Jeff Jarvis: ‘If you can’t bottle influence, you can’t sell it.’

By Matt Van Hoven 

In a post called “The hunt for the elusive influencer” on BuzzMachine, media consultant Jeff Jarvis opines on the existence or not of the “influencer” and what value such a person has to the communications industry.

The discussion centers on who marketers should target in social media campaign efforts. Highlighting Kim Kardashian’s notorious $10k-per-tweet fee, Jarvis says going for ‘influencers’ with large followings “is really just old mass marketing in a cheap dress.”

PRNewser’s Joe Ciarallo brings up the point that PR firms are banking on the influencer more and more. In particular, there’s “Ogilvy PR’s ‘scalable Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) influencer activation platform.'” Um, whatever that means.


Jarvis continues, “But if it’s the message that is, indeed, the key to influence then there’s really no way to predict and thus measure and replicate its power; messages spread on merit. That is a frightening idea for marketers because the viral influencer in social media &#151 pick your buzzword &#151 is their messiah for the digital age, the key to escaping the cost and inefficiency of mass media (and the cost and apparent tedium of real relationships with us as individuals). If you can’t bottle influence, you can’t sell it.”

Whatever the correct plan of action the influencer is part of today’s social media discussion. Do your agencies target these influential social media players or focus on a more organic approach relying on truer brand agents &#151 those die-hard individuals who love brand x, but don’t have 10,000 followers? The discussion is open.

**we should mention that Jarvis is an investor in 33Across, which he discloses in the post. The company “uses social graph data to dramatically improve online marketing,” which is essentially what he discusses in his post.

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