Is there a better Influencer model?

The Challenge

Influencer business models have many forms ranging from: altruistic, profit share or commission, to cash in advance, with variations in between.

The objective of influencer marketing is to generate a substantial lump sum of cash for the Influencer by recommending a company, product/s or service. However, the initial problems with the more traditional types of influencing are firstly, getting exposure and secondly, “selling the deal”.

In regard to exposure, modern social media makes this relatively easy but it must be said that you still need to either create a large contact base before influencing, or alternatively create interest via television, radio, hard copy, or viral marketing. While it is obvious this can be done successfully, it still takes considerable time, effort and sometimes cost to “get the word out”.

Then we have the issue of “selling the deal”. In marketing and sales, it is essential to “lead with the benefits and then follow up with the features”. In a normal sale situation, the “benefit” is providing an answer to the paramount question asked by the potential buyer: “What’s in it for me?” Once you answer that question, it becomes substantially easier to get a “sale”.

The challenge for an Influencer is that often there is no substantial benefit for the potential buyer. Thus the “sales pitch” can be difficult because although it is emotional (and using emotion is always the best way to “sell the deal”) there is also the counter feeling of: “Can I afford to do this?” or “Do I want this?” Thus the decision-making process is always a battle between an emotional (right-sided brain) response and a logical (left-sided brain) response. Consequently, there is often doubt, indecision and delay in making a decision and, as anyone in sales will tell you – delay or indecision is most likely to result in a “no sale”.

For these reasons, it is often hard for an Influencer to present a compelling argument for people to buy.

The real problem

The reality is that, in most cases, influencing is a “one-off” event. Even if the product or service is long-term (e.g. shampoo), it still requires a constantly renewed “call to arms” by the Influencer to get people to purchase continually. Thus the real problem with Influencer models is that they tend to be orientated around generating an “active” income and thus requiring constant participation. Of course, too much influencer marketing generates considerable resistance and scepticism within the target group.