Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

Recently, I was taking my significant other out to dinner when she asks me where I want to go. My answer, like any reasonable gentleman, was "wherever you’d like to go is fine by me."

Then it struck me – though I was picking up the check, she made the decision based on what pleased her.

Those moments happen all the time, and can greatly influence buying habits and, often times, be the driving force behind the rapid adoption of new products. Take my company, TV Ears (, for instance. A significant percentage of our customers buy our doctor-recommended assisted listening devices because their family and friends have told them in no uncertain terms how tired they are of being blown out of the living room because the television volume is turned up too loud. In several cases, spouses of our customers tell us that the product has literally saved their marriage!

So while not always the dominant reason for the purchase, the buyer’s circle of friends and confidants can be a big factor in why people ultimately open up their purse strings.

Influencers are an essential target audience in our marketing strategy, and I would bet that other companies do the same. I’ve found, however, that this is easier said than done, and due care and consideration for how best to communicate with them is essential if sales are to rise. In order to prevent others from reinventing the wheel, I thought I’d offer the three questions I try to answer when setting up a new promotion initiative for this specific group:

  • How do the influencer’s pain points differ from the buying customer? Though the outcome may be the same, the perspective could be much different. In the case of TV Ears, the value to the influencer is one of providing peace, harmony and, in some cases, marital bliss! For the buyer it most likely means hearing the television more clearly.
  •  What are the key factors in an influencer’s selection of one product over a rival? Depending on the individual, the overarching question may have as much to do with convenience and appearance as it does feature and function. Regardless, understanding these nuances and answering to them could make the difference between landing a sale and losing one.
  •  How does the influencer like to hear about such products? Now that I know what the pain points are and the factors that influencers will include in their purchasing decision, I must understand how best to communicate with them. For instance, if my main customers for TV Ears are married men over 50, advertising to the always influential woman of the house will probably be more effective if we stay away from the Sports sections of the newspapers. That’s certainly not to say that the wives aren’t interested in such topics, but chances are, they’re reading other sections more frequently and the awareness factor will rise more rapidly if I cater to their habits more effectively.

The level of effort to specifically reach out to influencers may be higher, but experience tells me the return is far greater. Communicating with those that the customer holds in high regard can be almost as good as word of mouth referrals. That’s why it’s a big part of our marketing initiative, and, as a result, our sales.