Influencer Marketing is Broken – Think Expert Marketing Instead


According to Kevin Knight of Experticity, influencer marketing is broken. Instead, brands should think about expert marketing.  

“Influencer marketing today is about reach. Expert marketing is about trust,” Knight says.  

Focusing mostly on reach, i.e., through celebrities and those with huge followings, is where influencer marketing goes wrong. Instead of focusing primarily on influencers who have a large reach, brands should look for those who move others through their expertise and who willingly share that expertise in what he calls thoughtful reviews.  

Experts are influencers whose passion, experience and knowledge make the trusted sources for advice. They are more influential than celebrities, he says.



Knight spoke at the Influencer Marketing Days conference going on today and tomorrow in New York. A veteran of working at Facebook, Google and Pinterest, Knight is now chief marketing officer of startup Experticity, a platform for connecting brands with expert influencers.

There are three types of influencers, he says, and it’s critical to understand the motivations of each type, how they earn, and how they influence.  

Experts – These are people you’ve probably never heard of. Experts may be someone with a day job.  Or they may be someone who does tutorials and dispenses advice on videos or a blog. Think of a great in-depth review, and this type of person may come to mind.  

The example Knight used is Kristin Genn with 32,000 YouTube followers. She has fewer followers than Kim Kardashian by far. But unlike KK, she gives advice.

Publishers – These are influencers who have started some kind of publication, such as a blog. Publishers make their money from building up an audience just like any media outlet. The example he gave is Design Mom. She started a blog years ago that she focuses on.   

Tastemakers –  These are celebrity types, with huge social followings. The example he gave is Amber Fillerup with 1.3 million followers on Instagram. She started as an expert, publishing tutorials on hair braiding on YouTube. From there she became a tastemaker. This year she is projected by some to make between $2 and $4 million.

Amber Fillerup doesn’t recommend products or speak about a particular product’s virtues over another product. She simply presents an item to her followers as something she likes, Knight points out.  She influences through inspiration, he says.

Knight says that when brands focus primarily on reach, they’re concentrating at the top of the sales funnel — i.e., on heightening awareness.

By focusing on experts you’re getting closer to consumers at the bottom of the funnel, i.e., those with buying intent. Experts create content which is more authentic, and moves people to buy. He points to a study which showed that 82 percent of people said they’d be likely to follow the recommendations of experts.

“Connecting with influencers is good. Connecting with experts is better,” said Knight.

Image: Small Business Trends, Anita Campbell

3 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

3 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    It is important to have something to offer. You need to be an expert too and contribute something valuable if you want other people to promote you.

  2. Audrey Zack Works at MobiCommerce

    Just want to give big-ups for sharing such a superb thing in one line said by Kevin. If you want people to hear you or follow you, you must become an expert in your field. It not only gives you name and fame, but also gives money as well.

  3. I have to agree with this.

    Expert marketing in your niche is like drilling down deep in your target market on a PPC ad. The people that listen to the experts are waaaaaay more interested than the rest of the masses. Definitely the way to go!

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