WOMMA kicked off its 2016 TALK Tour season with a series of panels that felt more interactive than the usual presentation mode we often experience at industry events. Held at Google’s Chicago digs, the morning featured four insightful talks from experts specifically focusing on Influence, one of WOMMA’s three pillars of Word of Mouth Marketing.
From the new frontiers offered to us by advances in the MadTech (MarTech + AdTech = MADTech) world to the vast opportunities YouTube and short-form video holds, the top trends of the year were shared and dissected for the full-house audience of marketers from some huge brands and agencies.
We all know that social media (as a result of that vast, virtual world that is the internet) has given rise to niche communities, giving small groups of individuals with very specific interests a platform to create a loud and bombastic voice that can be just as powerful as any celebrity.
Likened to the enthusiastic fictional dictator from the movie “Mean Girls”, the Regina Georges of the world are tastemakers and trendsetters who the masses look to for confirmation and validation. Whether it’s in B2B technology, high school fashion, or up-and-coming literati, influence is no longer simply relegated to the most famous household names. Digital reach and savvy has officially taken over.
Variety Magazine executed a survey last year which showed that eight of the top 10 most influential “famechangers” were YouTube or digital stars, blowing traditional entertainment celebrities out of the water. If teenage gaming and internet sensations like VanossGaming are more influential than the Meryl Streeps of the world, what does that mean for brands?
Kellie Fitzgerald, Head of Industry, Anheuser Busch InBev at Google, helped the audience understand how to work with influencers with the help of three dynamite YouTube influencers from Kin Community.
Amy Tangerine, Lauren Toyota and Shannon Sullivan shared how brands can spark up relationships and build a lasting platform and voice to reach new audiences or tap into a different industry.
During this power panel of influential women on YouTube, Lauren Toyota shared her view that big brands need to relinquish control of messaging for a more authentic connection with the public.
“Let influencers lead in messaging, don’t be afraid to be flexible,” Toyota said. Shannon Sullivan reiterated those thoughts when she said that recently she’s seen that brands that don’t hand down messaging mandates are the more successful ones, because trust and authenticity are the most valuable characteristics the public is looking for in their influencers.
The reason working with influencers can be valuable to a company is that third-party validation and the understanding that the influencer is vouching for a product or service because they believe in it and it naturally fits into their industry, despite being paid or participating in a sponsored campaign. Adding value and information they can’t obtain anywhere else is what can make or break any influencer campaign.
And if you don’t believe your local friendly marketer, these influencers explicitly stated that to them, vanity metrics, mean nothing. It’s all about engagement. For once and for all, it’s time to accept that views and likes are just a number and can be achieved through paid means. Enticing videos and articles that elicit comments and pose questions are much more valuable to influencers and brands alike, than simply seeing a huge number of likes or views.
Marketers are living and working in a world in which consumers are getting better and better at tuning out brand messages and content. Yet in this new world we marketers have more information about consumers than ever before, mainly thanks to MAD technologies that provide social listening, web analytics, and more.
In just five years, the marketing technology landscape has exploded. Just take a look at Scott Brinker’s Chief Martec Marketing Technology Landscape and its explosion from approximately 150 players in 2011 to over 3,500 this year.
The emergence of more and more data sources is creating a huge amount of data that can be analyzed in a way to help marketer’s not only personalize marketing activities, but do so at scale with adtech. Hence, MAD tech is working toward what we’ve all been talking about for about a year--predictive analytics and insights.
Just think of the possibilities and true scope of “big data” if Snapchat, LinkedIn and the other “dark social” platforms of the world opened their APIs?
Even the data available today is a huge opportunity, if and only if brands take advantage of it and look to this data to inform changes. If the opportunity lies in relevance and inserting a brand or piece of content into the right forum or conversation, it’s vital that brands heed the warning to go beyond automated technologies taking them even further than optimizing and personalizing by tracking different trends and past campaign results to get near predictive. It won’t be long (although it wouldn’t be surprising for it to still be up to five years out) to see marketing and ad technologies rolling out predictive analytics solutions to help marketers better prepare for future campaigns as well as execute real-time activities.
Next Stop on WOMMA TALK Tour
TALK Tour 2016 is just getting started, with WOMMA constituents heading to NYC later this month for TALK Measurement at Ogilvy’s offices on May 16. Also, if you’re interested in WOMMA membership take advantage of the spring membership drive and save thousands.
Dina Alobeid is the Head of PR, North America at BrandWatch.
I have to offer up a big thank you to all the presenters and panelists including Jennifer Wesley, Head of Industry at Google & WOMMA Board Executive Committee member, Deborah Holland, EVP at Publishers Clearing House & WOMMA Board Chair, Kellie Fitzgerald, Head of Industry, Anheuser Busch InBev at Google, Mike Lohman, Associate Director, Content and Digital Marketing at Shure Incorporated, Jenny Wilburn, Sr. Manager, Digital Communications & Social Media at The Coca-Cola Company, Chris Hackney, President & COO at InsightPool, Inga Johnson, SVP, Marketing & Brand at Experticity, and Brad Fay, Chief Operating Officer at Keller Fay.
Thank you for the educational and enjoyable morning at Google! Until the next stop May 16.