Marco Hansell

CEO of Speakr

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 07, 2016

Discussion

Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
I'm Marco Hansell, Founder of Speakr. I created one of the founding technology companies in the Influencer space and have spent more than a decade helping developing social media and influencer marketing strategies for the top brands and celebrities in the world. Having represented brands, personalities and my own technology company, I have a wide variety of knowledge in the space, and while I don't know everything about everything I probably have an opinion about it that I'd be more than glad to share.
Anthony Stylianou@anthony_stylianou · Social Media Manager, CatchApp
Hi Marco, Hope your well. My question is surrounding your approach with start-ups/brands that are currently in their pre-launch phase. Whether they are set to release an app, website or product into the marketing, what is your usual approach with creating awareness and driving user sign-ups within a zero (or low) budget environment? I completely appreciate the importance of content that you release on Twitter/Facebook and how your audience reaction determines your success. Are there any key approaches that you would recommended, or even avoid? Regards, Anthony
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@anthony_stylianou Hey Anthony. Whenever you have zero or low budget you've got a few limited options....1. Get people to do stuff for Free. 2. Pay people via CPI/CPA 3. Try to drum up some super creative organic marketing/PR that picks up steam on its own. 4. Have a kickass product that people just cant resist. Obviously without knowing what your app/product/website does any one of these could be the easiest route possible. I like to think of things in a A/B testing environment and trying to find the shortest path to prove out a repeatable model. Of course in the middle of that you do need to create a social presence, but you have to think if I just keep posting to my 0 followers for the next year and slowly that 0 becomes 50 and that 50 becomes 100 and that 100 becomes 500....you will be sitting around waiting for a "VIRAL" moment for this to ever be worth your time. So instead I focus on sustain PLUS high impact buys. In this case since you have no money you don't have high impact BUYS in the sense that you are shelling out money but you have big MOMENTS you can create and try to replicate. Look for influencers or content partners you could partner with and provide them with product, equity in your company, deferred payment etc. Convince them of the VISION. Find people that you can pay via CPI/CPA if your product allows for that. Or look for a community that would love your product and try like hell to find a way into that. But I always like thinking in hundreds of thousands and millions and not hundreds of people reached...or it will just grow too slow to really mean anything.
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Product Hunt
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in influencer and social media marketing today?
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
What’s a common misconception about influencer marketing?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@mscccc That all influencers have to be people that love your product. Of course the BEST campaigns happen when you match the love for the product, with the right influencer, great content and the right audience....but the problem is that the hyper focus on a love of your product can oftentimes cause you to miss key things like....does this influencer even have the right audience....or is this an efficient use of my money...or is this the right type of content...or even worse did I choose someone that loves my product so much that engaging with him is actually just remarketing to a bunch of people that already love my business and don't need to be sold. Oftentimes you can actually hit all of the other five areas and actually be ok with someone that doesn't love your product already. Leading someone through product discovery or using an influencer as a means to introduce something much like a product reviewer would still holds weight. Remember people follow them because of THEM...so they already have a bought in audience. You don't have to try hard to create that connection...focus on how that connection ties into the audiences experience with that influencer.
Jason Cavness@jason_cavness
Marco - Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I am sure it will be very helpful to all of us. When did you start to change your focus from just product development to all the other items you have to get right to have a successful Startup. (HR, Marketing, Accounting etc...)
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@jasoncavnesshr I was slow at this. I think I had a very almost extreme focus on product development and market proof before diving into a lot of the other areas of the business. This was both a manner of experience, resources, and focus. Probably one of the most unique things I did in launching Speakr is very little marketing. Now this can be good and bad. Good when you can put the marketplace proof and revenue to work ahead of messaging. And you can spend time listening to how the marketplace is responding to better position yourself in the marketplace....bad because you obviously don't want to become so focused on product development only that you woodshed and create nuggets of gold in your basement that no one ever sees. We learned this over time and started spending more on our marketing than just product development...though I'm a nerd at heart and a brand marketer who oftentimes spends more time marketing other peoples business before our own. The dentist with the bad teeth :-) As for the other areas of the business we started adding HR, Accounting etc functions after about year one. When the number of people and the amount of money started dictating that this was becoming too big for me to touch everything.
