jeffkaplan_pmcOne of the many perks of my line of work (influencer relations) is getting to know people who go out and make a difference in the world. Jeff Kaplan, founder of THINKstrategies, is one of these people. He’s an influential voice on SaaS and an emerging opinion leader on cloud computing. Just as importantly (at least in my eyes), he also raises funds for cancer research and treatment. Right now he’s seeking supporters for his 3rd annual 163-mile Pan-Mass Challenge bicycle ride.

The Pan-Mass Challenge bicycle ride supports the Dana Farber Institute’s research and treatment activities aimed at helping children with cancer.

This year’s bicycle ride is August 1-2. It is expected to attract approximately 5000 riders and over 2000 volunteers, and hopes to raise over $30 million in contributions, despite today’s tough economy.

Jeff rides again this year with “Team Kermit”. The team raises funds specifically for the Jared Branfman Sunflowers for Life Fund for Pediatric Brain and Spinal Cancer Research.

Making a contribution of any size is easy and tax deductible. Find more about Pan-Mass here. You can see Jeff’s PMC profile and contribute to his personal $6,000 fund-raising goal at

Jeff didn’t ask me to post about his ride, in fact he doesn’t know I’m writing this. Drop me a line if you’re in the high tech influencer / influencer relations space and are out there doing good deeds — or know of someone who is. Happy to help get word out around my corner of the community.

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Barbara on June 22nd, 2009

Human relationships tend to be complicated, and relationships with influencers are no exception. Yet, you need to know where you stand with an influencer and to share that insight with others in your organization. That’s why so many of us strive to describe influencer relationships in terms that are simple, meaningful and broadly applicable.

There are many different systems for scoring relationship strength and, if you’re like me, you’re likely to develop a custom system rather than adopt something off-the-shelf.

Some systems are based on the old media mentions scoring. These score influencer relationships the same way that one scores media mentions: positive, negative, neutral or unknown. Usually there’s an “inactive” choice thrown into the mix.

Other systems go to into greater depth, all the way up to using 10-point scales for various attributes that average out to an overall “strength”. Typical attributes include knowledge, information exchange, willingness to engage, willingness to recommend, frequency of contact and more.

There’s no right or wrong way to do this. What matters is that you capture useful information in a professional, consistent and repeatable way and that you act on it.

Whatever method you use, consider adopting these 3 tenets:
1. Keep it as simple as possible.
2. Apply it as honestly as possible.
3. Respect the time and privacy of your influencers as much as possible.

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A group of about 60 of us converged on the Commonwealth Club in late May for an evening of networking and discussion around influencer marketing. Thanks everyone for making it such a special evening.

A Zoomify photo is available from Ron Fredericks, our videographer for the preso and Q&A. It’s at his LectureMaker blog — “Nick Hayes: Marketing Is Broken It, Influencers Can Fix It”. Click on it to launch the zoom and pan options:

Ron is working with us on the final edits to the video. Will let you know when it’s available.

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iabcworldconference2009You can get a good introduction to influencer marketing at the IABC 2009 World Conference. It’s just around the corner — in terms of timing, it’s next week; in terms of location, it’s here in San Francisco.

This year, Nick will lead a session on influencer marketing. Don’t miss it if you are attending. He takes a 360 degree viewpoint on influencers. Whatever your comms specialty, you’ll find some good ideas to take away.

T3 / Influencer marketing and the rise of decision maker ecosystems

Date: Tuesday, 9 June
Time: 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Track: Strategy & Counsel

The way large-scale business purchases are made has changed. Company structure, corporate governance, the Internet and numerous other factors have led to the rise of decision-maker ecosystems‚ networks of individuals whose opinions shape the eventual purchase decision. These ecosystems play a major role in the success of every sales force, thus marketers need to consider communication strategies that include them.

What you’ll learn:

  • How and why purchase decision making has changed
  • Types of influencers who make up most decision-maker ecosystems
  • How different influencers impact decision-makers

The IABC expects to host 1,600 communication practitioners from 40 countries for this 4-day event. You can discuss the event at the special IABC blog InSession and follow on Twitter using hash tag #IABC09.

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