We're always hearing about influencers in social media marketing, but what are these supposedly-connected consumers actually good for?
In a panel called "Learning to listen to your customers," Josh Bernoff, SVP of idea development for Forrester Research, revealed how one tiny mobile operator in the UK used influencers to build itself with absolutely no marketing.
That operator, giffgaff, built its business by attracting influential people into a community. The brand does not have stores. It does not sell phones. Consumers must contact them for a free SIM card in the mail.
“If you don’t know how to put in a SIM card, they don’t want you,” Bernoff said. “They’re only looking for sophisticated users.”
The most unique aspect about giffgaff is that it has no support staff. Bernoff explained earlier in his presentation that customers are now a channel, and you have to ensure they’re happy or else face a social backlash. The mobile operator steers its customers toward an online community, where they can post their issues. Close to 95 percent of the time, another member of the community responds with the solution.
As a result, giffgaff has kept costs low, making it very inexpensive for users. It has grown from zero to thousands of customers in a matter of months, all with zero marketing, of course.