It happened again. I was at an event where a very powerful person well-versed at developing international sporting events was speaking. He was talking about the challenge the industry was having in attracting new fans in a specific racing industry. And then he said the word… influence.
Influence – the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
His team was exploring the use of scoring algorithms to identify influencers. They would enlist the help of these influencers to try and attract new audiences and demographics to the event. This is the kind of talk that drives me nuts. That people in the marketing industry still believe the trick is just to pay off some folks with a huge reach to promote their products or services drives me nuts. Influence is about the capacity to have an effect, not just reach.
None of the so-called influence scoring algorithms out there provide an accurate measure of the ability of a person to influence a purchase decision. They're all based on the number of fans, followers and the ability to reach folks directly or through retweets and shares. Reach, reach, reach.
This is always the issue with traditional marketing strategies. They have huge reach, so of course some impact will be measurable. But they're never going to succeed in getting the true influence they're really in need of. I see products and services pushed all the time by so called influencers in our industry… and many times I share that information with my network. But rarely do I actually make a purchase based off of someone with a high influence score.
It's frustrating because this leader's industry already has more influence than they ever needed – they have millions of fans internationally that fly in and experience their event. These folks spend a fortune and stay for several days, enjoying music, food, pre and post-race events surrounding the most famous racing spectacle in the world.
To be clear – I'm not opposed to utilizing these so-called influencers. But use them for the value they truly bring… use them to carry the message, not to create it. If you want to truly influence people, you need to share stories that people can become emotionally involved with to drive the purchase-making decision. Show me a story of someone my age, my income, and my interests having an incredible experience at your event.
With millions of fans, there are millions of compelling stories across every demographic and interest. They simply haven't tapped into them! Enable the ability for your audiences to create and share images and video, allow them to find and follow one another, provide mobile applications for discovery and social sharing.
Allow your audience to create and share their stories – then share the best of them through these channels with extensive reach. Match the stories with the audience for the most impactful results.