Key Influencers – The Next Frontier for CRM?


Yesterday as part of my role with Telecom NZ, I attended the Data Advisory Network (DAN) breakfast meeting.


DAN is a sub-group within the Marketing Association that specifically deals with the data side of contacting customers. Most are from the marketing campaigns side of things, dealing with demographics etc. And a few, like me, are concerned with the automated communications sent to customers as the result of a transaction or interaction.


Yetsterday’s breakfast was a little different for us, the event was entitled: Turning Buzz into Biz.

As you might guess it was focussed on Social Media with a couple of very interesting speakers: Amanda Wisniewski from Nielsen NZ; and Tim Newman from TelstraClear.

I got a lot of notes from the event, many things I had heard before but was worth hearing again.

But there are a couple of things that really struck me.

  1. Social Media dashboards appear to be the must-have tools for the future. And they are not limited just to the Marketers amongst us. For example: Discussions after the event highlighted how using the ExactTarget IMH (Interactive Media Hub -I think) with viewer dashboards for Call Centre Managers, might help them to manage particularly large spikes of interest more effectively in their centres.
  2. Product Innovation can be directed by the conversations that are occuring in the social web. If conversation trends show that there is a need or gap in the products and services in your area, then your product development team can swing into action.
  3. Brand and Message can be checked within the Social web to ensure that the message that is being sent reflects the peer-to-peer conversations. If not the appropriate changes or actions can be taken.

I am tempted to deliver another sermon on how a synergistic approach to these processes would result in much greater benefits… but I will restrain myself! ;o)


But more than anything else I was struck by the impact that key influencers have in any market.

Those in your market that influence many others in your market have a great deal of power that can be used for or against your company and its products & services. The question is what are you doing about this?

  • Do you know who your key influencers are in your market?
  • What do you do to ensure that they are onside? -Or at least mitigate the damage if they are offside.
  • How do you flag key influencers in your systems?

I can certainly see the benefit of having a CRM system that flags these key influencers so that any communications that are slated to go to them (either from an automated transaction trigger or by being included in a demographic slice for a campaign), are shunted to a holding area and those communications can then be manually edited and personalised before being sent out.

The question then is how you identify these key influencers, and how often this identification process needs to be done?

While there may be some automated indicators that can help identify key influencers (e.g. their Klout scores), I am not sure that a fully automated system is possible. So someone who has a high klout score, but all the people they influence are outside of your market, may not really be a key influencer for your product or service. Whereas someone with a lower Klout score but who is tightly tied into your market may well be a key influencer in terms of their importance to you.

-Again I am using Klout as a convenient example, I’m not suggesting that this is how you would define key influencers.


What I would like to know is if you or your company have a strategy for key influencers?

How do you treat them differently?

Do you substitute generic messages with personalised ones for them?

please comment.


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About Chris Hanlon

Chris has worked in or owned small businesses most of his life, before lured into the corporate world where he spent over a decade. However his passion for small business has remained, and taken life in The Profit Wizard blog, his published book, and some coaching he does for a variety of businesses. You can follow Chris on Twitter @TheProfitWizard

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