At a recent Nomacorc Marketing Exchange event, titled “The Customer Journey: From Pre-Commerce to Post-Purchase,” I noticed an underlying message of the power of influencers. For a few years now, traditional advertising has been on the decline in efficacy, giving way to peer-to-peer interaction and those who shape the conversations, aka “the influencers.” Keynote speaker Bob Pearson of W2O Group in San Francisco, revealed the changing view of the media landscape. In a phrase, “everything has changed.”
Content we consume does not emerge from conventional media outlets as it has since the dawn of broadcast communication, but through friends and networks. Think about the last time you heard about breaking news… was it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? A friend? Or CNN, Fox News or a major news outlet’s website? I can personally say my news often comes through social media, posted in real time by a passionate influencer who keeps on top of things. Apparently, this shift is happening to many people. Pearson postulates that news flows emanate from different drivers now, ranked in this order: Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, mainstream media and then video.
The major shift lies in the location of news consumption. The audience that advertising attempts to reach used to be defined by general habits such as watching ESPN, Lifetime Channel, or a more traditional news channel. But over time we have learned that we’re not one big pool of people with isolated interests that spend time in only one place–our attention is fragmented. We use multiple devices, and conduct simultaneous conversations on different mediums–think talking to or listening to Super Bowl fans on Twitter while watching the game live. An influencer in this social media Super Bowl scenario could be a blogger who geeks out on football stats and knows likely too much about them. He tweets constantly during the broadcast. Other fans read these thoughts, retweet or engage.
These influencers reach the audience, so marketers need to find the guy or girl who is engaged in the space that means something to their business–no matter what the outlet is, since audience is now more important than the outlet. And in no industry is it more important to grasp than the over-crowded wine space.
Getting involved in the conversation is crucial.
At another Nomacorc Marketing Exchange last year, Jeff Dubiel, CMO at The Wine Group, likened the wine business to the greeting card business–he saw it as that competitive. He said, “Imagine a customer standing in front of a rack of wine or greeting cards–for most consumers, it’s the same overwhelming experience.”
So to stay relevant and reach the right consumers, a wine brand should find the outreaching influencer voice for its content category. If you make sparkling wine, find the bride blogger who openly adores bubbly on social media, become friends with her and birth a fan with a unique, authentic story. By identifying this type of influencer, a brand can develop an advocate. Or potentially, a second, word-of-mouth sales force.
According to Pearson, there are approximately 50 influencers in each content category. If a brand identifies these people then engages them with passionate storytelling and friendship, the impact could be a touchdown. And complete the 180-degree transition from talking at people (advertising) to talking with people–or storytelling.