In our part of the country, there’s a phenomenon called the “Minnesota goodbye.” It’s when you’re leaving a social gathering (remember those?) and you say goodbye, walk to the door… and keep talking to your host. Then you step outside the door, and continue the conversation. Then you walk to the car while keeping up the chatter. All told, a proper Minnesota goodbye can last up to an hour.
All of which to say: We may have already wrapped up season two of the Break Free B2B series, but it’s time for the Minnesota goodbye.
Back in February, I talked to Andre Ortolon from Dell Outlet about their micro influencer program. It’s a fascinating campaign because it was something of a B2B/B2C hybrid: Their target audiences included gamers, content creators like vloggers, and small business owners. The messaging was dramatically different for each audience. But they all had to live on the same landing page.
It was an ambitious campaign that highlighted the importance of relevance for influencer marketing. It’s all about finding the folks who are truly influential to a specific audience, not just those with the highest follower count.
Dell and TopRank Marketing’s innovative approach to influencer marketing made the campaign a finalist at the 2020 Killer Content Awards.
Listen in as Andre and I talk influencer marketing, automation, personalization, and more.
Break Free B2B Interview with Andre Ortolon
If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.
1:12 Why a micro influencer campaign?
2:30 Credibility and relevance in influencer marketing
3:47 Values and purpose in influencer marketing
5:30 Differentiating B2B and B2C messaging
7:40 Creating and co-creating content with influencers
9:40 Technology as an equalizer for small business & entrepreneurs
10:45 How marketers can avoid stagnation and keep learning
13:30 Making a credible connection with audiences
14:15 Avoid being a ‘can of beer’ campaign
15:00 Honesty & authenticity in marketing
17:00 Looking into the future trends in marketing
18:45 Avoiding ‘shiny object syndrome’
19:45 Managing teams and processes
22:15 How can marketers break free?
So we know influencer marketing means different things to different people. Right, everything from getting Taylor Swift, or the CEO of Cisco to write a blog post for you.
I think the whole Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber kind of praise is a bit transparent at this point. You know, even millennials or younger generations are not really buying that. It has to have a lot of credibility. It has to be people that are relevant to them on a more personal level.
So that’s the approach we’re taking, it’s partnering with people that align well with our corporate mission, some of our value propositions. And so we have to look for ways that Dell Outlet fits in with the people that we’re working with to have that credibility.
And also to differentiate us from Dell because, you know, we’re a division within Dell. So we are not selling the same exact products. We sell refurbished and overstock, but it contributes to the circular economy, the environment, so finding those micro influencers that align with these values so you know that it exists across the consumer space and the business space.
We’ve actually been surprised at the level of engagement and actual throughput lower into the funnel. We were expecting a social influencer campaign to be pretty strictly top of funnel — just making people aware of our brand. Maybe they learn a little bit about us, but not necessarily taking that next step. But we’ve actually seen pretty good success in getting them interested enough in what we’re doing and our product to browse our portfolio.
Just in general in marketing, where do you think the next change is coming from?
You know, it’s cliche, but technology is huge. And it’s a big equalizing force too. So I think a lot of small companies can now benefit in a big way from things like, you hear the buzzwords like AI and machine learning, but that kind of thing is accessible now to not just large multinational corporations like us, but we’re also a very small division with a smaller budget.
So we’re able to take advantage of business partners that have technology and engineers that create really cool and innovative ways to get your messaging out there.
Social media platforms can launch a company and a brand and turn it into a billion dollar business in a short amount of time. You know, I was at a social media conference not long ago, and they talked about Kendra Scott. She’s a local jewelry designer in Austin. And she really got started going to local jewelry stores and just telling her story and making a connection with these more mom and pop shops, but eventually got into Neiman Marcus, and then used social media and that platform to sell her story and make a connection with her customers.
She recently went public and I think it’s now a billion dollar company. So for me it kind of boils down to taking advantage of things like social media, taking advantage of new technology and keeping up to speed with that.
It’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of it that way. But when we talk about doing things at scale, it’s, “enables enterprises to reach 20,000 people,” but we don’t think of scale the other way, which is what you’re talking about smaller business.
Yeah, there’s many examples of that. Right. Like the music industry, small artists can launch a song and they don’t need to have a record deal anymore. It’s the same thing for small businesses or even entrepreneurs that are just starting up, if they can. They have the tenacity and the right product. They can leverage these tools and the technology, they don’t need huge budgets. Just do it in a smart way to start building their brand and increasing sales.
So this question is listed as what mistakes are you seeing in the industry? I would say what opportunities in the industry? What are we getting wrong? And what are the opportunities?
I think this is a trap that any marketer can fall into, really getting into the day to day — you know, we’re all busy looking at how did our campaigns do? Did we drive enough traffic to the site? What was the conversion of your organic search?
And, I mean, there’s so much data out there. We’re so busy with emails and meetings that you can really get stuck in a rut and forget to take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.
I mentioned earlier that I’m a big believer in technology. So you know, really stepping back looking at going to conferences like this one, for example, is a great way to get up to speed on the latest technology to get information and ideas from people in the industry. I think that’s something that everybody’s probably guilty of, to some extent is, getting too buried in the day to day and not really taking the time to step back and look at your strategy and educate continuously and getting up to speed on the latest trends.
We always think about the process of optimization, always being aware of your results. But sometimes we do forget to apply that to ourselves as marketers, right?
Yeah. You can optimize your organic campaign, you can make sure you’ve got the latest trending words. But, you know, you’ve got to also keep yourself up to speed and educated, like I said, and even looking for new partners and vendors that can provide something that you are not an expert on. That takes a lot of time and effort. You’ve got to tear yourself away from the bottom line sometimes to get to that point.
It’s so easy to get stuck.
Yeah, absolutely. You also have to take stock sometimes and really look at your overall process, you can’t always be in the execution mode, you have to look at end to end, the processes and making sure that you’re developing kind of a holistic approach and not just selling a unit. You’re building a connection with your brand. And you’ve got to think about your strategy and make sure you’re still aligned with that in what you’re doing day to day.
So, we’re in what I would consider one of the more fun careers right? It’s creative and, it’s on the cutting edge here in front of customers. It’s probably one of the more exciting places to be. And my philosophy is to have some fun with it. You know, even though I’m in corporate marketing and I have been my whole career, but, you know, take some chances, do innovative things, have some fun with it. That’s probably my approach towards life, not just marketing.
Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for the next season of Break Free B2B. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:
- Break Free B2B Marketing: Sean Crowley on Creating Marketing Alignment
- Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together
- Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus
- Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics