Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Value of Influence

What price should we pay for influence?

In Cathy Taylor's post yesterday on the the IPG and SocialVibe hook up one of the reasons mentioned was that marketers could measure the influence of endorsements. Presumably the points earned in the SocialVibe model stand in as the metric of interest. Definitely an interesting way to learn how social networks work.

Influence seems to be just as thorny a problem as 'engagement.' How can we assign a value to it until we understand what it is. We might want to start by wrestling with some basic research questions: What is it precisely? How is it transmitted? How long does it last? These suggest a strategy of taking small steps first before deciding on a CPM-like metric. Who knows what the levers are that make it all tick and work together.

And a word to all who worry about the measurement question first: Any new media has similar growing pains - can you imagine the Bulova accountants trying to determine the ROI on the first TV spot in 1941; a $9 - 20 second ad during a baseball game. I doubt the marketing team used TRPs to make their case.

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