The Future of Marketing and The 14 Types Of Influencers [Infographic]

It’s no secret that today’s constantly connected consumers have grown distrustful of – or flat out ignore – traditional advertising, and that marketers need to adapt. A paltry 24 percent of online consumers trust the ads they see [Source: Zuberance]. Compare this to the 90 percent that trust recommendations from people they know or follow, and you’ll begin to see why influencer marketing has become so important.

Brands reaching out to influencers can expect about 9-10 percent of them to open the brand’s emails – next to just 1 to 2 percent of non-influencers [Source: Forbes]. Influencer campaigns work. But in order to get them to work, marketers need to find the right influencers for the job. We call this relevancy marketing.

Based on our experience running numerous influencer marketing campaigns over the past three years, we’ve identified 14 types of influencers. Some are motivational masters that have perfected the art and science of getting a crowd to take action. Others are consummate connectors when you need help connecting with others, and some can even throw a wrench into your whole campaign. It’s important to understand what type of influencer you’re working with in order to run a successful campaign.


Everyone knows the name “George Foreman.” But chances are, most weekend warriors don’t readily associate his name with the World Heavyweight championship. Instead, they picture a fat-reducing grill.

After George’s return from retirement, the boxer began crediting healthy eating for his success. This was a perfect fit for Russell Hobbs Inc. They got George on board as the spokesperson for their grill, and since the partnership 15 years ago they have sold over 100 million units.

George is what we call a Cool Capitalist influencer. His name resonates with people as someone with business savvy, and his remarkable accomplishments as a boxing champion add to his credibility. He’d be a fantastic spokesperson for health or fitness products, and maybe even cooking gear.

Another influencer with ties to the sports world is Mark Cuban. Mark isn’t your everyday expert – he’s a Networked Ninja, using his skills, expertise and – most importantly – his connections to just about everybody you can think of in the sports industry to build up influence.

During Super Bowl XLVI, Mark made a cameo at the end of a Skechers ad. He appeared for just a few seconds, but it was enough – the ad ranked third overall according to USA Today’s Ad Meter 2012.

Of course, Mark and Skechers go together like bananas and ice cream. Skechers is a sports brand, and Mark is the guy for all things sports influence. But Mark’s huge sports and business networks could also be a good fit for TV and entertainment (he owns Magnolia Pictures and is chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV), entrepreneurs, business software, tech and lots of other industries.

However, as you’ll see in the infographic we’ve prepared above, not all influencers are good influencers for brands. There are those known as the Flim Flam (Wo)Man type – the anti-influencers. These people will confuse your audience to no end, and may even end up hurting your bottom line.

Take the Ashton Kutcher-PopChips debacle for example. Last year, PopChips released a web video featuring Ashton Kutcher as several young bachelors looking for love on a dating game show. Most of these “personalities” were harmless, but one stood out as particularly offensive to a large segment of the media, and to PopChips’ customers: Raj, a stereotypical Indian man painted in brown face.

As the media raged over the alleged racism in the ad, you can bet the marketing executives at PopChips were kicking themselves for choosing Ashton as their bachelor. Although they were no doubt aware of his prank-loving personality long before signing on with him, his humor backfired because it didn’t resonate with their audience.

Understanding the 14 types of influencers and their relationships with their audience is essential to connecting with the right influencers for your brand – and avoiding your own flim-flam fiascos.


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  1. Thanks for including the infographic. Well done.