Have you heard about The Joneses?
It was a film that came out in 2009 starring David Duchovny (Steve Jones) and Demi Moore (Kate Jones). The basic premise this:
Steve, Kate, and their 2 kids are all employees of an “undercover” marketing company. They move into neighborhoods that demographically and socio-economically meet the characteristics of buyers for a suite of products. Companies pay big bucks for 4-person teams like this to surreptitiously infiltrate these communities, build trust and relationships, and sell the “lifestyle” as opposed to the “product”.
Steve is the new guy on the block. He knows sales, he gets marketing. When put in this situation, he goes after people who meet the demographic that would purchase the products and lifestyle he is selling. On the first review, Steve shows that he’s up 3%. He thinks it’s great, but everyone else thinks it’s pretty mediocre.
Kate is a seasoned pro and has had half a dozen other “families” like this. Her first stop is the hottest salon in town. She buddies up to the biggest influencer of her target market, which is the stylish, trendy, go-to hair dresser, who then becomes one of her biggest advocates. He brings new people to her to create new influence networks, and sells on behalf of her by stocking her products in his salon. Kate rocks something like 16% growth in the same period of time.
See the difference? Leveraging the social network enabled Kate to simultaneously amplify her message and keep the message extremely personal… and make a whole lot more money.
So who is more important here – the buyer, or the influencer?