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Getting Serious By Segmenting Influencers

We manage databases of influencers for particular subject areas and clients that are 500 influencers strong. We know them all in one way or another. We respect their authority and their interests. And we only want to engage them for things that make sense to them (and our client). We want to respect their time and expertise.

We segment our influencers in absolute categories and in categories that are specific to a particular client project. Ever try engaging Food bloggers over a frozen food? You quickly realize that there are many segments of food bloggers. Some will put convenience on the front burner and be receptive. Others would just as soon burn you at the stake for ignoring their "pure" interests in food and presuming that they would ever engage with an FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) product like frozen peas or prepared meals.

I have spoken about our approach toSocial Influencer Relationship Management (Social IRM) which is really the grown-up management of our influencer relationships for their benefit and the brands we work with.

Everyone goes in the database. We track the following types of data:

1. who they are - we love to get to know the influencers we connect with often
2. how influential they are following our 6 measures (it ain't always about "reach")
3. what are their interest by categories and subcategories
4. what have we learned from talking with them about their interests (some really want to hear from brands on certain things and not on others)

There is nothing diabolical about keeping track of this information. Influencers who want to engage with relevant brands appreciate the disgression this breeds. Everyone hates indiscriminate "pitches."

Here's an example of a visualization of a segmentation we have done for a food related project (note to anyone featured here - don't worry, we are not targeting you. This list merely notes your authority and influence):


Segmenting Green

Jacquelyn Ottman had a great post on segmenting green consumers on HBR Blogs. This is the  type of useful segmentation that helps both us, the marketers, and the consumers or influencers (note: our online influencers range from professional witers to proam experts who are essentially regular consumers who have earned some authority in a certain area of interest)

Here's how she sums it up

"Ask: To which environmental organizations do members of our target audience belong (The Appalachian Mountain Club or Greenpeace)? Which types of vacations do they take (hiking or the beach)? Which environmental magazines and websites do they read or visit? (Sierra or Animal Fair?) Which types of products do they buy? (green fashions or energy-sipping light bulbs)? Which eco-labels do they seek out ("USDA Organic" or "Energy Star")?

In observing green consumers over the past twenty years my colleagues and I have found that asking questions like these allows companies to distinguish between four subsegments, which we've dubbed "Resource Conservers", "Health Fanatics", "Animal Lovers" and "Outdoor Enthusiasts." Of course, there are some overlaps among these groups, but discovering which subsegment your customers mainly fall into can sharpen your marketing. The following descriptions are generalizations, but they capture the spirit of each type of consumer."

She continues in describing each segment and importantly some ways marketers can be relevant to them. Here's an example fo her description for Outdoor enthusiasts:

"Outdoor Enthusiasts spend their free time camping, rock climbing, skiing, and hiking. They vacation in national parks and plan their next adventure using tips from Outdoors Magazine. Whether they're purchasing Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap to reduce the impact of washing dishes while camping, or toting reusable bottles like Kleen Kanteen to avoid littering the trail, they seek to minimize the impact of their recreational activities. When shopping, they look for FSC (sustainably harvested) labels on their products, are also likely to purchase outdoor gear made from recycled materials, such as Synchilla PCR (post-consumer recycled polyester) from Patagonia.

Some ways to appeal to outdoor enthusiasts:

1. Conduct a joint promotion with national parks or manufacturers of boots, reusable bottles, and trail mix snacks.
2. Advertise in Sierra Club magazine or online at Backpackers.com."

How do you segment and organize your online influencers?

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