Often times, marketers talk about trying to win over influencers or, in other words, influence those who have influence over a lot of people.
Companies try to do this in a number of ways, including offering supposedly influential customers with a big audience the opportunity to test drive a car for a few days or get free samples through platforms like Klout.
In the days before Klout, I was even offered a test drive opportunity from a brand's PR agency based off of a now-defunct social media blog I wrote. (And I can tell you my influence in the car world -- or knowledge of cars -- is less than stellar.)
This practice is especially prominent among marketers trying to win over the elusive Gen Y consumer.
The problem is, Gen Y consumers don't necessarily trust these influencers; they trust their friends.
A recent survey by Deloitte found that just shy of 90% of Gen Y consumers ask their friends for their opinion on a brand or model and just shy of 80% said that their friends have an influence on their eventual purchase decision when buying a car.
Gen Y's friends -- not blogs, not review sites, not prominent social media users or YouTube stars -- have tremendous influence.
That's why marketers, especially those with an extensive social media presence, need to focus on winning every single interaction with Gen Y consumers.
Sure, one user may have a slightly higher Klout score or more followers on Twitter but, based on the numbers, a person with a much lower score and audience could end up having an even greater influence on an eventual purchase.
Because every single Gen Y member is a possible influencer, you can't pass up the opportunity to positively influence every single consumer you come in contact with.
Focus on winning small, individual interactions to build an army of Gen Y consumers authentically recommending your product, rather than paying for the attention of just a handful of "marquee" influencers.