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Posted by Augie Ray on February 27, 2010
Three months after starting at Forrester, my first report for Interactive Marketers is now available: Tapping The Entire Online Peer Influence Pyramid. Forrester subscribers can click the link to read about the Peer Influence Pyramid, which describes and shares recommendations about three types of online influencers: Social Broadcasters, Mass Influencers and Potential Influencers.
Each of the three types of influencer is important to marketers, and each must be engaged in a different manner. Social Broadcasters are appealing because of their large followings, but they tend to assist more with awareness than with preference. Mass Influencers is a new category of influencer--28 million in number in the U.S. alone--created thanks to the scale afforded consumers by social media tools. (I'll be sharing more about Mass Influencers in my next Forrester report.) Finally, the vast majority of social media participants are Potential Influencers, people who have modest networks rich with trust.
For me, the publication of this report marks the end of a long journey and the beginning of another. I started this report back in September, before I was even a Forrester employee. As part of the recruiting process, Forrester requested I write and present a report that demonstrates the sort of research and analysis I would offer to Forrester clients. Version one of the report did the trick and I was hired.
At that point, it seemed the "Peer Influence Pyramid" report might be polished and published within a matter of weeks, but instead it took over three months; I have lost count, but I think the report now available on Forrester.com is version number seventeen. One reason for the time and edits is that Forrester reports adhere to a very particular style of writing. I am having to unlearn some bad habits and enjoying my continued development as a writer.
Another part of the challenge was that Forrester has a rich history of research on the topic of influence. Before Forrester could release my report, the concepts and language I developed independently as a job candidate needed to reflect and expand upon the work done by my new peers and those who came before me at Forrester.
Most importantly, I learned that Josh Bernoff had just completed some new and fascinating research on influence in social media. That research was conducted for the upcoming book Groundswell HEROes, a follow up to the popular and very informative Groundswell. This good luck in timing afforded me the opportunity to work with Josh and leverage some groundbreaking research to further guide and strengthen the ideas within my report.
A lot of time, effort, and consideration went into Tapping The Entire Online Peer Influence Pyramid. I hope Forrester subscribers find it informative and interesting. Within a month, I will be sharing some news about my second report, which dives even deeper into the new category of influencer--the Mass Influencer.