Peer Influence Analysis: What It Is & How Marketers Use It

Recently, Forrester introduced a new way to consider influence in Social Media.  We identified a group of social media participants we call Mass Influencers.  While just 16% of the US population, Mass Influencers are responsible for 80% of the influence impressions and posts about products and services in social channels. 

Mass Influencers

As noted in the Forrester report, Tapping The Entire Online Peer Influence Pyramid and on the Forrester blog, Mass Influencers come in two flavors: 

  • Mass Connectors, who create a great number of impressions about brands and services in social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, and
  • Mass Mavens, who create and share content about products and services in other social channels such as YouTube, blogs, forums, or ratings and review sites.

The fact that a minority of social media participants represent the lion’s share of buzz about products and services is probably not at all surprising,  but what does this mean to marketers?  How can brands  develop programs that activate the potential of Mass Influencers to create awareness and consideration among their readers, friends, followers and others in social venues?  The answer comes from Peer Influence Analysis (PIA), Forrester’s new framework to analyze influence within particular markets, demographics and industries.

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What Drives a Mass Maven? Ask The VW Sales Guy!

This past weekend, I did something no man welcomes:  The dreaded car-buying event.  Sure, we men love to shop for cars, but buying one is another thing altogether.  I abhor salespeople botching heavy-handed “closing techniques,” fake chumminess, the sexism of telling my wife about cup holders and showing me the engine, and one of my least-favorite lines in the human language, “I’m not sure that’s gonna fly—I’ll have to check with my manager.”  Yes, this weekend was all that and more, but in the end we snagged our car and I got the chance to meet and learn from a Mass Maven (and now so can you).

A while back, I published a report and blog post that  briefly introduced two types of Mass Influencers—Mass Connectors and Mass Mavens. Next week, Forrester will release a new report that defines Mass Influencers in more detail, but this weekend I had the opportunity to study a Mass Maven in the wild.  So, grab your pith helmet and join me as we embark on a Mass Influencer safari.

My journey started with a decision to purchase a convertible. (Hey, we may have moved to Northern California, but it’s still California!)  First stop was a dealership to look at the new VW Eos.  Our salesperson was—how can I put this delicately?—uninformed.  When asked what the difference was between the two versions of the vehicle, he answered, “One has more features” and left it at that.  

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