In the 1860’s a prominent machinist named William Sellers set out on a mission to standardise the common screw. Importantly, this was a screw by his own design.
At that time, screws were made individually, by hand, on demand. Sellers saw the opportunity to develop an interchangeable screw, which could be mass-produced and lead to lower prices and speed of delivery. It also meant specialist screw machinists lost their uniqueness and most likely their trade. Much like the scribe, who objected heavily to the printing press, the machinists would do everything in their power to block Sellers. Hand-made screws meant repeat business for machinists and that customers were locked in.
In the 1860’s Sellers set out on an influencer campaign. Connection and influence became his leading tactic.
And so, Sellers targeted influential and heavy users of the screw. He started with the railroad and U.S, navy. This created an air of momentum, much like a snowball starting to roll down a hill. With this momentum, word of mouth played its part, closely followed by (the medium of choice at that time), the newspaper.
As you can guess, Sellers won and today we see the result of his vision. Once standardisation bedded in, so did an eco-system of standardized products around the screw.
If you take Sellers tactic and view it as a framework you can see how it is the essence of influencer marketing.
A top PR firm owner once described PR to me as follows:
- If I were to tell you my blog is great that is communications.
- If I told someone to tell other people my blog is great that is marketing.
- If people tell each other my blog is great, that is PR.
Taking this simple formula and applying it to Influencer Marketing we get a mix of 2 and 3. On this week’s Innovation Show we talk to №1 Global “Digital Marketing Influencer” in 2016 and Forbes “Top 20 Influencer of CMO’s” in 2017, Jeff Bullas. As a recognised influencer Jeff tells us how to engage influencers like him. Jeff describes influencer marketing as follows:
“Influencer marketing is reaching the tribes of influencers, people, who have built credibility and authenticity in their niche and their industry and quite often is doing that through great content.” — Jeff Bullas
There are some conflicts that need to be balanced to achieve this. The influencer will not waver on their credibility and promote a product they do not believe in. Jeff sees co-created or collaboratively created content as the best way to achieve influencer marketing. This content needs to address the pain points or interests of the tribe. Lazy marketers will create a blanket piece of content and expect this to be one size fits all (much like Sellers’ screw above). Content distribution does not work that way.
Jeff sees the influencer as the orchestrator of how to distribute content as well as the co-creator of this content. Distribution is key, as the influencer inherently understands the content consumption habits of their tribe and how each platform plays a different role. When you place content on a non-owned platform you must observe the behavior of the audience of that platform.
Big brands are so used to mass media messaging that they struggle when it comes to influencer marketing. The reality is the advertising landscape has been atomised into much smaller slices of the pie. To compete as a marketer one must embark on a journey of constant education. One must learn the platforms by doing, not reading and thus understand which are relevant for your brand and your audience.
Many measurement metrics need to be reimagined and recalibrated for today’s world of marketing. Many marketers do not convert their marketing effort to sales. The challenge is often that there are very few board members who are aware what is good and what is not and so very few call it as it really is…
A final piece of the pie to consider is the education piece of marketing. Jeff sees marketing as 75% education and 25% sales and feels marketers consistently fail at the last piece, hence the adage that the best marketers are ex-salespeople.
On this week’s show we also talk to Gisela Hausmann, author of nine books, including the award-winning “Naked Determination”. Gisela is an email evangelist, and an expert Amazon reviewer and Amazon review coach.
The reason both Jeff and Gisela are on the same show is the common denominator of authenticity. In a world of always on, of suspicion of advertising, of ad blocking and (bad) content marketing authenticity is king. This is no different for the world of reviews. If Amazon or iTunes sniff a false or planted review they will come down very harshly on the culprit.
Why are reviews important?
No-one really believes the highly produced piece to camera any more. Yes, it still has its place, but the savvy marketer needs to consider every customer touch point. Reviews are an aspect so often overlooked, when you think about human behavior, reviews are an essential slice of the marketing pie.
Think for a moment of a purchase decision. A buyer will check user reviews before they read an article in the newspaper or a YouTube video by the brand. This is akin to checking tripadvisor reviews or forum reviews before deciding on a hotel destination.
Gisela gives us some real nuggets such as how it is vital for any brand selling on Amazon to ensure they get reviewed on Amazon US first. Why? Amazon US is a blanket review site where the reviews for the US are also made available in other countries and are placed below the local market reviews. Unbeknownst to most is that when you place a review on Amazon it is only available on that local market’s website.
Gisela also tells us how to approach professional reviewers, for example do not try to impress or woo the reviewer. Reviewers get sent the product to review, but there are strict regulations around what they can do with the product, for example Amazon won’t let them sell a product they review. We discuss an example of one reviewer who reviews Dog products. This reviewer uses the product, reviews it and then donates everything to a local dog shelter.
You can see the correlation between influencers, screws and reviews now. Marketers need to re-educate themselves. The old world is long dead, we are in a world of accelerated innovation and innovation is a form of evolution that often people don’t see until it is too late. Don’t be a stagnant marketer and never take risks. This is a journey with no destination. The destination is the journey. To excel in the new business environment in any respect we must embark on a journey of constant learning, self-improvement and enjoy the journey.
THANKS FOR READING
On this week’s Innovation Show we talk to №1 Global “Digital Marketing Influencer”, 2016 and Forbes “Top 20 Influencers of CMO’s” in 2017, Jeff Bullas. As an influencer Jeff tells us how to engage an influencer to excel at influence marketing. He also lets us know a bit about his mindset and what drives him.
We talk to Gisela Hausmann, author of nine books, including award-winning “Naked Determination” Gisela is an email evangelist, and an expert Amazon reviewer and review coach.
Finally, we talk to Lisa Marie Clinton, founder and CEO of Avail (Assisted Visuals Achieving Independent Living). Avail is a portable, discreet virtual assistant. It works as an e-learning app and web portal for children and adults with intellectual or development disabilities. The app and site deliver smart prompts based on the person’s ability, so it is personalised to the user.
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