Reality check. South By Southwest is two short weeks away! While many of you are probably busy arranging travel and choosing the sessions you’ll attend, we at Mattr are busy finding those marketers, advertisers and social stars who are destined to be big influencers at SXSWi (after all, we are an influencer identification platform). They may not all have massive followings like your typical celebrity influencers, but in reality, they’ve already proven their influential status within their industries, online and beyond.
We’ll be releasing our list of influencers closer to the conference, but as we’ve been identifying them, we’ve also discovered a wealth of marketing and industry knowledge – personal blogs, published books, as well as some LinkedIn Pulse collections and online articles. We thought we’d pay it forward and pass those along to all of you. Treat it as your pre-SXSW reading list to start getting in the mood for what’s to come in a couple of weeks.
At Mattr, we like to say “Personalities Tell Powerful Stories” and #EveryoneMattrs. In other words, an influencer is more than simply influential; they’re a person with unique interests, values and thoughts. By the same token, what they write is more than a collection of words; it’s more than thoughts on marketing. What they write is a reflection of them- their personality, interests and values. That being said, we’ve sorted these reading sources by themes to give you a better idea of the type of content they provide, and the type of person behind the words.
You might notice in our upcoming release that Mattr will only show you the over-indexed interests of your influencers. This is a big, exciting change for our app. Read on to learn why over-indexed interests are more valuable to you, and how we discover them.
Why is over-indexing useful?
Over-indexing helps identify those unique or special interests that your specific group of influencers are more inclined to gravitate towards. Identifying these interests allows for more precise targeting to that group, resulting in more bang for your buck. For example, CNN may be a top interest for a particular group of people based on a strict count, but there might be a smaller, more niche media outlet that’s much more popular amongst your group than across the population as a whole– and that means more eyes on your brand.
How do we do it?
Mattr first creates a large set of the most followed interests within a report’s influencer pool, several of which might be the most followed interests for the overall population. We then analyze the probability that an interest is followed by the report pool of influencers, and compare that to all users on Twitter. That number is then used to sort and identify the most over-indexed interests for the report group, with the top 25 interests highlighted in the report.
Are there limitations?
It’s important to note that if your report contains a single influencer, or if the influencer pool is very small, results won’t be as useful because they’ll most likely reflect the least popular interests. Another thing to keep in mind is that every interest is treated the same and carries the same weight since there are no degrees of following. We may address this in the future by incorporating some data about interests that are also influencers in the report group.
Few companies are quite as adept at maintaining and communicating their values as Volkswagen. Beginning in the 1930s, Volkswagen (whose name literally means “people’s car” in German) aimed to empower the everyman to own and drive a car. This idea was radically nonconformist in an age when companies only produced luxury cars for the elite. But VW’s message of inclusivity and openness to change resonated with consumers.
Because Volkswagen has held on to those values for decades, it has built a passionate following. Now three of the top 10 bestselling cars of all time, according to AutoGuide.com, are VWs. Some of the manufacturer’s classic models — the Beetle and the Type 2 bus — have become icons. (People still love features like odd heater handles on the floor, the clatter and rattle of the air-cooled engine and the aesthetic in these cars that virtually everyone could afford to buy.)
Although models have changed throughout the years, VW has remained focused on “progress” and “defying convention” and these values have served the company well.
A strong brand message can communicate your company’s values, differentiate it from competitors’ and make your target audience take notice. Here are some tips for establishing values that resonate with your target audience:
1. Determine your values as a founder.
Figure out where your values lie so you can build a brand that will always be in alignment. Are you resistant to change or determined to save the world one person at a time? What you stand for as an entrepreneur and your organization’s brand message will determine which consumers connect with the company.
L.L.Bean was founded on traditionalism and transparency while In-N-Out Burger is rooted in uncompromised quality and consistency. These brands have maintained loyal followings by standing by these values.
2. Analyze the target market’s leanings.
Even though your market can encompass different audiences, determine the core values the majority of your audience holds dear. If that majority’s preferences are out of alignment with your company’s values, pick a different market. Don’t compromise your company’s values just to fit in.
VW strayed too far from its audience’s core values when in 2004 it released the Phaeton, a premium model. Sales were so low the company abandoned the model in the United States in 2006.
3. Team up with those with similar values.
Maintain a cohesive team and minimize turnover by only hiring people who share your core values. For instance, if you’re the type of person who wants to reward employees for their attitude and work but hires people who just want to climb the corporate ladder, they won’t be a good long-term fit.
The same rule applies for potential company partners. No matter how talented the applicant or valuable the potential partner, if someone doesn’t align with what your brand stands for, you don’t want him or her representing your company.
4. Monitor the market regularly.
During every stage of your business, keep an eye out for trends among members of your target audience. Are they staying consistent or changing? Staying up-to-date will let you adjust production or marketing accordingly.
In the early days, Apple’s branding was extremely nonconformist. But as the company captured a sizeable portion of the computer market, it became more focused on products that looked good and made people look good while using them.
VW’s core values have remained the same but it has branched out to create vehicles and messaging aimed at at more conservative (the Passat) and safety-focused consumers (Jetta) and environmentally minded individuals (the e-Golf and Jetta Hybrid).
Throughout the years, Volkswagen has proved that designing a company around thoughtful values, effectively communicating them to a target audience and maintaining them over time can drive long-term brand loyalty and growth. So take a page from the VW playbook and prioritize your startup’s brand values.
Sales are a big part of my everyday job, and since my company sells predominantly to marketers, I talk to people that fill many different marketing roles. Of all the different types of marketers, though, PR people have really stood out to me. They have a difficult job. Given their focus on media relations, they have additional audiences that they have to consider every single day beyond the people they’re selling products or services to. While other types of marketers are able to concentrate on only the customer, PR people have to think more broadly when writing a pitch.
The graphic to the left illustrates the three audiences a PR person should consider when writing a pitch. However, as I’ve talked to many PR people, I’ve noticed that not all actually focus on all three of those audiences. In many instances, they spend most of their time focused on a journalist and/or a publication’s readers and largely neglect the customers they’re actually trying to reach through media.
How do you decide who to pitch? Does that decision involve qualitative data about the customers you’re trying to reach? If not, you might be missing something valuable that could improve your pitches – and the stories that ultimately result from those pitches.
How much do you know about the customers of the product or service you’re pitching? Many people in the industry have told me they think they have a solid grasp of the customers because of the years they’ve spent interacting with journalists. But when I ask them more about their customer targets, and especially when I question their personality details, they realize that aside from some anecdotal evidence they hear, many don’t have as good of a grasp of those customers as they thought. When they see a thorough customer segmentation analysis, it can be very revealing. Sometimes they even discover that the publications or blogs they assumed customers were reading aren’t at all what they actually read.
Most in the PR industry that I’ve talked with say that audience targeting and segmentation is something they’ve never thought to do before, but is something that could be very valuable to them. It can tell them not only which publications their customers read, but which publications are over-indexed with their customers. In other words, it reveals those publications their customers read at a disproportionate rate. Very important when deciding who to pitch.
But let’s go a step beyond the the pitch audience and focus on the actual pitch content sent to a reporter. What do those pitches usually contain? Information on the product or service you’re pitching? Maybe something that shows the reporter you know and understand what’s interesting to them?
How often do they accurately reflect the customer you’re trying to reach? I’m not referring only to customer challenges your company can help them solve; I’m talking about who these people really are – their personalities, their interests, and their values.
Think about this process for a pitch:
Look at step two. After determining the appropriate publications to target in step 1 (based on consideration of your customers, the journalist and the publication’s readers) step 2 takes into consideration qualitative information on those people.
Targeting and segmentation can provide signals or indications of the people you’re trying to reach – who they really are as people. That information can help you make subtle changes to a pitch to appeal not just to the reporter, but to tell a story that you know will appeal to the customers and potential customers you’re actually trying to target. If you know your audience is more liberal, more tech savvy or more environmentally conscious than the average person, shouldn’t your pitch content resonate with their motivations and their values? And wouldn’t the reporter you’re pitching be interested in knowing that as well?
Utilizing targeting and segmentation can help PR people become better acquainted with who their customers are as people, and in turn, get more targeted and insightful with their pitching. Remember, when targeting a publication, think about the customer, journalist and readers. And when writing the pitch, consider the personality, values and interests of those groups of people.
Vine is wildly popular and growing fast, with over 40 million users and 1.5 billion plays of the 6-second videos per day. The personal, creative videos are perfect for spreading brand awareness in an entertaining and engaging way, and marketers from companies like Lego, Adidas and Pizza Hut are beginning to catch on.
That’s why today, we’ve announced the addition of the Top Vine influencers into our app!
The Power of the Vine Influencer
Top Vine influencers have accrued millions of dedicated fans, which can open up a whole new audience to marketers. More importantly, though, these ‘celebrities’ are extremely relatable – they’re famous for being mostly normal. As marketers can attest, that normalcy goes a long way when trying to keep customer’s attention or building trust within certain markets.
Here’s a look at the Top 20 Vine influencer stats to show just how powerful they might be to your brand’s marketing and influencer strategy!
We hope the addition of Vine influencers to the Mattr app is valuable to you, and helps you deliver more impactful campaigns to a broader audience. Other app improvements you might notice this week include assigning/ removing users from a report, editing a report and exporting your report data. Go check it out!
And remember, we always welcome feedback on what you would like to see to make our app more useful and efficient.