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What Are Social Influence Marketing and Social Influencers How Is Social Influence Marketing Used by Marketers to Develop Their Businesses What Are the Benefits of It When Compared with More Traditional Marketing By sabrinayilin 1. 0 Introduction According to Proctor (2000), there is an increasing number of on-line purchases made everyday as social media consumption hits the mainstream. Consumers are sharing more of themselves, discussing new products they bought and influencing each other on-line.
This shift in people’s web behaviour induces marketers to engage with their customers across whole new social media platforms such as twitter, acebook and LinkedIn.
Brand can not push itself any longer and traditional marketing is losing its glory. All these changes give rise to a whole new form of marketing called social influence marketing which is seeing great potential in this world where actions speak louder than advertising.
This report will give a brief introduction of what the social influence marketing and social influencers are about, then explaining how markers use this new marketing method to develop their businesses, and finally discuss the benefits of social influence marketing after comparing with more traditional marketing.
2. 0 Definitions . 1 What is social influence marketing? “Social influence marketing is a technique that employs social media and social influencers to achieve an organization’s marketing and business needs” (Singh, 2009, p. 0) Social media is the content created by people using web-based technologies such as microblogs, social networks, or podcasts. Influencers are everyday people with greater peer influence depending on how much content they share on the Internet.
In conclusion, social influence marketing is about recognizing, accounting, explore the fact that potential customer is being affected by various circles of people round him via conversation with them on-line, when he or she is making a buying decision. (ibid. ) 2. 2 What are the social influencers? ategories: referent influencers, expert influencers and peer influencers.
As a result, potential buyers value referent influencers’ advice over other people. In this case, according to Singn (2009) , reference influencers influence purchasing behaviour more than any other factors at the consideration phase of the ‘marketing funnel’. 2. 2. 2 Expert influencer It is the expert influencer whom a consumer would normally turn to when he or she is mulling over a “high-consideration purchase”. ‘An expert influencer is an authority on the product that the consumer is onsidering purchasing.
Also called key influencers, they typically have their own blogs, huge twitter followers, and rarely know their audiences personally. ‘ (Singh, 2009, p. 13) 2. 2. 3 Peer influencer The peer influencer, according to Shirky (2008) is also called positional influencer. This type of influencers has a greater impact on “brand affinity” and “purchasing decisions” than traditional marketers as the popularity of Web 2. 0 grows. Moreover, these peer influencers are mainly family members or close friends to the potential buyers. According to Singh (2009), the motivation to share is at the root of peer influence.
People share on-line when they are either encouraged by incentives or because there exists potential for personal value to be realized. In another word, once a person is able to obtain a great amount of personal interests from a particular experience, the incentive to share it increases dramatically. To sum up, this sharing behaviour takes place as the user comes to realize that through the experience, there exists opportunity to gain more personal value from it. 3. 0 What are the fundamentals of social influence marketing?
The most important factor that affects a person’s buying plans is the product urchase” and “high-consideration purchase”. “Low-consideration purchase” are products involve low risks, e. g, buying soap. While “high-consideration purchase” are things involve high risks, like car or condominium. Therefore, it is rare for customers to seek influence or to be influenced by others when he or she is buying a “low- consideration purchase”. On the other hand, a customer’s buying decision can be easily swayed when the product is a brand-new car since its maintenance costs or its reputation making it a “high-consideration purchase”. Singh, 2009, p. 1 5) 4. 0 How do marketers employ it to develop their businesses? . 1 Market segmentation Before implementing social influence marketing strategies, the first thing marketers do is to divide up the total market. The market is made up of various types of consumers, products, and needs, and the marketers have to determine which segments promise the best opportunity for accomplishing company objectives. Buyers are served and classified on the basis of geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral factors.
Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into different groups of customers with distinct needs,characteristics, or behaviour who might need individualized products or arketing mixes. A market segment consists of buyers who give homogeneous response to a particular marketing effort. ( Armstrong and Kotler, 2003, p. 61) 4. 2 Market targeting According to Armstrong and Kotler (2003, p. 61), the second step is targeting one or many market segments. After market segments are determined, marketers can enter the segments of a given market.
