The influencer phenomenon is not new.  I was first exposed to this idea of being truly and subversively “influenced” by Paul Harvey’s radio broadcasts in the 1980’s (thanks, Bob) and countless other product placements that have become a game that Gen Xer’s play – spotting and trash talking the blatant product placement.  This generational segment is acutely aware of product placement, making it harder and harder for advertisers to connect with them in the social media influencers faux-organic way. This is not the case with Millennial marketing targets – they embrace the capitalism of it all (see Kardashian, Kim).

So, what’s the point of this crazy rabbit trail? It’s this; trust and attention are key to influencing buyers.  Duh. But this is NOT TRUE for all consumers. As with every assumption, there are always outliers. In this case, attention and affluence appear to be the key attributes that attract millennial’s. They want to bathe in the success and trickle-down cool from their favorite personalities. Personalities that are not tied to a specific medium, but rather are consistent in how they appear, wherever they appear – wealthy, indulgent, and aloof. Make sure your strategy to influence buyers in these two key demographics are aligned. 

Peloton has managed to leverage the trust and attention required to get to the true motivations and buying triggers for GenX and has seemingly harnessed the Millennial market by being the subject of a viral current that transmits their message. All the while, the underlying conversation on satellite radio has (probably) helped maintain their sales goals.

So, how do we validate this crazy hypothesis? Well, as luck would have it, Peloton went public in June of 2019. This means they have to disclose their financial condition to the SEC and investors every quarter and, on February 6th, they released their first 10Q. Nerds like me love to read this stuff. They had some tremendous growth in gross profit, year-over-year, making nearly $200 million (2019) in profit compared to ~$111 million (2018). The consolidated notes claim a 77% Y-O-Y growth and 96% growth in subscribers. All during the period where they saw a lot of “negative” viral attention.

They managed to do this by properly managing their viral current by hedging the ~20 million “viral” impressions with over 50 million satellite radio impressions. The formula worked. They not only survived the holiday season of 2019, but were able to grow the company bottom line exponentially.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more insight in the future!