Any one of these other influences may not be strong enough on its own to overcome a vet's advice. But if multiple sources recommend a different product, the pet owner may well be convinced to make at least a trial purchase—and the marketer's investment in traditional B-to-B-to-C marketing will be at risk.
2. A new paradigm for digital-age consumers: Business-to-Influencer marketing. To succeed in this new marketplace, marketers must look beyond the tried-and-true business influencers they have relied upon to deliver product information and other persuasive messages to consumers. They must broaden their thinking to include the whole wide world of digital influencers who can sway the decisions of prospects and customers alike—for or against their products or services.
To do this, marketers will have to adopt new tools and techniques. But the goals in this new world of Business-to-Influencer (B-to-I) marketing are familiar:
- Reinforce positive influencers;
- Counter negative influencers; and
- Convert your most loyal customers into positive influencers.
3. Creating an effective engagement model. As with any important marketing program, start by creating a business plan that identifies business goals and opportunities, and links them to prospect and customer needs. The plan should including quantitative goals, and establish key performance indicators with benchmarks to define progress.
Next, develop a clear understanding of prospect needs and customer experiences throughout the customer lifecycle, based on qualitative and quantitative research, and data analysis. Traditional tools, such as focus groups and surveys, can provide insights. But newer techniques, like social media listening research—which taps millions rather than hundreds of consumers, and allows participants to direct the conversation rather than relying on predefined questions—is even more useful.
This research provides the data needed to map consumer experiences with influencers of all types, online and offline. These insights in turn are the basis for creating an engagement model that focuses on delivering the right message to the right people at the right time via the right channel—email, direct mail, social, Web.