Last week, I hosted the first Serial Speakers event. As many events as I’ve helped organize, I’ve never been so entirely responsible for one, and it was daunting. But thanks to so many people involved with it, including one of the most vibrant groups of speakers I ever could have the pleasure of moderating, it went far better than I could have hoped.
If you were there, take the survey. If you weren’t, there may well be another one soon.
I started the panel with a provocative question: “Are all influencers jerks?”
To clear the air, I don’t think influencers are any jerkier than the overall population. But the more the press covers influencer marketing, the worse influencers look. Influencers are portrayed as soulless and vapid at best, prejudiced and malicious at worst. There’s always someone with a following who turns out to exhibit some less than mensch-like qualities.
A conversation that I had with an event attendee, a seasoned marketer on the brand side, made me want to address this head-on. Before the panel, he said to me, “I was trying to figure out the problem I have with influencer marketing. And I realized I like influencer marketing. I just don’t like influencers.”
The best retort to that later came from a member of the audience, Susan Getgood, who said that influencers are also your customers, and you’d never ask that question about your customers. (Well, you might, but you probably shouldn’t.) And someone else brought up that everyone is a potential influencer, so it’s easy to find a basket of deplorables in the bunch. That doesn’t mean we should throw the basket out with the influencer bathwater.
I wish I had someone to cover the event in earnest, but here are a few other things I took away from the session, which featured MuseFind CEO and Co-Founder Jennifer Chiang, Mainframe Interactive Co-Founder / Managing Director Jordan Hirsch, Social Studies founder Brandon Perlman, and FIT professor Dalia Strum.
-The marketing funnel is alive and well. Fundamentals need to be resurfaced when it comes to influencer marketing. Have a goal, and figure out why you’re doing influencer marketing in the first place. Don’t just work with influencers ‘because.’ And don’t only focus on the bottom of the funnel; building brand awareness matters, as Dalia pointed out. Jordan tried to drive home that wherever you focus on the funnel, you need to have some reliable way of quantifying the impact.
-Cater to overlooked customers. Jennifer discussed how MuseFind focuses on small businesses selling through Shopify and Etsy. Such businesses need influencers too, they don’t have massive budgets, and they can’t afford much waste in marketing spend.
-Asset acquisition is often overlooked. Brandon described the value of using influencers to create assets that brands could use. So where in the funnel does that fit? It’s one more potential outcome for influencer programs.
-Leave them wanting more. Having sent most questions in advance, Brandon wished I had time for the last one on the platforms they prefer. Jordan wished I asked the first one on what keeps everyone up at night about influencer marketing. This panel could have been a half-day symposium with those same speakers.
If you were at the event, fill out the survey and share something you learned. And even if you weren’t, let me know what else we should cover in the future.
I made myself into an event organizer recently, at least for a day. What have you been making of yourself?
LEARN. TRY. SHARE.
The event and all the related follow-ups from it have had me swamped, so instead of just doing a halfhearted job with compiling news, I’ll share some featured links related to the event here, and then next week, we’ll return to the regular format.
–VIew photos from the event on Facebook (more are coming soon)-
–Simulmedia: What amazing hosts. Get total transparency from your TV advertising – they’re the best in the business. This event would not have been possible without Ilire and Matt.
–RubyApps by RubensteinTech: Thanks for the subs. RubyApps is the content marketing engine helping marketing teams manage mission-critical content across channels.
-Leo Morejon of Build & Inspire for all the setup and takedown, along with event photos and so much more. Follow his podcast, pug, and professorial punditry.
–Ellie Hayworth, who works with Brandon and the Social Studies team, was a great help with event production.
-My five-year-old daughter for all her baking.
-Jennifer, Jordan, Brandon, Dalia, and Susan – you were a dream panel.
Jennifer Li Chiang
Her book: How to Get Recommended By Famous People: Grow Your Brand with Influencer Marketing
Feel free to add him on LinkedIn to follow his updates; more are coming soon:
Social Studies: www.socialstudies.io
@brandonperlman / @socialstudies.io
-The Growth Series launched by Rethink Connect: https://www.rethinkconnect.com/
Registration page: https://growthseries.rethinkconnect.com
Didn’t see her on the speaker roster? That’s because she joined from the audience – and a welcome surprise.
-Social handles: @sgetgood
-Book: Professional Blogging For Dummies. Available at your local library and Amazon
Bonus – Recipes from the event:
*Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Fudge: Via The Whisk Chronicles by Rachel Berkowitz (read her site and follow her on Instagram; you’ll never need another dessert cookbook). A bonus: use the caramel sauce in this recipe as a dip or coating for other desserts.
*Cookies: Toll House – a classic. Though Bill Hartnett (a fellow attendee) recommended replacing half the butter with cream cheese.
*Oreo Cookie Balls: True story – I discovered this recipe while working on Oreo at 360i and looking at related searches in Google Trends. This works well with any sandwich cookie (Oreos of any flavor, Nutter Butter, etc) and many others too – you just combine a package of cookies and cream cheese, and coat them in melted chocolate, chilling them in between. As low-brow as they get, they’re the easiest, quickest way to become the favorite guest of any pot luck event.
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July 31-August 1
CommerceNext, the summit for next level customer acquisition (and one of the best events I’ve ever sponsored), is coming back to NYC. The 700+ person conference will have 80+ speakers from leading retailers, DTC brands and innovative tech companies. Speakers include Purple, TechStyle, Victoria’s Secret, Men’s Warehouse, Bonobos, Casper and more! Learn more:
ANA DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA
The 2019 ANA Digital & Social Media Conference is July 24-26th at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Check out this agenda including top marketers from Target, Domino’s, American Express, Sephora, Bayer, Organic Valley, MGM Resorts and more.