I define an influence-centric approach as consisting of two complementary foci. On one hand we focus relentless attention on those who have already been influenced in the way we wanted: for example, they have already bought our product, voted for our party, stopped their anti-social behaviour. I refer to this simply as the focus on the influenced. On the other hand, albeit closely related, we dedicate ourselves to finding out how influence has recently been achieved: for example, why has someone just bought our product, or our competitor’s? This is tracing influence.

If this sounds like nothing new to you, you’re right; although information technologies may help us to do both more effectively and efficiently and we’re lending it fresh emphasis and integrating it into a new framework.

Focus on the Influenced

Modern organizations have sloughed off the idea that as soon as a new customer has handed over the cash or signed the contract they can be completely ignored as the effort continues to be focused solely on the latest prospects. The concept of customer lifetime value is well and truly entrenched nowadays, and modern organizations apportion some effort to delivering post-sales service and maintaining customer loyalty to the benefit of both.

Nevertheless, as a consumer of products and services myself, from for-profits and not for-profits, and as a business man, I know some kind of cost-optimization is at play; in other words, what’s the minimal investment we have ...

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