Published by the Que Biz-Tech imprint of business publisher Pearson, it was the result of 3-4 years of criticism of current influence models, as well as years of research, client work and case studies that highlighted what real influence means.
Since the book was published, a few folks have asked if the book would be of use to them, based on their goals, personal and professional. Instead of writing why the book would be a good fit, I thought it might be more fun to show why you’d hate the Influence Marketing book instead.
1. It Won’t Help You With Your Klout Score
When we first announced the book, a lot of people expected it to be an anti-Klout book, or anti-social scoring. After all, both Sam and I have been pretty vocal with our views on social scoring platforms and their take on influence.
However, contrary to popular belief, neither of us “hate” these platforms; nor do we discount the role they’ve played in starting the bigger conversation around influence within the social sphere, and what that looks like today.
That being said, we’re also realistic in what the likes of Klout can and can’t do, as this quote from the book shows:
We’re not suggesting that social scoring platforms are useless, only that basing influence marketing campaigns on them is shortsighted. To measurably and effectively generate business value from influence marketing, we must first understand and navigate the disruptive forces created by social media and the pervasive [social scoring] technologies previously outlined in Chapter 4.
One of my biggest “pet projects”, if you like, is the value of context when it comes to data, and for Sam and myself scoring platforms lack the level of contextual data needed to really define influence.
To that end, we share information on current social influence tools in Chapter 4, but that’s pretty much the only mention of these platforms. So if you’re looking to increase your Klout score or similar, this book isn’t for you.
2. It’s Not an Easy Read
When we first started the book process, one of the topics of discussion that came up was the language of the book. From the start, we knew that the direction of the book – a “true” business book versus a 101-type business book – would mean the language would need to complement the direction.
This meant deep conversations around text analytics, ontology, trend currents and more. Initially, the publisher wished for a simpler approach that would appeal to the everyday reader.
While we could have simplified the copy, that – for us – would have diluted the mature direction we wanted to move the influence conversation in. Full credit to our publisher, they acquiesced and allowed us to write the book we wanted.
Some reviews allude to the writing style – Alan Kelly mentions, “Beware, the authors do go geek. References to ontologies (p. 117) are spot-on and may scare the casual reader.” while Robert Clarke states, “…the tone and language felt a little too technical, and text-bookish for me.”
Funnily enough, the text book quip makes perfect sense, as Sam has already been approached by Rutgers to run one of their digital classes, and I’ll be presenting a 14-week course on Influence Marketing at Seneca College early next year. Since one of our goals was to make the book one that could be used in a scholastic setting, this was vindication we’d succeeded in that respect.
So, if you like an easy weekend read with little to make you stop and think, this book is not for you.
3. It Doesn’t Offer Short Cuts
Back in the “good old days” of marketing, there were no real shortcuts to identifying market opportunities and delivering strategies and tactics based on the information available to you.
Research was laborious, filtering data could be mind-numbing, and settling in for the long haul was expected when it came to setting goals and milestones for meeting these goals.
Enter social media and, by association, social scoring, and a lot of the legwork was taken care of – or so it would seem. Instead of having to research, identify and curate lists of target audience members, now you could pay a premium and have a ready-made list of “influencers” do your job for you.
Instead of having to correlate expenses to goals, what the success metrics would look like and how that impacted both top and bottom line, now you could promote the fact you got X amount of impressions and your social proof – Likes, retweets, etc., – was through the roof.
All well and good – except impressions, social proof and their ilk rarely equate to financial return on the scale needed to see the campaign recognized as a success.
In the book, we share the framework we’ve used, as well as the methodologies that will help your brand truly understand what influence is, and how to tie it directly to your Return on Investment (ROI) and profit metrics. But as we also point out in the book, this takes time and effort – lots and lots of effort.
If you’re looking for a quick buzz fire sale when it comes to influence and your brand, this book is not for you.
If You Can Get Past These Flaws…
So there you have it – three simple yet important reasons why you would probably hate Influence Marketing. Like any book, especially a non-fiction business book, it’s not for everyone, and I’d hate to see you disappointed with your purchase if you were to buy it.
Sometimes a book comes along that changes the way we do business. Influence Marketing will be one of these books.
The choice is yours. If the three reasons here resonate, run for the hills and far away! If, on the other hand, that sounds the opposite of your approach, you can choose your preferred book retailer here.
Either way, don’t say you haven’t been warned…
Ontology image: Francis Rowland