Influencer in Marketing: Definition & Overview

Instructor: Wendy Stewart

Wendy teaches college courses in Business, has a master's degree in Business Administration, and has completed all coursework for a Doctorate of Business Administration

Influencers have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their knowledge, authority, position, or relationships. Influencer marketing targets individuals with influence over potential customers. Learn more about the definition and importance of influencers in marketing, see some examples, and test your knowledge with a quiz.


Jennifer is trying to decide what type of new designer handbag she wants to buy. She has saved her money and is ready to make a big purchase. She goes to the mall and looks at all of the options, but she cannot make a decision. When she gets home, she searches the Internet to help her make up her mind. While on the Web, she notices that her favorite actress, Angelica Jones, is carrying a Louis Vuttenburg brown handbag with gold accents. Jennifer goes to the Louis Vuttenburg website and finds the name of the exact purse Angelica Jones was carrying - and buys it!

Angelica Jones is an influencer to Jennifer. Influencers have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their knowledge, authority, position, or relationships.

Lady with purse

The Voice of the Customer

Jennifer also has a popular fashion blog with over 20,000 visitors each day. She writes about her shopping adventures and the celebrities she admires. She gives her personal opinion on other things like her favorite pair of blue jeans, the best local fashion stylists, and her most-used hair styling products. This makes Jennifer an influencer as well.

People telling other people about their favorite products and services has always been an effective marketing tool. With the onset of social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs, the consumer now has a giant megaphone for their voice to be heard. As a result, the power between customers and brands has shifted because customers today can give honest recommendations to others that will influence their buying decisions.

Word-of-Mouth (WOM)

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing generates more than twice the amount of sales compared to paid advertising. Influencers give peer recommendations through WOM, and their voices are amplified through social media outlets. The fastest growing demographics for influencers are millennials and moms.

Brand Influencers

Sometimes being an influencer is not just about popularity, but also knowledge on a subject. Jennifer is practically obsessed with the clothing brand named Mango Republic. She knows every fact and minute detail about this brand. People will come to her blog just to find out what she is saying about Mango Republic.

Because of this, Jennifer is considered a brand influencer. She has expertise and credibility on the subject matter and has developed a relationship with her followers.

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