Identifying, reaching and motivating key
influencers may be the difference between effective and ineffective
channels strategies. The
importance of influencers in the purchase decision process arises from
positive impact they have when they support a company’s products or
A key influencer is defined as:
“Any party(ies) which exerts significant
influence over the purchase decision”
Key influencers may be directly involved in
the purchasing decision or indirectly influence the decision. Key influencers should be included in marketing channels
It is important to note that key influencers are not always members of a company’s distribution channels. Their influence over a purchase is the reason they are important. Key influencers can impact the purchase decision of channel members when considering a purchase from a supplier and can also influence end customers when considering which channel member to buy from and the brand selected.
Identifying Key Influencers
Some examples of key influencers in marketing channels strategies...
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The examples above illustrate the influencer
may be overt as in the building products industry or more subtle as in
consumer services and entertainment industries.
To more clearly identify key influencers and
determine the best strategy to reach them it is necessary to:
Talk to end customers and
Analyse business sources
Review sales by channel and
Perform a marketing channels
Why Are Key Influencers Important?
Companies often don’t recognise influencers’ importance or are unable to determine how to effectively reach them. The risks of neglecting influencers are expensive and the rewards from reaching them are significant.
Reaching Key Influencers
Problems and Obstacles
A company may face several issues when trying to reach its key influencers:
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How to motivate key influencers
By positively motivating key influencers companies will resolve many of the issues outlined above and ensure influencers’ commitment to their products or services. Tools which will help suppliers reach key influencers include:
Some key influencers require independence from suppliers but will respond to service and support motivators who meet their own business and professional needs. An example of this is in the computer industry where consultants are a key influencer. The consultant will identify the needs of a client and specify the system/s capable of fulfilling those needs. As consultants their reputations are at stake when preparing specifications and therefore need to have confidence in the products and suppliers they are recommending. The motivators in this case are excellent communication, technical information and training.
Other Key Influencers do not require the same degree of independence from suppliers e.g. building products. Effective motivators may include exclusive deals, advertising support and product and technical information.
Three important steps are involved to include key influencers in a company’s channel strategy. These steps are:
Reaching and motivating key influencers will enhance a company’s image and reputation and help it achieve a sustainable competitive advantage through loyalty.