2023 Isn’t the Year of Influencers … It’s the Year of Influence

Influencer Marketing

2023 Isn’t the Year of Influencers … It’s the Year of Influence

Are you tired to 2023 predictions yet? I wasn’t until one kept popping up in my feeds that was just blatantly wrong. At least from my perspective as someone who believes in influence marketing, without the ‘r.’

No fewer than three headlines passed by today saying some version of “2023 Will Be The Year of Influencer Marketing.” Even Ogilvy fell victim to the tired, end-of-year linkbait trend

(And as I wrote that it dawned on me that I linked to them, so to a degree, the tactic worked.)


To be clear, I love influencers. Even if I’ve resigned myself to call them creators more frequently. As I wrote in Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand, the mass media rubbernecking around the worst of the worst in influencer marketing has made many believe the title to be a scarlet letter. 

I do think leveraging creators with large social followings can have an incredible impact on your brand’s marketing success. They’re great for creating awareness. Some are even good at driving sales and conversion. If you approach the right creator with the right creative concept, or can build one with them, influencers in the traditional sense, can be a boon.

But when you are focused on “influencer marketing” the semantics imply you are only focused on social media creators with large followings. There’s so much more to be had here. In both my book and regularly on my podcast, I talk about the concept of influence marketing (without the “r”). That implies something different.

Influence marketing means you’re looking at individuals in terms of the context of their influence. The focus isn’t on collecting follower counts, but rather on that individual’s ability to persuade the specific audience you’re trying to reach to take action.

Focusing on influence rather than influencers keeps you grounded on the verb … the goal … to influence people. With the “r” you focus on the person who is not your ultimate target. They are simply a path to them. 

So when I see headlines and predictions about how important influencer marketing is to your planning for 2023, it hurts my head and my heart. Because there is a better way, a smarter way, to accomplish the same goal.

Community Influence Marketing

Every member of your brand community has influence. It may be only over their family and friends, but guess what? That type of influence is the most powerful for driving consumer purchase. 

Recommendations from family and friends were singled out as far more trustworthy than advertising by 92% of people globally, according to Nielsen. In Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin’s seminal book on word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing, Talk Triggers, family and friend recommendations rank only behind personal experience and familiarity with the brand as the most valued source of information when making a substantial purchase.

But guess what? Not every person in your brand community only influences their family and friends. Many, in fact, have hundreds, if not thousands of online followers themselves. They may or may not consider themselves content creators or even influencers, but they all have impact you’re not likely capitalizing on.

This is why my thinking around influence marketing has evolved to prefer Community Influence Marketing. And one of the major reasons I left agency life and pontificating about influence marketing full-time to join CIPIO.ai. 

While CIPIO.ai is a larger platform that drives Community Commerce Marketing, the Community Influence Marketing application within that portfolio is the software version of my influence marketing philosophy.   

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

How many of your brand’s Instagram followers are influencers? How many of them have 10,000 or more followers? How about 5,000 or more? Maybe even 1,000 or more? You don’t know? 

With Community Influence Marketing you do. Because you prioritize and analyze your followers, customers, employees and beyond to map your community’s influence. 

When you have that map in hand, your thinking on how you communicate your message and through which channels changes. Why? Because people inside your brand community don’t need to be convinced. They already know you. They probably like or love you. They also probably trust you.

If they tell their friends, family and followers that, you win. 

And probably don’t have to pay exorbitant fees to do so.

Let’s Correct Their Grammar

Lots of people will be firing off content in the next few weeks heralding influencer marketing as the big priority for 2023. They’ll beckon you to their company or website to plug into the world of finding expensive creators with thousands of followers to do sponsored content with. 

But none of them will plug you into the community of influence you already have.

Well, I do know one software platform that can. ;-)

So, join me in jumping into the comments on those posts that fly by lauding 2023 as the year of influencer marketing and correct the grammar. It is not about influencers anymore. It’s about influence.

Drop the ‘r’.

Jason Falls is CIPIO.ai’s EVP for Marketing. He is also the author of Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand and host of Winfluence – The Influence Marketing Podcast. He will gladly show you a demo of CIPIO.ai’s Community Influence Marketing application personally.


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