All you need to know about KOLS: Key Opinion Leaders

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What is a “Key Opinion Leader”? Definition

There seems to be a debate over whether Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and influencers are the same. After all, people recognize KOLs for their knowledge, so they are able to influence people’s decisions. And it’s clear that people respect influencers enough that people notice them, so it can be assumed that influencers must be thought leaders in their community.

The real answer is probably that some key opinion leaders are influencers, and some influencers are key opinion leaders, but not all see themselves as both.

Have you ever purchased a product or service based on what someone you follow on Instagram or Twitter recommended to you? Do you visit blogs to find tips for your new purchases? You were then hit by a KOL.

Influencer marketing is a very powerful sales tool. 92% of consumers say they are more likely to trust personal recommendations rather than advertisements.

74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key element in their purchasing decisions. Word of mouth is 115% more influential than traditional advertising.

If your most loyal customers tell their friends and family about your business, you may see increased sales afterward. But what if you could amplify the power of word of mouth to reach even more potential customers? To do this, you can use a marketing technique called leveraging a Key Opinion Leader.


What is the “Key Opinion Leader”?

There is one essential difference between a thought leader and an influencer. In modern usage at least, influencers operate online, make themselves known and exert their influence on social media, blogs and YouTube. It is not necessary for a key opinion leader to operate on an online or social platform. They are simply the people to contact for their area of ​​expertise.

Traditional media are one of the most common places to meet key opinion leaders. Opinion leaders are the experts the press calls on when they want a credible quote or sound clip on a hot topic.

“KOL’s” or “Key Opinion Leaders” are people or organizations who are experts in a specific field.

Through their knowledge, they acquire such a strong social status that their recommendations and opinions are listened to when making important decisions. Politicians, columnists, as well as celebrities are good examples of KOL.

All opinion leaders have an important status in their own community and their opinions are valued and listened to. In a way, they are people considered to be true experts by society.

They are trusted as individuals and not just as public figures representing corporate marketing interests. They often have a great influence, and can reach millions of people with simple advice.

However, there is one essential difference between a thought leader and a marketing influencer.

In modern usage at least, marketing influencers operate online, make themselves known and exert their influence on social media, blogs and YouTube. However, it is not necessary for a thought leader to operate on an online or social platform to be influential. They are simply the people to contact for their area of ​​expertise and not for a marketing campaign.


How are marketing influencers different from key thought leaders?

A marketing influencer can be a thought leader, just like a thought leader can be an influencer. However, the two roles do not need to overlap.

KOLs were around long before influencer marketing on the web became all the rage. Many of them actively avoid the internet because they have little free time to devote to it. Some see social media as a huge waste of time. There is no obligation for KOLs to maintain a social profile or have subscribers. They just need to be recognized for their expertise and influence on a subject.

For example, in many small towns, locals unofficially treat their doctors like a KOL, simply out of respect for their work. If people have any health problems, they immediately turn to their GP for help. If the local newspaper wants to know the effects of a local medical problem, they too will no doubt go to the doctor for advice.

Likewise, many university professors are granted the status of Key Opinion Leader. by virtue of their title. If someone wants advice on the importance of a recently updated scientific fact, they often turn to a local scientist, not a marketing influencer, to get an objective opinion.

Of course, no one is saying that Key Opinion Leaders can’t spend time online and make money with influencer marketing. Many famous people have even followed this path. The best workers  are clearly Key (s) opinions when it comes to dealing with a culinary subject. They certainly made their name offline, but they quickly became just as popular as an online influencer, all thanks to the notoriety they’ve built in the kitchen business.

Another key difference between most thought leaders and influencer marketing is also the geographic extent of their influence. If a person is accepted as being a KOL (and not duplicating an online influencer), their fame and recognition towards them is likely limited to a particular area. It can be a small town, a region, and at most a country.

However, the internet has no borders. If people recognize you as a marketing influencer, you probably have fans around the world.

An exception to this global differentiation, however, is the major thought leaders who have gained much of their notoriety on television. Just like the internet, TV shows are broadcast all over the world.

The mainstream media is one of the most common places where you come across Key opinions. Opinion leaders are the experts the press calls on when they want a credible quote or commentary on a hot topic.

