A marketing strategy being used increasingly often is influencer marketing, or targeting people known to influence others so that they will use their influence in the marketer’s favor. These influencers are the lead users we discussed in the chapter on designing offerings. If you spend some time on Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) Crest toothpaste Web site, you might be given a chance to complete a survey. (Someone who is very interested in dental care is more likely to take the survey.) The survey asks if you talk about dental care products, if you research such products, and if you influence others. These questions and questions like them are used to identify influencers. P&G then provides influencers with product samples and opportunities to participate in market research. The idea is that new offerings should be cocreated with influencers because they are more likely to be both lead users, early adopters of new offerings, and influence other people’s decisions to buy them.
That was the idea behind JCPenney’s Ambrielle lingerie community. Carros and other JCPenney employees on the Ambrielle marketing team devised a strategy of identifying women who would be willing to join a special community. A community, in the marketing sense, is a social group that centers its attention on a particular brand or product category. Another term for a community is a social network. The social network for Ambrielle lingerie is illustrated in Figure 14.1 A Social Network .