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
Hi Marco! So far in your career, what's been the most frightening risk you've taken? How'd it turn out?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@mscccc Actually was the day that we won Microsoft as a client. When we were just a team of four we were chosen to bid to speak about Social influence to the Microsoft team. We were competing against much larger companies. No way did I think we would actually win. And we did....won the bid over several billion dollar companies because we were so hyper focused on influencer marketing. I flew to New York and presented to the Head of Digital at Microsoft and a host of their team at their agency Starcom at the time. Everything went great. Flew home, and got a call from one of the execs asking about doing a $25k activation on that coming Sunday for the Oscars....this was a big deal to us back then. So I was excited told investors, clients etc that we were taking over the Oscars with Microsoft. Two days before the activation I get a call from one of the execs saying that they couldn't get Influencer Marketing through legal fast enough to make it happen since this was the first program they've ever done with Influencers. Said it was nothing to do with us and they want to try to run something next month with us. I got off feeling crushed knowing that for a young startup a big brand seeming to hesitate can draw doubt in investors and clients like "was our product good enough". So I turned to Felipe, my right hand, and he said "Marco why don't we just do it anyway." And in a pure rebel moment we took a Microsoft campaign we had planned to run on Twitter, changed around some of the tags but used the same strategy and ran the campaign anyway. Microsoft had a promoted trend for their campaign, and put a lot of money behind it. In 30 min our campaign generated more engagements and conversations than the entire day worth of Microsofts engagement. Their buyers switched their promoted tweet buys to spend against our campaign and we ended up creating the #1 Trend in the World during Oscars over the Oscars itself with our campaign. Microsoft could have been pissed that we basically stole the thunder from their campaign....but the show and prove renegadeness of it worked so well that instead they rewarded us....were astounded at our ability to pull off such a high impact campaign and continue to be one of our largest flagship clients today.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What don’t we know about influencer marketing that we should?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@jakecrump Choosing the "right" influencer is not something you can eyeball. And while big brands spend weeks combing through the perfect person, smaller brands or startup brands that don't have to unlearn a big brand mentality are literally shitting on them with how effectively they use influencers. Far too often brands give credit to "agencies" that have the right look or feel of an influencer but completely fail to take into account that just about anybody can create a list of people and try to sell you on their access. But having access to an influencer is NOT special. Brands get caught up in "who can get to a certain influencer" and they fail to realize that influencers are pretty readily available. While I don't discount the value of relationships (there's a reason why our offices are at Hollywood and Vine where most of the biggest influencers live) at the same time if you have those relationships but have no data behind audience, experience in running campaigns, understanding of the right clearing price for influencers, workflow management etc. then you will be setting yourself up for a nightmare working with a group that just has "access to somebody". Instead buy on the process, the technology, the experience, and THEN focus on the person. But approaching influencer marketing like endorsement marketing is a sure way to end up with a good looking campaign that flops.
Sam Doshi@samir_doshi · Co Founder @ Relayo.com
Hi Marco --- my biggest worry is building users from the ground up - it's the chicken and the egg routine --- we need something to offer users on our platform - relayo.com --- but we can't onboard people fast enough because there aren't any users ... hitting a wall here --- any advice on getting those early adopters on a platform ?
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
To what degree is Speakr a proprietary technology platform vs. a brokerage/intermediary agency that 'merely' connects brands w/ influencers?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@tomstocklein We've invested a significant amount of resources and capital into developing proprietary tech. Everything from workflow management, pricing, analytics, compliance, identification, and more. The matching part of this is only 1 part of the whole. And yes any agency can facilitate a match. Can the agency make sure its the right match, give you hundreds to thousands of other similar matches based on the parameters you've chosen, manage the workflow of that influencers content, ensure its compliance, determine the best price for compensation, save you money by telling you which influencers to avoid....of course not. This is what we focus on, being a data driven technology value add and not just a middle man.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hi Marco, thanks for being here today! How can smaller brands and companies best take advantage of social media and influencer strategies?
