What is Influencer Marketing?

What is Influencer Marketing?

Alex Kevork is the Head of Marketing at Crowdly, a platform that provides large consumer brands with customer advocacy at scale. With over 10 years’ experience as a marketer in early stage companies, Alex has most recently been laser-focused on the word-of-mouth marketing industry (in fact, he is on the Influencer and Advocacy Council at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association). Along the way, he’s worked with the world’s largest consumer brands, witnessing both massive growth and massive change when it comes to influencer marketing, advocate marketing, and the way these are executed and measured.  We had a chance to ask Alex some questions about influencer marketing. You won’t believe what happened next! What is influencer marketing, actually? This should really be two questions, in my opinion. The first is, “What are people actually doing when they say they’re doing influencer marketing?” The second is, “What do you think ‘influencer marketing’ SHOULD BE?” I’ll answer both, starting with the second. Influencer marketing should be as follows: Brands partnering with people who have influence over their own networks, both on- and offline, who will spread authentic word-of-mouth for those brands, and who create real impact and business value for the brand when they do so. The influencers brands partner with should either be influential within the industry or space that the brand is directly a part of, or they should be customers/potential customers of the brand already. In other words, if I see an influencer promoting something, I ask myself, “Do I have reason to believe that this person would authentically use this product or service even if they weren’t in a partnership with the brand?” To...
How Social Data Can Tame Big Data

How Social Data Can Tame Big Data

“Marketers get lost in big numbers.” That’s what Leeann Berner, CMO at Insightpool told me. I reached out to Leeann because I had been thinking about the sometimes sorry (or discouraging, anyway) state of email marketing. You see, we had run a couple email campaigns with disappointing conversion rates. So, to console myself and get some perspective, I looked into benchmarks for email performance. My search turned up Silverpop’s 2015 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, in which I read that the average overall open rate for email is 21% (with a median of 17.4%). Average click through rates are, of course, far smaller. Silverpop found the average there to be 3.2%, with a median of 1.4%. Now, think about that for a second. For 50% of those who practice email marketing, just slightly more than one person per hundred actually clicked something in the email (even though, to stick with this example, slightly more than 17 opened it). Naturally, the Silverpop study did not look at what happened after the click. Did that click take someone to a product page? Did they buy? Did it take them to a registration form for a webinar? Did they sign up? Chances are, if only 1.4 people clicked at all, fewer than 1.4 actually did what you were hoping they would do. And that’s kind of sad. Does it have to be this way? So, why exactly did I call Leeann? Because I read a story about DocuSign and webinar registrations on Insightpool’s website. The story goes as follows: DocuSign wanted to reach executives and top-level managers. Insightpool found 180,000 folks on social media who fit the profile DocuSign was...
What’s a Persona, Again? Translating Marketing Speak

What’s a Persona, Again? Translating Marketing Speak

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in a room full of your company’s customers when they’re openly discussing their challenges and their plans. Fortunately, I was such a fly recently, and I was able to pick up on some genuine, unfiltered sentiments that many marketers share. In full disclosure, my job is to conduct research and publish content intended to help marketers market more effectively. Call me over-ambitious, but whether a company does business with Aberdeen Group or not, if you’re in marketing, I’m writing for you. Which brings me to the overarching challenge that needs to be addressed in this post: There is a disconnect between marketing best practices and the terms marketers use to describe them. For even the smartest, savviest marketers out there, this disconnect creates confusion, stress, and unneeded complexity. These marketers hear descriptions of best practices and strategies that they should do, but ambiguity around meanings and implications makes it difficult for them to translate these ideas into marketing actions that they can do. Case in point: Personas This ambiguity was most striking in the questions and comments I heard around “personas.” As a word, “persona” already has a rough history. For one, it’s Latin, meaning it brings with it an air of academic gravity. Making matters worse, its original meaning – “a mask; a character played by an actor” – implies something innately deceptive. What is a persona to a marketer? What is a persona to a sales person? What is a persona in terms that anyone can understand? For many marketing and sales professionals, a persona is a complicated compilation...
Meet Deadpool, The Best-in-Class Marketer of His Own Movie

Meet Deadpool, The Best-in-Class Marketer of His Own Movie

Why should a sophisticated marketer like you be reading about a crass comic book and movie character like Deadpool? Because, to put it bluntly, the dude is killing it in marketing right now, and there’s a lot to be learned from this farcical fellow. As an introduction, Deadpool is not your average, friendly, all-American, neighborhood superhero. For one, he’s Canadian. More importantly, though, known as the “Merc with a Mouth,” Marvel Comics’ Deadpool (Wade Wilson) is a naughty, fourth-wall-breaking parody of DC Comics’ character “Death Stroke” (Slade Wilson), who has grown to fame by doing all the wrong things – and living through them with cheeky regeneration powers. In short, Deadpool is an odd ball, and this is marketing, where we’re all a little odd ourselves. So, don’t worry, be happy, and let’s get into this! Deadpool’s Cinematic Regeneration is a Case Study in Failing Fast(ish) and Fixing Things In 2009, Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson, aka Ryan Reynolds, made his first (kind of) cinematic debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It was bad. It was an over-movie-ified version of Deadpool who had no costume, little speaking time, and they even took the “Merc with a Mouth’s” mouth away. In short, they killed Deadpool. The new Deadpool movie, slated for release on February 12, however, wasn’t revived by film executives. It came to be from dedicated fans who wanted to see Deadpool done right. Ryan Reynolds, a fan himself (but then again, Deadpool is his own biggest fan anyway, so perhaps it’s redundant), stated: “You guys, the Internet, fans, you guys made the studio do this. You bent their arms behind their...
ICYMI: Round-Up of Marketing Predictions for 2016

ICYMI: Round-Up of Marketing Predictions for 2016

Now that the dust has settled on 2015, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that the season when people trot out their predictions for the coming year also draws to a close. So many predictions, so little time, right? Well, to make your life easier, here are the highlights from ten prediction posts you may have missed (or bookmarked and never read)! 1. Top 10 Marketing Trends That Will Define 2016 This Top 10 list was penned by Daniel Newman on Forbes.com. While it does include items that one may have found on lists from past years, the two trends that jumped out at me involved companies embracing the customer experience model – which, according to Newman, entails moving marketing “from a silo of advertising and non-interactive communication toward becoming a natural part of the sales cycle and an extension of customer service” – and omni-channel becoming “retail’s best friend.” Of course, customer experience and omni-channel marketing/communication have been around for a while. Will they “define” 2016? We shall see! 2. 7 Game-Changing Marketing Trends to Tackle in 2016 This one (posted in September already!) comes from Meaghan Moraes over on HubSpot’s blog. Although some trends she mentions – marketing automation and location-based marketing – seem more part of the game nowadays (or a couple years ago) than game-changing, I was intrigued by her notion of “ephemeral marketing.” Specifically, she writes, “In order to deliver integrated campaigns that make constituents feel connected, especially the younger generation of consumers (read: Millennials), you need to be offering exclusive content that has an expiration date.” Snapchat is the platform du jour for this sort of marketing. How or...