For example, your newscast is likely to address certain KOLs to give credibility and give opinions on a new hot issue. It may be an infectious disease specialist, a specialist in health management, a political expert or a university professor. The main thing is that they have gained a reputation through mastery of a specialized subject.

A Key Opinion can become a mega or macro influencer.

There are different types of marketing influencers, depending on the number of followers they have. It is currently estimated that there are four levels of influencer marketing:

The nano: 1,000 – 10,000 subscribers

The Micro: 10,000 to 50,000 subscribers

The macro: 500,000 – 1,000,000 subscribers

The Mega: more than 1,000,000 followers

Most of the most successful online marketing influencers are micro and macro influencers, although nano-influencers are gaining popularity in really niche marketing niches or topics.

However, someone who has already made a name for themselves offline as a KOL often becomes a macro or mega influencer if they choose to tap into social media.

While brands have traditionally chosen to work with celebrities and mega-influencers, they have faced a few challenges.

First of all, celebrities tend to charge very expensive social media product placements.

Reality TV stars charge hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even more, for a single product recommendation through a post.

Marketing and Key Opinion Leaders

Many industries are already using influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategy. If you too want to use this technique, you need to choose the right type of influencer marketing campaign for your business.

Indeed, any launch of an advertising campaign must have a specific objective. This is also the case for the use of one of the two categories of influencers as a marketing lever.

Influencers and KOLs cater to different audiences, so you need to consider your target audience. Influencers are aimed at the average consumer. Compared to KOLs, influencers often have an unspecified audience.

What connects all followers is a common interest in the influencer’s attitude, personality, or lifestyle. People follow influencers because their content matches the interest, liking, or opinion of the subscriber. Because of these similarities, the follower is more likely to identify with the influencer, but may not necessarily match specific demographics.

Opinion leaders, on the other hand, have influence over a particular demographic. Their audience values ​​KOL’s opinion because of their expertise and experience in a certain industry. Followers look to them for knowledge and advice and usually have a deeper understanding and knowledge of the industry themselves. Unlike influencers, people over whom a Key Opinion has an influence are not necessarily fans of the Key Opinion, but they respect its expertise.

If you want to target a specific audience or have interests in a specific topic, work with a KOL. The latter’s influence can be an incredibly effective way to reach a new audience or to extend the reach of your message to a knowledgeable audience.

However, do not pay more for a KOL who has great influence while working outside your area of ​​interest. Their price can be based on the reach they have in a certain area, and their influence will not be effective outside that area of ​​expertise.

To promote brands and strengthen consumer confidence, the KOL is a powerful lever. Considered a connoisseur on a specific subject, his opinions are respected by his audience. Useful to promote a product, a service, a site or content, the importance in the relevance of its audience will be a key factor of success in influencing marketing.

Develop your image and accelerate sales with KOLs

The KOL has therefore become the essential point of contact in the marketing plan of any brand. First of all, it is a powerful way to work on your brand image.

A winning recipe: authenticity and proximity

the KOLs have become its depositories. The integrated long ago the fact that authenticity is key and do not hesitate to decline the offer of brands that do not meet their criteria.

They also strive to remain experts on a topic, a sector on a dedicated “audience” to strengthen their credibility and their power of influence. But above all, the KOLs are those who have succeeded in integrating the proximity variable to become real “friends” in the eyes of their fans, wielding with dexterity the art of storytelling, creativity, and all the potential of platforms.

Similar keywords referenced in our dictionary :

  1. Influencer marketing
  2. Viral marketing
  3. Brand equity
  4. Marketing trigger
  5. The strategic domain of activities
  6. Experiential Marketing.

KOLs demonstrate the ability to make things trendy, expand brand audiences, increase brand awareness, and lure customers from online channels into physical stores to make a purchase.

Working with influencers gives brands access to their followers base and working with KOLs can help brands increase their credibility. Top stars and celebrities with more than 10 million followers can have a wild influence on branding and sales rates. The effects of KOL marketing can be identified within 1-3 months after the implementation of a KOL campaign.