Seth Williams@sethbwilliams · Designer, Product Hunt
What's one piece of advice you've received in your career that has had the most impact?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@sethbwilliams Man there are so many. I think honestly one of the pieces that stands out for me actually came from my Grandpa. He'd tell me to always assume that the only thing that would separate me from other people I looked up to was experience. This may seem SUPER simple, but when you think about things from that perspective and apply that thought process to any part of your business or your life, you become in love with ignorance as I'd say it. I'd look at every experience to try something new as an exciting opportunity to remove my ignorance about something. I'd remove a lot of the fear and the pressure of being a "CEO" in situations that I had never been in. How was I supposed to know the exact right answer if I had never been in a situation...I wouldn't. And I didn't have to. But I did have to be perceptive....give it my best shot...but be quick to admit the things that I don't know and surround myself with people that can help fill the gaps. As a result whenever I step into new situations, I do research, I ask people for help, I get different perspectives and I can almost make it seem like I've been places that I've never been. Not because I'm smart, but because I took the time to recognize this is something I know nothing about and respect the process towards me gaining more information without just trying to "APPEAR" learned to the people around me. I feel like I could keep adding on to this question as there are so many lessons I've learned hehe but that's one of the earliest ones that has reigned true.
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hey Marco, What do top influencers usually look for in order to get involved in campaigns?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@theo_dimarhos Depends on the product/brand largely. I think you always have to think of it as an exchange. Either you are exchanging money, product, opportunity or experience. And also keep in mind that based on which type of influencer you approach different things will be valuable to them. For those influencers that make a living off of influence coming to them with opportunities that don't involve payment are largely going to get shot down....because they make a living being an influencer...makes sense though. And don't get caught in the hype of "you shouldn't pay influencers"...unless you are Apple, or your willing to waste 10x as much time trying to convince people to do shit for you for free you should be willing to compensate those top influencers. Now this isn't to say that you can't use other means of compensation outside of cash to weigh your balance. Obviously if the brand is not something the influencer likes theres a world of them that wouldn't post it under any circumstance no matter how much you paid them and there's a world of them that might post it just because they like the product. But those people are oftentimes the same people based on the brand....so don't think you're just looking for the utopian influencer that fits all the time...they need to fit you and your situation. Are you a brand they want to align with? Does the compensation seem fair? Whether its money or an expensive product....oftentimes one of the things that has the most leverage on price is unique experiences or unique opportunities. Giving them first access to something that makes them feel like an insider, VIP product, limited edition stuff. This may in some cases cause them to do things for free...or at least reduce their overall fee because there is some value exchange. One other thing to remember about influencers is that most of them are not just trying to do AS MANY deals as possible. They oftentimes have other pursuits...whether its their own brand, acting career, or just generally wanting to relax with family. So one of the other variables for them is time commitment, as well as frequency. 30 days in a month doesn't mean they'll promote a new brand everyday. Some have rules about number of brands they do each week or month and no matter how good your offer you won't be able to break that. It's a nuanced world....just get some help that knows how to navigate it with you.
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
When you pitch to a big brand, what are the 3 things that you've found make them say yes? What things might make them say no?
