I found most valuable:

1. Understand the influencer’s point of view before engaging them in any way – much of the time, they are acting to help other users rather than your brand
2. Make participation voluntary and by invitation only – and respect their privacy at all times, allowing them to freely opt-out
3. Build a relationship with the influencer
4. Ensure that your communications with the influencer are timely – ie respond promptly
5. Never ask an influencer to hype product claims, make usage claims without experience or back claims that cannot be substantiated
6. Provide incentives that do not create conflict of interest or shilling – keep awards simple and relevant to community objectives
7. Thank influencers who participate in your programs.

The set of guidelines goes on to discuss in more detail Thanking, Engagement and Enablement, I have noted a few worthy tips to follow:

* Creating legendary stories can be very powerful ways to both generate conversation and affinity

* Moments of truth about product failures are important

* Your biggest influencers may not always be positive about your product / company / services – your biggest fans may at times be your harshest critics – the fact that they are sometimes negative may make them far more credible to their networks

* Influencer programs are long term multi-year commitments designed to build a relationship – they are not marketing campaigns

* Private access is an excellent way to engage your influencers and influencers also love to connect to one another – Consider both online and offline connection opportunities and even deeper engagements with NDAs in place

* Influencers are a great source of product feedback – your programs should be designed to close the loop demonstrating that their feedback is being heard and acted upon

Trends In Social Influence Marketing

The Razorfish Blog, Going Social Now has an post from March 2009 entitled Trends In Social Influence Marketing

Razorfish defined SOCIAL INFLUENCE MARKETING as “marketing to the network of peers that surround and influence the customer across social platforms and on brand Web sites

The post identified and detailed 10 trends – my highlights are below:

* Reaching the influencers gets easier via the social graph and the plethora of technology vendors that make targeting easier.
* Different influencers will matter at different stages of the marketing funnel, too.
* Agencies will find ways to put a valuation on each consumer’s potential influence for specific product categories.
* Google and a few others are already taking a crack at defining your influence rank.
* Consumers will define the brands by the sheer volume of their opinions. They’ll be shaping the brands more than the brands will be shaping them.
* Social advertising will grow up (whatever that means!)
* The portable social graph will fuel marketing innovation (this is Facebook and Twitter Connect)
* Loose ties (like the friendsters of yours on Facebook) are as valuable as your strong ties (close friends) because they’re the ones that bring new ideas into your world and share your opinions with people who are further removed from you
* Social influence research will become more important than social measurement – n evolution from measuring sentiment to understanding opinion and synchronizing it with the Net Promoter scores

There are a few more, go read the post – if you’re an agency, it’s probably worth the read.

Creating A Healthy Influencer Marketing Program

Finally, here is a Powerpoint deck by Emre Ersahin available on SlideShare entitled: Creating A Healthy Influencer Marketing Program

Definitely worth a look – it contains a step-by-step process, refined from a set of good and best practice examples of how to run an Influencer Marketing Program – not the only way, but certainly one proven way. It presents a methodology based on Discover > Create > Execute > Measure centered around ‘Social Capital’ that leverages the value of online networks.

Here are the basic steps:

Discover – target audience and identify and recruit influencers

Create – influencer concepts and programs

Execute – program implementation online and offline

Measure – the results and evaluation of the benefits


The New Rules of Viral Marketing

A new e-book (available free!) from author David Meerman Scott, provides some thought leadership in the new world of Social Media. If you’re a marketer and your customers are online, then you should be reading this.

You can read about and then download the book – The New Rules of Viral Marketing: How word-of-mouse spreads your ideas for free, here

I’m going to… 🙂

PS See David on You-Tube

Social Media in Action – Peter Pan BMW Case Study

Thursday December 11th, 2008

Yesterday evening Bay Area BMW M3 enthusiast, Nadina posted a detailed account of an appalling customer service experience with Peter Pan BMW of San Francisco. The post, My Letter to the Chairman of The BMW Group, was left on her Facebook Notes page.

She then sent this out to her 367 Facebook friends – who were suitably incensed by hearing of Nadina’s experience, that they immediately began to comment, share and re-post.

Links to this post were then placed on other Facebook interest groups:

So in a matter of minutes a communication was sent out to over 133,000 potential BMW buyers.

Nadina also posts on Twitter under the ID djnadina and also NadinaTalukdar – she has a further 100 followers there.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, she also has the option to post on the following forums:

  • The M Forum with (the board was down at the time of writing so this is currently unknown)
  • M3 Post with Threads: 159,521, Posts: 3,664,910, Members: 47,527
  • BMW M3 Forum with Threads: 231,934, Posts: 3,480,721, Members: 96,532
  • BMW M3 on Roadfly (I can’t find statistics on this forum)

In addition to this audience of over 250,000 self-certified BMW fans and owners, Nadina will be sending this letter to a very large number of folks at BMW:


Dr. – Ing. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management, BMW Group


BMW Group Board of Management
Frank-Peter Arnd, Production
Dr. – Ing. Herbert Diess, Purchasing and Supplier Network
Dr. – Ing. Klaus Draeger, Development
Dr. Friedrich Eichiner, Finance
Dr. Michael Ganal, Member of the Board of Management
Harald Krüger, Human Resources and Industrial Relations
Ian Robertson, Sales and Marketing

BMW Group Supervisory Board
Manfred Schoch, Deputy Chairman
Stefan Quandt, Deputy Chairman
Stefan Schmid, Deputy Chairman
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Strube, Deputy Chairman
Ulrich Eckelmann
Bertin Eichler
Franz Markus Haniel
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Hüttl
Susanne Klatten
Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley
Prof. Dr. Renate Köcher
Willibald Löw
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h. c. mult. Hubert Markl
Wolfgang Mayrhuber
Werner Neugebauer
Franz Oberländer
Anton Ruf
Maria Schmidt
Werner Zierer

BMW North America
Jim O’Donnell, Chairman and CEO of BMW (US) Holding Corp.
Tom Kowaleski, Vice President of Corporate Communications for BMW of North America, LLC
Tom Salkowsky, Manager, BMW Corporate Communications for BMW of North America, LLC

Penske Automotive Group
Roger Penkse, Chairman of the Board and CEO
Robert H. Kurnick, Jr., President
Robert O’Shaughnessy, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President – Finance
Calvin C. Sharp, Executive Vice President – Human Resources
Shane M. Spradlin, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
George Brochick, Executive Vice President – West Operations
Anthony R. Pordon, Senior Vice President – Investor Relations
Nancy Vermillion, Corporate Communications Specialist

The Better Business Bureau of the Golden Gate and Northern California

Peter Pan BMW Management
Paul Dadsetan, General Sales Manager

Let’s see what happens next… watch this space.