When KOLs are influencers, they show an interest in building their online presence and connecting with their followers. Not only do they operate on social media, but it also increases their profile and provides them with a powerful channel of influence. At some point, when a KOL and an influencer meet, the influencer on the platform is most tracked and praised.

The main difference between Kols and influencers is that Kols are persecuted and respected because they are experts in their field and have had success in their careers. They are considered experts on certain topics and are considered trustworthy and authentic. Their authenticity allows them to influence the opinions and preferences of their audience, and partnering with them can be an effective strategy for your brand.

Good KOL management means establishing a real connection between your brand and the KOL you work with. When entering a KOL role, it is important to offer opinions and expertise supported by a broad professional network. In view of the increasing regulation of health practice and the greater complexity of the science behind the products, the inclusion of KOL for more diverse activities is necessary.

KOLs, also known as important opinion leaders, are considered to be more important and relevant than mass media because they can connect with and relate to their audience in a way that is intimate and authentic. Like influencers, KOLs have a clear positioning and unique identity.

The credibility of influencers depends on their social media personality and the content they share. The originality and quality of the content they post determine their impact and number of followers, but also the credibility and identity of the influencers. On social media, influencers are able to have conversations and make campaigns appealing because people share thoughts, ideas, and products.

KOLs, on the other hand, do not live off such actions and see them as a supplement to their daily activities. The inclusion of KOLs in marketing strategies can be beneficial for brands that want to change the public perception of brand values such as loyalty, honesty, and trust – characteristics that define important opinion leaders. There seems to be some debate about whether an important opinion leader (KOL) and a KOL influencer are the same.

When people respect influencers, they take notice because they are important opinion leaders for their followers. When people recognize an important opinion leader as someone with a key opinion, that person’s knowledge influences their decisions.

An important opinion leader (KOL) is also known as an influencer a member of a community of experts whose advice is widely respected by others in their field. They are an authority on a particular subject and their target audience is specific to an important niche.

In some cases, the brands they work with do not receive economic remuneration for their recommendations but tend to have more practical access to published content. They can also influence the opinions and preferences of other physicians, health authorities, and patient advocates who they trust to favor the brand. They offer credibility and advocacy to companies and their products.

Doctors and dentists help conduct clinical trials and market new drugs for pharmaceutical companies. For this reason, they obtain expert status and are recognized as reference persons in their field.

If you work in a pharmaceutical company, you have probably heard the ubiquitous term COL dozens of times. In their current article, Infinitis experts discuss Kol pharma and how it can help companies identify, engage and manage KOL pharma in pharmaceutical market research. The numbers suggest that a solid understanding of how Kols can be profitable can be challenging, so let’s step in and clear the air on this issue.

Due to the changing nature of the health landscape, the approach of pharmaceutical marketing has evolved for both products and services. Influencer marketing, or KOL marketing as it is called in China, has also evolved. It has shifted from text and photos to live streaming, short videos, and social commerce.

In recent years, influencer marketing has evolved into a successful strategy for brands that want to reach target groups in social media. With the increase in Internet users, the target groups for KOL marketing visit more channels, which gives brands the opportunity to cover a higher number of target groups.

With an average ROI of $650 per dollar spent, influencer marketing is incredibly powerful. Influencer marketing has exploded and more and more people are dreaming of becoming successful influencers.

When we talk about influencers and influencer marketing, we are talking about the latest developments in the digital influence world. Content influencer-based marketing has been a hot topic in the West for some time, especially among B2B companies. There is interest in the subject and it has the list of top strategic priorities for a whole range of companies that have been able to demonstrate considerable competence.

At least in modern usage, influencers operate online, make their name, and exert their influence through social media, blogs, and YouTube. The terms “KOLs” and “influencers” are often considered interchangeable and often confused.

For example, the camera and photo industry use and respects the term Kol more as an influencer because it uses people on social media to build a certain audience that large camera companies want to attract. In reality, an influencer should have a certain number of followers (at least 1k) and create content that has a loyal following. The price tag is also an important factor to work with when selecting a color influencer.

A KOL is similar to an influencer in terms of follower size and target audience. Becca Cosmetics chooses influencers they work with because they know The Hill is a very specific niche community they want to reach.


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