Joe Fernandez of Klout recently said Klout’s goal is to help every person maximize their individual influence.
It is no secret, as a marketer you want to influence purchases. You use advertising, content marketing, PR, and the influencer programs Klout wants to sell, to change perceptions and purchasing behavior.
But what would happen if Klout achieved this goal and every person became more influential? How would it impact you as an individual and as a B2B marketer? (addition: I’m not saying Klout is necessarily a measure of influence, that needs its own separate discussion!)
The Diminishing Return on Influence
At some point, marketing activities reach a diminishing return.
- If one email a week is driving great results, 10 emails a week won’t drive 10x the return.
- If 50 GRPs a month is working well, 500 GRPs won’t work 10x as well.
Similarly, if the influence of people around you suddenly doubled, you wouldn’t start doing twice as much of whatever they recommend.
As individuals, there is a limit to the actions we can take. We are constrained by the number of hours in the day, our credit limit, our physical abilities or the other commitments we have already made.
If, at the advice of your financial advisor, you start spending less and saving more, your financial advisor becomes more influential in your life while others that were influencing your spending become less influential.
How Influence May Shift
So what actually happens when everyone’s influence increases? Here is what I would expect to see happen, I’d love to hear your view in the comments!
- We will be buffeted by more and more influential voices, but with only a limited capacity to act, the actual net influence on our lives will be minimal.
- Traditional channels of marketing influence, such as advertising, will lose among the increasing volume of influential voices competing for our attention.
- The actual influence of the most influential people will increase, both as individuals seek out singular voices they can turn to and the voice of top influencers is spread further by everyone else. These names we know become beacons among the noise.
- Our personal network, those we know, know the expertise of and trust, become more influential. Similar to the top influencers, they become the beacons we look to as are buffeted by more influences.
In summary, the most influential and our personal networks become more influential, but the mass of influencers Klout is looking to help will cannibalize their own influence.
Is Klout’s mission actually eroding the potential influence of every individual? As more people influence us, does the potential individual influence of each person actually decrease? It seems so to me.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter (@wittlake).
Photo Credit: EA / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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