Driving Sales Through the Power of Authority

XX min
Jun 24, 2024

Today the focus is the authority principle and how you can use this principle to make your marketing more effective.

If you’re in the B2B space and looking to improve your marketing, keep reading. 

What is the Authority Principle? 

Humans believe, follow, and trust people who are in a position of authority or experts in their field.

There’s plenty of research on this topic and for years, marketers have used the authority principle to sell products.

A great example is the classic cigarette ads showcasing doctors. Nothing is easier on the throat than a Camel cigarette, am I right? Take a look at how Lucky Strike and Camels cigarettes utilized the authority of doctors to sell their product in the ads below.





Let’s move on from the 50s and 60s to something a bit more recent. Do you remember the movie Catch Me If You Can?

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale Jr. who, at the age of 17, got a hold of a Pan Am uniform and began to impersonate a pilot.

As crazy as this sounds, Abagnale was able to get away with the con and fly across the country on numerous flights! How? Because the uniform worked! It signaled authority to others.



The authority principle worked then, and it still works today, with one little change. In 2024, world doctors, lawyers, and pilots all share the spotlight with another group: Influencers.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, “influencers are viewed by their followers as trustworthy experts in their field, and they can effectively impact their audience’s purchasing decisions.” Trustworthy experts, that’s the key phrase.

But how much trust is being given to influencers? If we look at dollars being invested as an indicator, we can see influencer marketing is on fire. In 2016, just eight years ago, the market size was estimated at $1.7 billion. In 2023 that number grew to a staggering $21 billion!


Advantages of the Authority Principle

Being known as the leader, the authority, and the expert in your field has all kinds of advantages. It can:
  • Help close deals faster
  • Improve inbound marketing
  • Provide the opportunity for higher margins
  • And can add significant revenue to the bottom line

8 Tactics to Leverage the Authority Principle in your Marketing

  1. Highlight your experts. Brands in the 50s and 60s used doctors and dentists very effectively to sell products. You can use that same approach by focusing on your experts. Do you have team members with a PhD? What about advanced engineering degrees? Years in the business? You may have team members who hold patents. All these people can and should be used in your marketing.
  1. Use influencers as the new voice of authority. Until recently, influencers were thought of more for the B2C space. That’s changing. A 2022 B2B Influencer Marketing Report found that 86% of B2B brands had success with influencer marketing. And 85% of those surveyed indicated interest in working with influencers over the next 12 months. Here are some examples of brands using influencers in B2B.
  1. Select the right imagery and photography. If your company is all about precision manufacturing, consider detailed product images or team members working on the product. If you can, use imagery of people in lab coats or uniforms as this helps to build authority.
  1. Showcase key statistics and awards. This could include things like the number of customers served, years in business, rankings, best places to work, and service or product awards.
  1. Publish your mentions. If your company, product, or team member was in the news, make sure to get that information on your site, in your newsletter, and on your social channels.
  1. Layer on those testimonials. What are customers saying about your product and your organization? What about people in trade publications? Take all the positive feedback and get those up on your site. Use them in your emails, newsletters, social channels, and press releases.
  1. Create content that enforces your position as a leader. Sentry Equipment does this very effectively on their blog with titles like: Five Questions to Ask When Selecting A Bulk Solids Sampler.
  1. Use copy that supports your position. For example: best in class, recognized leader, leader in the space, world-class, established, acknowledged leader, and award-winning.

But Wait, There’s More!

Below are two website examples leveraging the authority principal--UW Wisconsin-Madison School of Business and Alto-Shaam. 

The first is UW Wisconsin-Madison School of Business and the screen captures below show how the School of Business is leveraging stats and their staff to establish the college as the authority in this education space.




Secondly, as the authority in food service equipment, Alto-Shaam leads with their product. Their homepage is like something from Apple, and they are using this product imagery to establish authority in design and innovation.



Deeper in the site, the brand has an entire section dedicated to Customer Success stories. These are a combination of case studies and testimonials all rolled into one which helps lend credibility to the brand.





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