Users are the “New Influencers” in Marketing

The New InfluencersYesterday, I attended a webinar hosted by Cymfony, and featured the author of The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media, Paul Gillin, a speaker, writer, and social media strategist. The presentation was phenomenal, to say the least. Paul Gillin is an extremely knowledgeable individual who taught me as much as possible in the 45 to 50 minutes that he spoke in this webinar. I encourage any of you interested in how users are taking over the internet and become the “new influencers,” to check out this webinar and consider buying his book for even more knowledge wealth.

As Gillin explained, and I constantly stress, consumers are now in control. Through various websites dedicated to publishing consumer satisfaction and dis-satisfaction (The Consumerist, Planet Feedback, Ripoff Report, etc), the blogosphere, and other Web 2.0 mediums, consumers are tapping into other consumers’ experiences with the products and services they use every day.

Gillin referenced a few fascinating individuals, whom he further discusses in his book, that he sees as just a representative sample of those hundreds of influencers contribute their user generated content on the web for all to see. Among those he references is Vincent Ferrari, an individual who posted a five minute recorded audio file of a conversation with AOL, during which he repeatedly asked to cancel his account, and AOL repeatedly refusing. After posting the audio, his server crashed at least four times from an overload of traffic before the sixth day of its presence on the web, when he appeared on the Today Show to discuss this clip. As you can see, one dissatisfied individual is sharing his experiences with a service provider for thousands, and in this case, millions, of people to hear about. The YouTube interview is located here.

I’m happy to say that Gillin’s presentation got me thinking. It got me thinking about my initial education in the advertising field, my self-taught knowledge after graduation, and wondering which of the two I am currently using the most of. My university education consisted primarily of traditional advertising and its messaging strategy. To quote Gillin, “messages are becoming increasingly irrelevant.” If this is the case, then is my entire advertising education useless? It seems to me that only a few elective courses and perhaps one or two required advertising classes have benefited me in my post-graduation career. Things have to change. Those teaching these courses are those who were executives in the market 2, 5, or even 10 years ago. Times have changed. We need to find some way for the educational community to keep up with the advertising and marketing market so that the students who learn from them can be prepared when graduating.

There’s no way I can capture Gillin’s passion on the subject and how he can incorporate the whole picture into this discussion, so I highly encourage you to view the webinar if you are at all interested. Also consider Gillin’s book “The New Influencers,” a further discussion of how individuals are becoming THE influencers of market buys. I’ve attended many, many webinars, and I can not even begin to tell you what an incredible experience this was, compared to many others on the topic. Please, take advantage of this free educational opportunity and download the archive of this webinar for yourThe New Influencers own personal viewing.

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