Market targeting involves evaluating the attractiveness of each market segment and choosing a particular segment to enter. A given segment is only targeted when it can generate the greatest profit and consumer value. Marketers can either target one or two special segments or choose to serve several related ones, where different kinds of customers share the same basic wants, on the basis of the marketers’ resources. 4. 3 Market Positioning Market positioning is defined as arranging for a product to take over a distinctive and ideal place relative to competitors’ in target consumers’ minds.
After marketers have determined which market segments to enter, they must decide what position they want to occupy in those segments. A product’s position is the place this product taken over in consumers’ minds relative to competing products. Buyers would not ecide to buy a product if it is similar to other products in the market. Therefore, planning positions that differentiate a company’s products from competing brands gives marketers great advantage in target markets. ( Armstrong and Kotler, 2003, p. 4. Deploying social influence marketing strategies According to Armstrong and Kotler (2003, p. 63) again, marketing mix is the set of tactical marketing tools that company mixes to achieve the result it desires in the target market. It consists of everything marketers can do to develop their businesses and influence the demand of the product. The key control variable in marketing mix re four P’s which are product, price, place and promotion respectively. 4. 4. 1 product According to Kotler and Zaltman (1971), product is a combination of goods and services a company offers to the target market.
In social influence marketing, marketers study the target audiences before developing suitable products. Product design is the most challenging as marketers need first to define the changes happening in market and then design social products which are “buyable” and instrumental to the social cause. 4. 4. 2 Promotion Promotion is the communication persuasion strategy that conveys merits and amiliarity of the products to the audiences via social media. It includes four major activities which are advertising, personal selling, publicity and sales promotion.
As for publicity and sales promotion, these two call for eye catching news or events on the product to appear in mass media so as to stimulate interest or action among potential buyers. Moreover, sellers build communities around their brands via social media channels such as Facebook and twitter,and fix problems whenever they arise. (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971) 4. 4. 3 price Price is the amount of money buyers pay to own the product. A marketing man’s pricing strategy is based on the assumption that members of target audience analyse both cost and benefit before deciding whether to invest money, time, or energy in a particular issue.
Customers tend to compare major benefits with major costs and their motivation to purchase is directly linked to the magnitude of the excess benefit. Therefore, the marketer’s pricing strategy involves consideration on how the rewards on buying the product can be increased or reduced relative to costs. (ibid. ) 4. 4. 4 place Place is the arrangement of accessible outlets which translate motivation into ctions and it also includes company activities that make the commodities available to customers. Social media platforms are place in social influence marketing. eciding on their average number, size and location by marketers. (ibid. ) 5. 0 How does it compare with more traditional marketing? According to Singh (2009, p. 16-21), more traditional marketing methods include direct mail, public relations, display advertising, and promotions. Traditional marketing and social influence marketing share some similarities. Firstly, both of their objectives are sustaining existing consumers and creating new customers. Secondly, the mission of traditional marketing is to increase awareness of the company, its products and services to the mass market, so is social influence marketing.
In spite of these similarities, these two marketing skills are quite different. According to Ho (2008), the more traditional marketing lays stress on the “Four Ps’ principle” which is made up of price, product, place and promotion. It also requires high budget and substantial time to get a desired result. However, unlike more traditional marketing, social influence marketing is a cheap form of targeted arketing by employing social media and influencers to increase web presence and to promote products. 5. Direct mail marketing Social influence marketing methods outperform direct mail due to its capability of expanding targeted consumer database. According to Singh (2009, p. 16), direct mail is a way of marketing that is employed by non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses to manage a large database of active consumers and to market to people in this database via catalogs, ads and other merchandising materials. However, this traditional direct mail marketing method has a lot of disadvantages as its database of argeted recipients is big and non-targeted.
This would not only result in larger quantities of wasted paper and higher cost than other forms of mass promotion, but also cause resentment and alienation from uninterested recipients. In contrast, the application of social influence marketing can counteract these downsides. According to Singh (2009) again, direct mail is most successful when mails are personalized and highly targeted. In another word, the more data a marketer can capture on his customer’s interest through social influence marketing strategies, the ore chances the marketer has to feed his direct mail database.
As consumers doing and sharing more on line and opting into filling direct mail forms in exchange for needed information or acceptance into an on-line community, the database expands and direct mailing becomes more targeted through deploying social influence marketing. (ibid. ) 5. 2 Public relations Social influence marketing is an evolution of public relation. Traditional public relation is basically about managing the press and pushing the messages of the company to the press as much as possible. It is related to maintaining public image
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