What is an Influencer and KOL Marketing?

What is an Influencer and KOL Marketing?

The positive impact that a well-known face or name can bring to the successful marketing of a product has been known since the dawn of advertising and marketing. Tying a brand name to a person who represents positive attributes that marketers would like to apply to the brand and product as well, is a time-tested, valid strategy. It can spread the brand awareness to reach groups of people who would have continued to be little awareness of the brand name, if not for the personality it was linked with.

But before we get into how influencers and KOLs (key opinion leaders) can be used in the digital marketing era, we need to draw a distinction between the two terms.

What is the Difference Between Influencers and KOLs?

What is the Difference Between Influencers and KOLs?

The two terms and the people they represent have a distinct difference that is notable for the differences in the way they are utilised by marketers. Although frequently serving much the same purpose in marketing, this distinct difference means that they matter to marketers for different reasons.

The influencer, by definition, is a long-term denizen of social media platforms who has built up a sizeable amount of followers, enough followers that they can have the power to influence their follower’s buying habits and likes and dislikes. Taken a step further, they can also immensely help a brand’s marketing campaign when engaged by marketers to spread the word about the brand to their followers.

In the digital age, this is a significant amount of power to have, and it can mean tapping into access to millions of willing consumers for the marketer.


The KOL, on the other hand, is known not so much for their voice in social media, as for being a recognised authority in a particular area, someone who has become well-respected due to the influence they have on their own area of expertise.

This area may be business, science, entertainment or sports. The only thing that is important to the marketer’s goals for the brand is that this person is always seen to be a positive role model that will fit well with the image the brand is trying to achieve.

So the KOL causes the brand to be noticed and reinforces the message of the brand, and the influencer provides the conduit that helps spread the message and reinforces the message as well.

What is the Motivation of Influencers and KOLs?

What is the Motivation of Influencers and KOLs?

The personal motivation of the influencer and the KOL to do business with the marketer is also different. The influencer generally looks at the work he has put into growing his legions of followers and wants to monetise that work. They correctly look at their followers as having a marketable value in and of itself.

A marketer approaches an influencer as much for the number of followers he can deliver as for the demographics of the followers. The marketer is willing to pay for access to those followers, so it’s generally a business deal of putting the numbers together that represent the accepted value of those followers to the marketer and having the influencer agree to that value.

But influencers can have other forms of compensation as well. If an influencer is supporting a particular cause that's led to a surge in their followers, gaining the support of the brand to the cause can work positively for both parties. 


The motivation of the KOL to offer support for a particular brand can also be strictly monetary, or it might be a lifestyle brand that they regularly use in their own life, but it’s just as often tied to their primary career and area of expertise.

The KOL could be using the brand for their own cross-purposes, such as sponsorship for various projects they are pursuing, charitable donations to a cause they support, or tie-ins to another brand that together, furthers the aims of the KOL.

Or, they may just like the watch, car or fragrance they’re representing.

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How do I Use Influencers and KOLs Effectively?

How do I Use Influencers and KOLs Effectively?

To get the most out of an association with influencers and KOLs, you should choose them carefully from the outset. You can’t undo a campaign once it’s started, so make sure that they’re both the correct representatives for the image of the brand.

Identify the different facets of the image you want to cultivate for the brand name you're representing. Then look at the demographics of the audience this image and products of the brand would appeal to most.

This will give you an idea of the type of influencer to target in providing you with followers that match the same demographics of the section of the public you intend to reach. Remember that you’re not only getting the followers of the influencer however; you will also be getting the influencer’s personality.


In finding a KOL to target for your brand, look to people who embody the types of attributes you identified for the brand's image, you want to portray and publicise. Look at the demographics of the fanbase who follow the career and lifestyle of the KOL as well.

Avoid both influencers and KOLs who are politically and socially at odds with the image you’re trying to create for your brand, no matter how many followers and admirers they have.

Create brand guidelines for them to follow and ensure they stick to them. You want both your influencer and KOL to be speaking the same language and relaying the same information about the brand.

By keeping close tabs on the campaign through analytics, you can adjust the message where needed through an entire campaign to get the most out of your association with both the influencer and the KOL.

Contact Primal Digital Marketing Agency in Bangkok if you have further questions on how influencers and KOLs can help market your products and services.

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