Tag Archive for: Influencers

Interview with David Alston – The Influencer Series

David Alston is the Chief Innovation Officer at Introhive, an advisor to multiple startups, a director at ScribbleLive, an advocate for kids coding and the transformation of the Maritime economy to one underpinned by tech, and supporter of alternative energy approaches.  He also wears a cowboy hat, sings Johnny Cash songs and is one heck of a photographer…oh and just another tidbit, he has been consistently named as one of the Top CMOs on Twitter by Social Media Marketing Magazine.  @DavidAlston Influencer

I had the privilege of working with David, so I can honestly say that his passion and conviction are contagious.  His knowledge and expertise in marketing and innovation are phenomenal.  I was so pleased that he agreed to be a part of my Influencer Series.  So, let’s get to the questions, cause I know that you want his responses.

The Interview:

MacLean:  Marketing continues to change and evolve.  What do you see as the most important skills for people to have to meet the demands of today and the next year?

Alston:  Content marketing is now as commonplace as community engagement. You also have to be tracking and understand all of numbers behind each online property & digital campaign. In order to stand out, you need to be able to successfully blend the art of marketing (creativity and relationship building) with the science of marketing (analytics and cross referencing multiple sources of data).

MacLean:  What has been the most significant change you have seen in marketing over the last two years and why?

Alston:  Marketers have become publishers. Of course that’s also created a lot of noise for customers to sift through and thus just publishing the same kind of stuff you were publishing three years ago probably won’t cut it. Taking a stand on issues, being bold with creative content, unique partnerships and infusing marketing directly inside products and services are now a must.

MacLean:  Community Management was all the talk a few years back, but it seems to have taken a backseat.  Do you think that people have lost sight of the value and/or that it is just an oversight and will re-emerge because of the true value that it can bring?

Alston:  Hopefully for companies where it’s disappeared it’s because it was absorbed into the roles of any employee that would typically be in contact with customers – PR, sales, customer service etc. Companies that ignore people in social channels completely, will pay the price today just like they would have two years ago.

MacLean:  What advice would you offer businesses in terms of hiring marketing professionals?

Alston:  I’ve always been a proponent of investing in marketing early on when it comes to startups.  Marketing is as much about strategy as it is about brand and collateral. Marketing should also have a seat at the executive table early on because it’s about building a market/demand for a product or service, getting marketing/sales into the offering, strategic positioning vs competitors, and creating content and influence in a space you want to be a leader in. Translation – you need to focus on adding someone with the experience on how to get this done. They can build out the team with more junior staffers for specific functions later.

MacLean:  What do you think will be the next big thing in marketing?

Alston:  Real-time marketing! The idea of creating engagement experiences using real-time content and looping potential prospects into the traditional sales funnel, similar to how marketing automation does it for non-real-time. (Full disclosure – I am on the board of directors for ScribbleLive).

MacLean:  Finally, you have been very active in innovation and getting kids into coding, what can marketers learn from collaborating more with this side of the business?

Alston:  Much of the success around progress with kids and coding has been tapping into the existing communities supportive of the cause and utilizing the act of documenting the cause on video, as a way to fan the flames of the movement. There is nothing more powerful than an idea who’s time has finally come.

As always, David offers great insight and ideas and I sincerely thank him for taking the time to answer my questions.

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How to Get More out of Twitter in 9 Easy Steps

How to Get More out of Twitter in 9 Easy Steps

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BOOK REVIEW: Danny Brown & Sam Fiorella’s Influence Marketing

I love that I get the chance to meet really smart, interesting and inspiring people and in the process read great books and do book reviews. Danny Brown is one of those people. Sam, hopefully we get to connect soon too! As I get ready to do my PhD on Digital Influence, I was pumped to read Danny’s and Sam’s book: Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. After all it is a bout Influence!

Both Danny and Sam are well known for their marketing prowess and have really developed the conversation around influence. When done well, we don’t even realize that tactics of influence are being executed on us. As expected, this is a well written book chalk full of information.

From the Book’s synopsis:

Influence Book

“Today, you face a brutally tough, maddeningly elusive new competitor: the “wisdom of crowds.” Social media gives consumers 24×7 access to the attitudes and recommendations of their most engaged peers. These are the views that shape buying decisions. These are the views you must shape and use.Influence Marketing won’t just help you identify and enlist key influencers: it will help you manage the influence paths that lead consumers to buy. By sharing empirical evidence of hard-won lessons from pioneering influence marketers, Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella provide a blueprint that moves influence marketing beyond simple brand awareness and into sales acquisition and customer life time value measurement. They integrate new tools and techniques into a complete methodology for generating more and better leads—and converting them faster, at higher margins. 

• Put the customer—not the influencer—at the center, and plan influence marketing accordingly
• Recognize where each prospect stands in the purchase life cycle right now
• Clarify how your consumers move from brand preference to purchase
• Identify key micro-influencers who impact decisions at every stage
• Gain indispensable insights into the context of online relationships
• Recognize situational factors that derail social media brand recommendations
• Understand social influence scoring models and overcome their limitations
• Re-engineer and predict influence paths to generate measurable action
• Master the “4 Ms” of influence marketing: make, manage, monitor, measure
• Transform influence marketing from a “nice-to-have” exercise into a powerful strategy

Additional online resources can be found at www.influencemarketingbook.com”

Now, My Review:

This is one of the most comprehensive books on Influence Marketing that I have come across. From defining what Influencers are to understanding the emotion and logic that drives Influence to role of social media to exploring the shift of power from the brand to consumer and more, Danny and Sam have this exciting topic covered. They even go one step further and offer case studies to reinforce and support their topics.

What stood out for me most? Well, it was really the discussions around Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). This section of the book, like the entire book, was well thought out and got me thinking a lot about how to better measure Influence and the need to incorporate different measures than what have been discussed. This will be an area that I explore much deeper thanks to the authors.

Finally, another part of the book that I particularly liked and will draw upon to support initiatives is the definition of Influencers. As Influencer Marketing becomes more and more the topic du jour, helping people understand who is an Influencer and who is an Advocate, for example will really make a difference in developing ones strategy and tactics to use in an integrated marketing plan, that includes Influence Marketing.

So, you are looking to get an A-Z understanding of Influencer Marketing, I would get this book.