That’s Not Influencer Marketing it’s Advertising


One of my favourite advertisements became a «catchphrase» at the time.  «No Luton airport».

The ad was for the drink Campari.

There is a link to the ad here.


In the «old days» the way you sold products was pretty simple, you paid a couple of celebrities, in this case, Lorraine Chase and Jeremy Clyde. The comical adverts were filmed in exotic locations with Chase having drinks with an elegant, sophisticated gentleman suitor. Upon his romantic question «Were you truly wafted here from paradise?», Chase would declare in her full cockney accent «Nah, Luton Airport!»



It seemed to me that things haven’t changed much. If you want to sell product you give the product to celebrities, but this time you put the photos on Instagram. It would seem that in 2017, we seem to call it «Influencer Marketing».

Putting Lipstick on the Advertising Pig

I’ve also been approached to put a brand’s tweets out over my twitter stream.

One company, (via their PR agency) wanted to pay me to put a «technical IT message» out over my twitter feed. Even though I explained that while some of my 175,000+ followers may work in IT, a technical IT message wasn’t why people followed me.

Again, this is just «buying» ad space, using Social Media to post ads is putting lipstick on a «1950’s broadcast marketing» pig.

If I don’t have an IT following, why would a PR agency want to pay me to put an IT message out over my Twitter stream? This is true throwing mud at the wall and hoping it will stick.








Our view here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) is that a Social and Digital approach to marketing can get you front on mind (FoM) of more people (than advertising) and at lower cost. But of course we are biased.

Influencer Marketing to me is a Little More Subtle Than That.

Content Marketing has now become the defacto way to market in the digital world and with that, we are helping more and more companies with their inbound marketing approach. People don’t look at adverts, they want content that excites and informs.

In my book, Matt and I spend a chapter discussing «influence» how you can move it around. Especially how you can create influence for you and your brand.  I often tell people I got 30,000 followers on Twitter purely by retweeting other people’s tweets.

Everybody has influence. If anybody has asked what you thought of the new Star Wars movie or a car or restaurant, then you have influence.

Secondary Influence

We also have «secondary» influence by being on sites like TripAdvisor or writing reviews on Amazon.  You might may book a hotel because a friends, friend (who you may not know) has reviewed it. On the basis that you trust your friend, then surely their friend must also be trustworthy?

The Definition of Influencer Marketing is …..

I’ve seen influencer marketing done badly. Many brands want to create «instant influence» a bit like old style PR.  If we take something or somebody and put it «on the line» it will go viral.

Big mistake.

At a previous company somebody with five Twitter followers was announced to be was going to be an «influencer», it probably helped they were a VP.  It seemed strange that somebody nobody was listening to, suddenly had influence. By the way, they didn’t, somebody isn’t suddenly an influencer.

What is an Influencer?

Influencer are people that are listened to. This may not mean they have large followings or high Klout scores. But when you see them online, not just broadcasting, but engaging with active communities.

What are the Ten Steps you Need to Implement Influencer Marketing?

  1. Research the influencers, should they be wielding online or offline influence?
  2. Don’t just pick the top 10 with the highest following. We often get approached by companies and there is no reason why we would want to get involved. Don’t waste people’s time when there is no context.
  3. Bloggers can have as much or niche influence and in many cases will be listened to more than the «rock stars». Build relationships with bloggers the same you would growing your network of contacts. Network is power after all.
  4. Try influencer marketing platforms, at DLA we have used Onalytica, Traackr and Brandwatch.
  5. Don’t just rely on the tech, look out for influencers on your social media «travels». There are always «up and coming» people.
  6. Think about your customer journey, as they go through the process of self education, you need to leave a «breadcrumb» path of content for them to consume. At some point they will want to ask people’s advice. They might go to traditional influencers like Gartner or Forrester, or they might ask Social Media Influencers. The key for you is that these people are ready and willing to suggest your product is in the short list.
  7. Direct approaches to influencers by brands or by influencers to other influencers is the best approach.
  8. Buyers are just as likely to contact your existing customers, which is why a customer advocacy program should be run within marketing.
  9. Think about «what’s in it for the influencer»? It might not just be about money (or maybe it is), maybe you have something to barter or trade?
  10. Some brands hire influencers to run their influencer program. They do, after all, meet the criteria that they should be respected by your customer advocates and other influencers.

Want to know how to sell to the modern, connected buyer?


If you’re interested in a blueprint to help you in your move to digital and social then I recommend my book. “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers”. Written in a workbook style, it’s designed to help you implement a Social Selling strategy across Sales and Marketing.

To order follow this link to Amazon there is also a Kindle, eBook version.

Still undecided, then follow the link and read the 5 star reviews!



Post Author: Timothy (Tim) Hughes




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