Just a few days after my Winfluence interview with Onalytica’s Alistair Wheate, his company announced the first major philosophical advancement in influencer marketing in years. Onalytica playfully announced on its blog that it is bidding farewell to influencer lists. But the real news of the announcement was the company will no longer simply look at influencers as influencers alone, but as one of six different subsegments of influential people.

Lists of influencers

While the sexy, “Top 10 influencers in the X industry” blog posts are link-bait magic (here’s Onalytica’s list of health and fitness influencers), they cater to the lowest-common denominator thinking of most people looking for influencers to target. There has forever been flaws in that thinking. Onalytica will now categorize influential people in its databases in one of six categories:

  • Social influencers, who amplify content on social media, which is how most brands think of influencers.
  • Content creators, or people who create good content that a brand may wish to use or own, with social influence not necessarily attached.
  • Event speakers, who have a more specific role in influence and may not bring with them social media influence or specific content creation skills but can hold an audience and lead thought from the stage.
  • Industry analysts who study a given niche and are experts, with respected opinions.
  • Brand employees, an emerging category of influencers who have influence because of their positions within a given company and are free to leverage that publicly.
  • Brands and Publications, which recognizes that media outlets and even brand blogs, events and newsletters may be incredibly influential to a given audience, too.

This genre’d look at influence is a refreshing take on not only how we identify influencers but how we think about leveraging them. My guess is that too few brands and agencies using influence marketing strategies have dissected the intent (influence) into channels (events, publications, content creators and social influencers) to see how each may play a role in their programming.

The fact that Onalytica is bringing to its platform a more distinct separation of these influencer types again illustrates the company’s forward thinking for the industry. Whether other tools or agencies agree with this approach of segmentation, it won’t be long before smart brands and marketers are asking them to think this way, too.

It’s just smart.

Tomorrow Onalytica will publish its first Who’s Who report on the Industrial Internet of Things. I, for one, am excited to see it, just to witness the evolution of the top-X list into something more meaningful.

Kudos Onalytica. We were all ready for this.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

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