How to Expand Your Circle of Marketing Influence by Christopher Ryan

Starting with your organization at the core, everyone that you can possibly do business with can be pinpointed somewhere in relation to the center.  As those individuals in the outer reaches of our marketing influence are brought closer to you, they become part of your circle. Those nearest to the core are loyal, lifetime customers, prospects in active sales cycle and others that you have direct influence on. Those farthest away do not even know that you exist.

Traditional “push marketing” models chart this movement through the marketing and sales sequence using terminology such as suspects, leads, cold prospects, hot prospects and customers. They try to find individual suspects in the larger universe and convince them to move up their purchase intentions. By contrast, in today’s social media focused “pull marketing” model, the idea is to broadcast powerful and consistent messages to the universe and give people good reasons to engage with you.

Over time, the inner and middle circles grow as people become closer to you. Because you are providing the right message at the right time, people are educating themselves and willingly engaging with you – not because of the persistence and brilliance of your sales people and the fact you push yourself on them, but rather because they need your products or services. The complexity of the sales process decreases and the sales cycle shrinks. 

Let’s take a look at how the circle of influence relates to your business.  The Inner Circle includes is the Key Influence group including employees, partners, customers, active prospects, personal contacts, and blog contributors.  The Middle Circle is the Moderate Influence Group and includes contact lists, blog readers, suspects, social media followers, group members (e.g. LinkedIn), affiliates, industry influencers, press, and analysts.  The Outer Circle is the Low Influence Group and includes your potential prospect universe including email lists, direct marketing lists, occasional blog readers, media readers, and suspects.  

Where you are today:

Market Awareness - Circle of Influence

This first graphic shows where you may be in your current evolution as a company.  Obviously, the size of your key influence and moderate influence groups are small in relation to the entire prospect universe. Marketing is more expensive at this stage because you must often first educate suspects before turning them into prospects.  It may be necessary to do a fair amount of push marketing at this stage. 

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Where you are going:

Market Awareness - Circle of Marketing Influence

This graphic illustrates how your pull marketing and social media efforts will help you grow the number of key influencers and moderate influencers.  Over time, these parts of the circle of influence will become a rich source of low-cost qualified buyers.  Your efforts will evolve from push marketing to pull marketing and you will be able to generate leads and new customers at a much lower acquisition cost.

The Circle of Marketing Influence is an excellent way to remember that your mission in B2B marketing is to continually expand the number of people who know what you do and why you are the obvious choice in your market space.

Christopher Ryan
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One comment

  • Tina March 29, 2011   Reply →

    Great stuff Chris. I love how you explain push and pull marketing, and how they affect your business, in simple terms.

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