Finally, there are the positional influencers. These are the people who are closest to your customers and influence them the most at the point of purchase. Because they are the people who have to live with the purchasing decision, they are the most vested in it too. But they’re not celebrities, so they’re not always noticeable and can be the hardest to find. They’re important, but marketing to them can be similarly difficult.
What makes tapping into the positional influencers harder still is the fact that how big a role they play in a purchasing decision varies dramatically by the purchase. For example, if I were to buy a desk for my apartment, my wife (arguably the most important positional influencer in my life) would have a huge impact on the purchasing decision. Her opinions would heavily influence where I shop and what I choose. On the other hand, if I were purchasing a laptop for professional use, she’d play a much smaller role in the purchasing decision. This is because the choice doesn’t impact her significantly and the product isn’t of interest to her even though it’s a high consideration purchase
Understand the circles of influence around your customers
Most important is to understand who will be most impacted by the purchasing decisions of your customers. That alone will tell you who the positional influencers are and how important their influence is. For example, with first-time car purchases, family members are very important positional influencers because they’ll be riding in the car and, in some cases, driving it too.
Let consumers shape and share the experience
It may be hard for you to reach those positional influencers, but your customers will reach them for you. Make sure that your e-commerce Web site or even your campaign-centric microsite allows for the sharing of content and posting to Facebook and other social platforms. Let the consumers shape and share the experiences in any format that they want. Make it easy for customers to pluck information off your Web site and carry it elsewhere and to their positional influencers.
Articulate your product benefits for multiple audiences
You probably always assume that you’re selling a product to your target customer, ignoring the fact that social influencers play a big role in the purchasing decision. If you know who the influencers are, articulate your product benefits so that they resonate with the influencers too. To go back to car purchases once more: If you’re selling a car to a college student demographic, tout the safety benefits because the students’ parents will most probably be involved in the purchasing decision. Don’t ignore them.
Fish where the fish are
This is becoming a cliché in social influence marketing, but the point holds strongest in the context of positional influencers. Chapter 3: Accounting for the Influencers 49 As these influencers are the hardest to find yourself, you need to make sure that you’re marketing and selling your products where these positional influencers probably influence your customers. So it goes without saying that you need to have a deep presence on all the social platforms where your customers and their influencers are congregating. But it also means that you need to design your Web site or your presence on the social platforms to encourage your customers to reach out to those positional influencers. You need to include the basic ShareThis functionality that lets a user take product information from your Web site and socialize it with her influencers.