Or, asked another way: to whom is your marketing directed?

On one hand, maybe you’re convinced that influencing the influencers is your best bet.  Rather than spending money to reach an audience that isn’t prepared to act on your message, you’d rather focus on the tastemakers, innovators and icons whose behaviors create culture.  And if a person whom that culture trusts is willing to vouch for your product or service, that person’s own audience is more likely to believe your message than if it came from you personally.

On the other hand, some people don’t believe influencers actually exist.  They advocate a more fluid approach, in which your message (or your very product) is released in multiple versions.  Then, by tracking your audience’s responses, you can continually zero in on the version(s) that work best.

Which approach is the right approach?  The one that works for you.

Certain brands perform exceedingly well simply by targeting the tastemakers in the markets they’d like to penetrate.  But those influencers (if they exist) are highly sought-after by all brands, which means you need to stand far above the pack before they’ll ever notice you.

Other companies are experts at casting a wide net and refining their message based on which of its aspects are most resonant.  Yet this approach requires rigorous reporting and analysis of incoming data in order to clarify your own understanding of the public’s perception, as well as a willingness among your team to repeatedly tinker with what they feel may already be working well enough.

Neither method is “right” or “wrong,” but one of them is probably a better fit for you at the moment.  But before you can decide on the direction of your marketing, you need to understand two key facets of your own company:

  • Are you more interested in appealing to the tastemakers or the masses?
  • Which methodology is your team best-equipped to process and execute?

Once you know who you are, you’re much better prepared to communicate your assets to the people who most need to appreciate them: your customers.