I’ve been invited to talk about Social Influence Marketing and the concept of Super Peers at ECMOD in October.

Here is the summary.

Super peers are individuals who influence the opinions, behaviour and buying patterns of others.

They exist in your social group and in your customer base and the long and numerous tentacles of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter are magnifying their effect.

When was the last time you chose to dine out alone, to go to the cinema alone or to go on holiday alone? The truth is that we tend to do a lot in groups of two or more and that it’s usually one key person who influences the attendance or buying decision in any given group.  The rest of us are often happy to accept the firm brand conviction of our Super Peer, often without much thought and usually with even less resistance.

That might be golf in Portugal rather than Spain; Indian rather than Chinese take-away or M&S rather than Waitrose. In every case some brands win and others lose. The losers don’t ever find out that they lost and the winners rarely understand why they won.

It works in perception too. If asked, most of us would admit to having preferred a particular brand or switched brands as a result of the passionately expressed opinion of a trusted friend, business colleague or relative. “Oh if you are buying one of those you have to buy a *****”. It’s the power of trusted word of mouth and 10 of my friends have bought Outback barbecues as a direct result of my widely expressed opinion on the subject.

It takes quite a shove to shift even a non-passionate regular customer from one brand to another.  The Super Peer is closer to that prospect and can do that shoving for you, given the incentive and the brand devotion.

If you can find the super peers in your customer base, encourage them, profile and clone them you can realize much higher levels of ROI on your marketing spend. They will start promoting your brand for you and they will keep doing so until you stop loving them.

In his talk, Mark Walmsley introduces the concept of the Super Peer and offers guidance for finding them, encouraging them, profiling them and cloning them.