Influencer marketing: Who’s the right one for the job?

A four-tier classification simplifies the decision

Influencer marketing: Who’s the right one for the job?
© Social Match

According to a recent survey by the German Association for the Digital Economy [BVDW], 61 percent of companies in Germany that advertise have plans to increase their budgets for influencer marketing.

And not all firms are partnering with the big stars such as Bibi et al. Many prefer what are known as “micro-influencers” who have limited numbers of followers and primarily work in niche areas.

Newcomers to influencer marketing in particular have questions to answer: Which influencer is suitable for my product? Which target group do I want and have the ability to reach? Is my product something for the mainstream market, or is it a niche product? To provide answers, the influencer marketing agency Social Match recently presented the “pyramid of influence.” The model shows four different tiers of consumers, distinguished on the basis of their interest and expertise around a particular topic. Here is how consumers can be broken down into four tiers:

I LIVE IT: The top tier of the pyramid consists of the absolute experts in a particular subject area. They are constantly involved with the topic, earning a living through it and living for it.

I LOVE IT: This tier comprises consumers whose expertise on a particular topic sets them apart from other consumers. They devote most of the time of their lives to this topic.

I LIKE IT: Consumers who are increasingly involved with a topic but view it as nothing more than a hobby. They invest neither time nor money in it.

I KNOW IT: Consumers at this level are aware of a particular topic but don’t take a deeper interest in it. The mainstream belongs in this latter tier and makes up the largest of all the groups.

Two strategies for influencer marketing can be derived from this “pyramid of influence:” pull marketing and push marketing.

Pull marketing refers to the launch of a strategy and thus begins at the I LIVE IT level. Experts have to be convinced of a company’s own product and tied to the brand. The goal is to transmit the image of the influencer/expert onto the brand. The aim behind this strategy is for consumers to orient themselves around the expertise of influencers as the brand establishes itself as mainstream.

So when selecting an influencer for pull marketing, the following points must be taken into consideration:

– brand fit
– the influencer’s standing
– positioning in the brand environment
– content quality


Push marketing, on the other hand, applies to the I LIKE IT and I KNOW IT levels. The main goal here is to generate reach and have influencers promote a product for a short period of time.

When selecting an influencer for push marketing, the following points need to be factored in:

– reach
– likes, followers, commitment
– target-group fit
– growth
– credibility

The bottom line:

There are different strategies for influencer marketing that suit each brand and each product. Reach and the numbers of followers are not always crucial to the success of a campaign. What is important is for marketers to consider, before launching a campaign, what specific goals they want to achieve by partnering with influencers. If the goal is to establish a product or brand over the long term with the aid of social-media experts, then the pull strategy is the right one for the job. If the goal is to direct attention to a product for just a short period of time, then the push strategy is the one to use.