The Business of Influence: 5 Questions With Traackr CMO Kirk Crenshaw


Traackr, TopRank Marketing, Altimeter Influence 2.0

A new report finds that “Influence 2.0” is the future of enterprise business and the accelerator of digital transformation as the key enabler of customer-centricity.

TopRank Marketing and Traackr teamed with Brian Solis of Altimeter to produce “Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing.”

The report surveyed 102 enterprise brand strategists and marketers worldwide on current and future executions and investments. The results outline what’s working and what’s not in current influencer marketing practice for enterprise businesses.

The report suggests that Influence 2.0—aka influencer relations—places customer experience at the center of enterprise business strategy.

“Influence 2.0 is an incredible opportunity for marketers to think differently about customer experience to fast track the inevitable changes that digital business presents,” said Solis in a press release. “Marketers must reimagine their role as a central driver of organizational change, output and impact by connecting with customers in more genuine and useful ways and on channels they trust and value.”

Traackr, TopRank Marketing, Altimeter Influence 2.0

Key findings include:

  • Influencer marketing will make a strategic move to influencer relations.
  • Budgetary projections for 2017 demonstrate a shift in prioritization.
  • Influence is expanding its footprint within the enterprise.
  • Future influence goals center on reaching new highly targeted audiences and improving sales.

Traaker CEO Pierre-Loic Assayag told brandchannel that the biggest surprise in creating this report was how far brands have come to articulate a purposeful influencer strategy. “Barely any brand interviewed mentioned leading with paid endorsement, which is a show of maturity, acknowledging that influencer marketing requires marketing teams to play the long game rather than seek ephemerous brand mentions by paid influencers.”

brandchannel spoke with Traackr CMO Kirk Crenshaw to discuss the business of influence.

BC: Your report defines the business of influence as maturing into a driving force. Can you explain that further?


Kirk Crenshaw: The concept of influence has moved past the basic pay-for-play mentality of the past, and has become a significant driver in respect to a customer’s decision process.

What has led to this tipping point? Brands are struggling more and more with the growing difficulty in reaching their target audiences. The old methods of broadcast marketing do not work like they used to—with consumers now actively ignoring it and even employing technology to block it. So to reach these targets, brands have turned to influencer marketing to reach these targeted audiences through trusted sources.

BC: How can a CMO best initiate and expedite a shift within an enterprise organization to a more human approach?

Crenshaw: The CMO needs to put the customer at the center of everything they do. I’ve led this change by first humanizing the personas we are trying to connect with. Who are they? What do they like? What is their day-to-day life like?

Then we need to build campaigns and programs based on taking their needs into account and speaking to them directly. The days of blasting a singular brand message to the world are dead.

Traackr, TopRank Marketing, Altimeter Influence 2.0

BC: How does the relationship between influencers and their communities return ROI for the enterprise?

Crenshaw: Buyers are turning to a select few they trust as experts in their fields to filter through the noise and access meaningful information.

These select few influence the opinions and ultimately the purchasing decisions of the buying community. We see an influencer’s impact on lead generation, social shares and estimated impressions as key ROI drivers. We’ve even built a budget and related ROI model to help CMOs understand—and plan for—the impact of influencer programs.

Traackr, TopRank Marketing, Altimeter Influence 2.0

BC: Are there new metrics for influencer investment and where can those additional resources be found within a company?

Crenshaw: We see three levels of impact that are being measured by our customers: outputs, outcomes and business results.  We wrote a framework on this topic as well.

In terms of finding additional resources, we have seen budgets pulled from traditional and inefficient marketing channels, such as ad budgets, and applied to influencer programs. We’ve seen headcount allocated from PR groups and even core demand generation or digital marketing teams.

Traackr, TopRank Marketing, Altimeter Influence 2.0

BC: Altimeter’s Brian Solis argues that CMOs must “support each and every moment of truth along the customer journey through Influence 2.0 practice.” What are key “moments of truth”?

Crenshaw: A moment of truth revolves around key decision points in the buying process and breaks them into four key moments:

  • Zero Moment of Truth: Introduced by Google, it’s what people search for and find after encountering the stimulus that directs their next steps.
  • First Moment of Truth: Introduced by Procter & Gamble, it’s what people think when they see your product, and the impressions they form when they read the words describing your product.
  • Second Moment of Truth: Furthering P&G’s thinking, it’s what people feel, think, see, hear, touch, smell and (sometimes) taste as they experience your product over time.
  • Ultimate Moment of Truth: A stage introduced by Solis that brings to light the importance of shared experiences and why organizations must first design them rather than just react.

Get more branding insights in our Q&A series