As the b2b influencer marketing sector continues to expand and flourish, the insights from those working independently, but within the processes continues to be of more and more value.
Wing Digital Marketing is priviledged to have worked with a number of wonderfully dedicated and often selfless individuals, those who take what they have hard-won and subsequently share, often without financial renumeration.
What made you get into marketing?
I’ve always been involved in marketing. I started my career on the B2C side, selling and marketing products to the consumer market. I was a general manager in a consumer electronics chain where a large part of the job was to increase sales and market share in several regional markets. It was a great training ground to learn about how people buy.
We transformed the appliance market into a consumer electronics business. We were one of the first to create the concept of the Electronics Superstore. I helped take the company public. I also had my first experience with private equity firms, all by the time I was twenty five. It was a great time to be learning marketing both B2C and B2B.
When did you first hear about influencer marketing (if you first heard about b2c influencer work, when did you first hear about the b2b side of it)?
In the late 90s, I saw how a leadership brand for the CEO could drive an organization’s bottom line. I saw how many CEOs were able to influence their many stakeholders by educating them to what was happening in their markets. Great CEOs knew how to tell the best stories. If they didn’t know how, they could work with speechwriters and publicists to create stores that impacted their many stakeholders. I spent many years helping executives prepare for annual meetings and industry events. These CEOs understood how to get the best press and discovered that being influential could mean the life or death of their new products or service offerings.
What drove your social media strategy – how did you decide on your channels and what successes did you enjoy and how swiftly did they come?
I never intended to have a social media strategy. Even today, I focus on the bigger picture. Not that having a social media strategy couldn’t have helped me when trying to get organizations to try out new things. Many influencers have done a great job helping clients build stronger brands in their emerging markets.
When did you first realize you were an influential voice?
I stumbled into it. I discovered that my ability to simplify things for my clients provided me an opportunity to access many influential leaders in high growth markets. Having great clients allows you to continue to be seen as a thought leader or influencer in your field.
I learned early from several great influencers the importance of narrowing your focus can provide significant opportunities for growth with clients. The best influencers, people like Tamara McCleary, Evan Kirstel, Dez Blanchfield, and Kare Anderson provide great models for influencers today. They have their own styles and provide great examples of people who have built long term relationships with their communities. I’ve been blessed to know them for many years. They continue to evolve as influencers. They also have been highly successful in developing great opportunities with other influencers.
How do you see your role when acting as a brand/company representative/ambassador?
It depends, because I work with many of my clients on other responsibilities outside of influencer, I’m always aware of what I say and do. More importantly, how it can impact the partners’ business. Many times, I serve as first contact for a person at a client’s event. In this case, I try to provide introductions to people who need to be introduced. At one of my early IBM events, I made over thirty introductions to people inside IBM to make sure clients didn’t miss great opportunities for partnerships. It’s not that hard when you have such large crowds to spend time with. It will be interesting how these things change over time.
What have been your greatest successes as an influencer?
I would say it’s when a client has a copy of an article I wrote for another client and they have it printed out, highlighted, and fairly well worn when we meet in person. I think influence is important, but I favor impact as a leadership style. I want my writing and videos to get people to take action. I’m sure this comes from the fact that I started my career selling. I enjoy helping their clients get new products and services to market. As an influencer, I’m part of their go to market strategy. I like to tell clients I see myself as a bridge to a brighter future for clients.
Who has helped you develop your status as an influencer most and what benefits have you gained from social media relationship building?
Great question. I borrow my ideas from many influential leaders. I’m always watching how the most influential people leverage their influence to make a difference in the world. Many have been clients and even more have been great teachers.
Do you see yourself as a mentor of sorts?
I try to give back for all I have been given. The influencer role has provided me an opportunity to get to know many successful leaders. When I mentor people, I work hard to find them a great person to learn from. A person that can work well with their mentees’ gifts, strengths, and life experiences. Today’s marketing is all about customer experience, the key word experience. We live in such a small world because of social media. It can provide an incredible opportunity for lifetime learning and lasting relationships.
Given the status of the world right now, where do you foresee the marketing industry flourishing and failing in the near future?
I think we have many challenges ahead in marketing. People are more cynical and less trusting than they should be. I think marketing needs to continue to focus on serving others. People have to trust that others have the best intentions in what they do. The biggest challenge in society is intolerance of others ideas and behavior. I’m a libertarian so I tend to see censorship as a huge concern for the future of marketing and life as we know it. There are few absolutes in our world. Large organizations deciding what we see and don’t see is a form of censorship. All of us must concern ourselves with how big organizations and a few influential people roll over free ideas and markets. When they decide the best course of action it’s the beginning of the end of a free society. As influencers, we must be willing to share and spotlight when these things happen. If we don’t, we will soon be surrendering our rights without a fight.
Join us next week as we speak with more industry experts and ask their thoughts on changes and evolvutions to their sectors.
If you wish to speak with us, visit Wing Digital Marketing and let´s make productive and successful changes together.