NotVirtualEmma@emmachen0311 · immersed in the future
Hello Marco, how do you see the monetization future of social media influencers? Is branding/advertising the only way?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@emmachen0311 Not at all. We're seeing it already from influencers creating their own shows, to their own brands and more. They are starting to grow up and realize that they are media properties themselves. And as influencers become more sophisticated and the people in the industry supporting them grow the smartest ones will find more revenue from promoting their own brands and opportunities than other peoples brands. Obviously it makes sense when done right. As the industry becomes more sensitive to the ROI it is getting on its product and holds Influencer Marketing more and more accountable, you end up in this world where the wrong influencers get paid less and less and the right ones get paid more. But in either situation their price is getting tied more and more to their ability to drive action. Their audience is driven to action largely from the relationship they have made with the influencer...not the brand. The brand is piggybacking on the influencers identity in order to BORROW the trust they have with the audience. So if you think about it if the influencer were able to push a product of their own that they truly believe in, would they have an even better chance of driving someone to action over a brand who is borrowing their trust....of course. So you will see a lot of failed versions of this happen from influencers looking to cash in 1800 style. And a lot of successful ones from influencers identifying why people love following them and truly capitalizing off of it.
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
Hey Marco, you are about to launch a product next week; as a marketer what three most important things you will do today to get maximum number of users at launch.
Amit Mondal@amitmondal50 · Founder at Pulpkey
Hi Marco, Great to have you here today. CPM or CPE - what model do you think will be the future that can mutually benefit both the brand, influencers and influencer management companies?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@amitmondal50 Good one. We currently do a blend. CPM with guaranteed engagements. I think as the industry begins to become more standardized on the "value of an engagement" we will see more shift towards CPE. The only problem with a pure CPE model is that it discounts the value of that engagement which can get pretty complicated. ie Which engagement are you counting and are you counting them all equally. Likes, Comments, Shares, clicks...can we even agree on what those are worth and then if we can can we agree on the value of an engagement coming from a person with the wrong audience or the right audience. Can we value someone that pushed out a message who has a higher than average impact on Trust but may not drive the most engagements. Bottom line is there are so many variables that its just tough to nail down....if you are trying to do it in any real SMART way. Hence if you assume that everyone has some CPM or value of their impression over that audience that you are willing to pay for and you have an understanding of their effective CPE then you are willing to pay different rates for everyone. CPM/CPE are not fixed even among the same influencer groups. Ultimately however the more brands and influencers understand the metrics that contribute to the success on a specific situation we will better be able to assign pricing. One of the biggest things that makes this science harder for everyone is that the inventory (Influencers) are human. So regardless of what you calculate on your CPM/CPE the market also dictates the going rate for an action. We are working tirelessly at adding more and more variables both qualitative and quantitative into our pricing algorithms as a result to determine value based on the going rate that other people that can accomplish a similar task would be willing to get compensated for....so that instead of basing it around external metrics alone you have an idea of what the real market driven value is for accomplishing an action. That was a mouthful....hopefully not too much :-) But you get the dilemma hehe not a simple answer.
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are some of your favorite apps, tools and strategies to help individuals grow their social media presence across platforms?
Gabriel@pi4n0m4n · CTO, Full Stack Dev, Inventor
Hi Marco I'm building a new type of ERP system. You can call it a "ERP for the masses". Would choosing an influencer from Speakr be a right choice? ERP was never a "friendly" domain and stayed enterprise only for a very long time. All that will change soon
Sam Doshi@samir_doshi · Co Founder @ Relayo.com
@pi4n0m4n ever heard of odoo? Wonder how yours compares and what your niche / angle is? Love erp type stuff -- hence my ?
Gabriel@pi4n0m4n · CTO, Full Stack Dev, Inventor
@samir_doshi I've worked 3 years with Odoo, I know the solution very well. That's why I see the need for a new one :) My niche is a cognitive ERP with multiple niches. It's actually a build model
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Which apps are on your home screen?
Marco Hansell@marco_hansell · Founder, Speakr
@tomstocklein Way too many lol. My dots overflow honestly. But ironically I'm more of a app voyuer than a crazy app user. I stick with my basic mail, spotify, instagram, facebook, snapchat, waze, lyft, and then a fun dice app I have to help me make really random decisions when I'm feeling bored. Also love this app Headspace I use every morning for meditation :-)
John Schenk@johnschenk · Founder at Taffy
@marco_hansell @tomstocklein Doubt you're ever really bored. ;-)