Jan 28, 2009

Buying influence

Posted by: Marian Salzman In: influence| media

Bloggers, Facebookers and the like are taking advantage of their own influencing power to generate revenue, by selling that power to brands and businesses. I call this the Personal CPM. And the more value these influencers develop as their own media brand, the more they compete for eyeballs with big media. Consumers with personal CPMs will siphon attention, influence and dollars away from big media in hundreds of thousands of small ways—it’s asymmetric media warfare. Corporations need to develop entirely new skill sets and business models to deal with personal CPMs. These small but powerful influencers have everything in their favor except long-established brand status and resources. The opportunity is to talent-spot and cultivate personal CPMs to create win-wins—giving influencers access to brand resources in return for having their (unbiased) pulling power onboard. An unbiased referral counts for a lot, whereas a paid recommendation is just another case of “hire a liar.” In this case, brands have to be prepared to engage honest criticism as well as enthusiastic acclaim.


The concept of Personal CPMs is triggering some interesting debate right now. I first put forward the idea in my 2008 trend predictions, and in fact Personal CPMs are fast becoming more relevant in our social-media-driven, values-driven, increasingly Digital Native-ruled world. Brand Networks CEO Jamie Tedford brought up Personal CPMs this week in Marketing Daily; he touches on what they could mean for reputation transparency and for privacy. At the Online Publishers Association in Boca Raton last week, I spoke about Personal CPMs and how they relate to consumers’ rising focus on Value and Values during the economic crash and recovery—as well as the implications for big media. (Also, check out Groundswell’s Charlene Li talking about Personal CPMs.)  Login below and post your thoughts in the Comments.

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