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What Markets Need Practitioner Influencers?

July 4, 2017 - influencer content marketing -
By: Yolanda Fintschenko

If you have decided to use influencer content marketing to drive new business, hopefully you have fleshed out your buyer persona enough to identify the kind of influencer persona needed to inspire buyers to purchase your product. Even if you have an influencer marketing CRM tool, you are going to have to put some elbow grease into determining the characteristics of your influencer. In some cases, this might mean a journalist or celebrity with a lot of followers on social media. In other cases, you might be looking for someone who is a practitioner in your market, someone who has a reputation based on achievement—the practinfluencer. So how do you determine if your market needs a practinfluencer or an influencer?

Your product requires specific knowledge to use

At Fixate, we have demonstrated a lot of value to our customers who sell tools and platforms to the DevOps market. Clearly, to use these tools and platforms, DevOps customers need to know how to code. And this means persuasive content needs to be written by someone who is also a developer. However, this requirement isn’t limited just to tools for tech.

Are you selling to law firms? Mechanics? Accountants? Are your products ingredients for food, cosmetics, or feed? Do you sell medical devices, drugs, scientific instruments, equipment, or supplies? As diverse as these products are, they require a certain amount of specific knowledge. Convincing a buyer that your product will solve their problem requires specific knowledge for your influencer to build trust. The influencer also must communicate that he or she shares the SAME PROBLEM and knows a solution.

Your market is fragmented

If you offer the only solution, frankly, buyers are going to trust you because they have no other choice but to do nothing or do it themselves. Assuming you’ve addressed a problem that people are willing to pay to solve, there isn’t that much competition for their attention or trust. Social proof that your solution has worked will be enough.

However, chances are if you were first to a good and/or new market, you won’t be alone long.

Once a market has about 300 vendors, it gets really hard for a buyer to distinguish between them. Then, the ability to get share of voice, particularly conversation share of voice, becomes extremely important. If the problem requires specific knowledge to solve, well, your influencer needs to be a practitioner.

Your audience is skeptical

If the persona traits of your audience lend themselves to skepticism, then you can’t afford to burn trust with the inexpert writing about the cheapest available freelance writer. (And your audience probably won’t believe what your company says about its product.)

All buyers begin with some skepticism, but some are more resistant to your company’s information about your product because they are trained to question everything. Are these professions your market?

  • Lawyers
  • Engineers
  • Scientists
  • Developers
  • Security (physical, cyber, etc.)
  • Law enforcement
  • Defense
  • National security
  • Psychologists
  • Finance

Don’t even bother trying to put out any content unless it is written and vetted by similarly skeptical subject matter experts. This means practitioners.

Your market is tightly regulated

Businesses held accountable by the law in order to do business tend to be very conservative. Rightfully so. If they fall afoul of regulations, then they will lose money and market share. Selling into these markets means demonstrating that you understand the regulations that they must conform to. Some examples include:

  • K-12 education
  • Insurance
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical technology
  • Food safety
  • Financial services
  • Government
  • Health care
  • Defense
  • Energy
  • Construction

The Takeaway

The better you can segment your market, the better you can understand what is required to persuade it. When trying to use influencers, it is important to understand what qualities an influencer must have to be persuasive. For many products, the popularity of the influencer him or herself is sufficient. For some markets, however, it is more important that your influencer is a practitioner in order to have enough credibility to get the attention of your buyers.


Yolanda is a scientist, writer, marketer, coach and avid runner who lives and works in Livermore, CA.  She founded Common SciSense, a marketing company for technical products, and co-founded founderTRACTION, lean marketing services for startups.