Influencers: Mark Schaefer Explains Why They Are The Future Of Marketing

Influence |ˈinflo͝oəns|

noun - the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.

Source: Merriam Webster Dictionary

To be an influencer is to use that power to shape and mold the way people think, speak, and act. The Influencer is the greatest marketing tool a brand can have. Brands want a spokesperson who will drive the buying power of the masses to their products and services. A trendsetter at best. A person whose tongue has the Midas touch. Their words are like honey, dripping from their lips, sweet to the eyes and ears of those who follow them.

That’s influence.

Industry expert, Mark Schaefer, whose bio reads longer than life, shared some key insights on the importance of Influencers in the marketing industry. His first nugget: “we are marching towards an ad free world.” Unless it’s TV commercials, ads are becoming far, few, and in between. It’s now possible for people to subscribe to satellite ad free TV and use ad blockers on their smartphones, desktops, and laptops. Since the consumption of ad space has declined and continues to decline rapidly by the masses, his question is: “with large marketing budgets, how do we spend those dollars and reach people with our message?”

His answer, which he believes is the leading answer, is to connect with online experts, fanatics, and self-made entertainers, also known as influencers. The goal is to create a human connection with a brand’s product and services through the influencer. He states, “most businesses have become detached institutions, soul-less, boring, and uptight.” However, those on the web who we love and admire, we listen to them. We’ll follow their instructions and ultimately buy what they recommend.

Mark believes that “influence marketing” will become mainstream practice. When he wrote, “Return on Influence,” back in 2012, Mark says the influencer was an unfamiliar idea but predicted that influence marketing would become a recognized practice within in two years. He was correct. Now, influence marketing is the second fastest growing line item on marketing budgets in the U.S., with content marketing leading the way.


Content shared by a stranger is more trustworthy than ads by a brand. According to Mark, there is research to support this claim. It is known that most purchase decisions are based upon the content shared online. Influence marketing is so strong, that purchases resulting from influencer recommendations equate to approximately eight times what an influencer purchased on their own. 

Influencer testimonials are key to consumer purchasing, as well as repetition in products and services. This creates trust and consumer rapport.

So if influence marketing is such a powerful tool, why isn’t it the number one marketing resource? Mark says, “most companies are applying it poorly.” Many brands who pitch influencers spam them and make far-fetched requests for product placement that jeopardizes their credibility. Companies don’t understand that the success of influence marketing requires patience, as well as a long-term commitment. Most companies just aren’t willing to go the extra mile. 

In the end, influence marketing has a purpose and need.

It works, but only when done right. 

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