“I believe influencer marketing is helping marketing become more human”
1. Tell us about your role
My name is Pierre-Loic Assayag — I am the co-founder and CEO of Traackr, a platform that builds influencer relationship management technology enabling brands to effectively manage, measure and scale data-driven influencer strategies while cutting through the noise on social media.
I have a background in marketing and before co-founding Traackr worked for well-known companies like Procter & Gamble and Peugeot.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I often refer to myself as a recovering marketer because I started by career in marketing, working for large brands, when marketing was considered the “art of persuasion”. Not only did the label made no sense to me but its actuation by brands felt more like the “art of deception” (if your product lacks quality, you just spend more money on your marketing to make up for it). I always thought that the only reason why this one-way marketing approach seemed to be accepted was a lack of alternatives for consumers to consider.
What excites me in today’s world is that, for marketing to succeed, a brand has to genuinely be better than the alternatives and marketers have to be smarter than their competition. I am committed to helping marketers driven change within their organizations so they can keep their brands relevant and win their customers by way of trust and authenticity rather than persuasion and deception.
3. How do you think technology is upgrading marketing sector?
Technology has allowed marketers to be more data-driven and get closer to their prospective customers. As a result, marketers are able to make smarter, more efficient decisions and develop campaigns that have higher impact results on key ROI metrics because they are more relevant.
4. How have influencer marketing methods contributed in the growth of marketing?
Influencer marketing has proven to be an integral lever in today’s people-powered marketing mix. With traditional marketing or advertising, it is typically the company talking about or promoting its own products. Consumers are becoming more suspicious of this type of promotion and are less likely to engage. Today, companies need more authentic ways to communicate with their customers, and as a result, they are shifting their budgets over to influencer partnerships. In addition to this, influencer-generated content has the ability to unveil where audience are most engaged so brands can nurture customers along the sales journey on a highly personal level.
Fundamentally, I believe influencer marketing is helping marketing become more human.
5. How has data helped in optimizing the efficiencies of influencer marketing?
Similar to any other type of marketing, clear and actionable data is key to optimizing influencer marketing campaigns. Data brings marketing out of the anecdotal, subjective world and provides marketers with truly objective signals on what is working and what is not working.
It’s important to note that given how relatively new the influencer marketing industry is, and given that it utilizes the power of human influence instead of stagnant digital or print adverts, there is still work to be done in determining what types of data provide truly impactful insights.
For example – up until very recently marketers were relying on follower count data to determine which influencers were the most impactful (and therefore the highest paid). However, now that the industry is aware of bot accounts and the ability to buy fake followers, the focus has shifted from follower count data to engagement rates (likes, click throughs, comments, etc). This shift gives marketers insight into which types of content and influencers are performing best, and provides them with a clearer understanding of how to best invest their time and money.
6. How will your two new tools – Audience Quality and Brand Values Match – reduce influencer fraud?
Influencer fraud has been a major issue for marketers, costing brands an estimated $1.3 billion this year alone. The most common type of fraud has to do with audience quality – as more emphasis was placed on the sheer reach of influencers to determine spend on sponsored content, influencers started purchasing followers in order to artificially boost their following, thereby raising the rates they can charge. While marketers were spending more, they weren’t achieving the same ROI.
Built in partnership with HypeAuditor, Traackr’s Audience Quality tool analyzes influencer audiences and dissects suspicious account activity from genuine audience counts.
While not tied to fraud, marketers are also facing a rise in influencer scandals as consumers hold brands and influencer accountable for misalignment with their core values. For influencer marketing to be successful, it must be authentic, in that influencers are an extension of the brands they represent. Because of this, it’s important for companies to be able to efficiently evaluate influencers for brand fit and potential reputation risks.
Using Traackr’s Brand Values Match, marketers can select and search for controversial topics (politics, religion, drugs, profanity, etc.) across and influencer’s social media platforms to ensure their content aligns with their brand. Marketers assign a “tolerance score” to each of these controversial topics, and Traackr will identify which influencers fall within the acceptable range.
7. What are your predictions about the future of influencer marketing?
Increase in authenticity
As influencer marketing becomes more prominent, consumer expectations around authenticity and ethics have increased significantly. The recent negative news around influencers promoting detox tea by disingenuously talking about how they use the products is a clear example of this. Companies and influencers will likely be held to a higher standard by their audiences, the media and government entities. I think it’s not only good for companies to make sure they are ethically marketing their products – but they will find that authenticity will also be the best marketing strategy.
Earned media value (EMV) has been a commonly used measurement when trying to determine ROI on any marketing campaign. However, metrics are not one size fits all, and marketers have realized that EMV is an ineffective way to measure the success of an influencer marketing campaign. As a result, we are beginning to see new, tailored metrics emerge. This need for better metrics is one of the main reasons why we launched Influencer Market Benchmark and our Brand Vitality Score (VIT) – to measure what actually makes an impact in influencer marketing. I think we can expect to see a continuation of this trend in the influencer marketing industry through the solidification of actionable metrics.
8. What advice do you have for technology startups?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pacing yourself to allow space to fail and make adjustments to meet your market is critical to success.
Don’t fear competition, embrace it. It takes a village to create a new category and educate a market.
9. How do you prepare for an AI-centric world?
I think an AI-centric world is still pretty far off in the future. But, we are seeing AI becoming more integrated into many aspects of our lives – consumer electronics, data analysis, digital platforms (i.e. chatbots) – which is exciting.
In the martech world specifically, AI has the capability to speed up efficient data analysis, relieve marketers of some of the more mundane tasks required of them and provide consumers with experiences that are more personalized and immediate. Marketers may also be able to expect AI to help make better decisions based off of data, as well as personalized recommendations on how to reach target audiences.
10. What are major developments Traackr is planning?
We just launched two new major developments at the end of last month (mentioned above). Those two tools – Audience Quality and Brand Values Match – help address influencer fraud and brand values alignment. Social media changes rapidly, and Traackr is always looking at how to best serve our customers – whether it’s adding new platforms and content types like Twitch Streams, improving performance metrics or streamlining campaign workflows.
11. Can you tell us about your team at Traackr and how they support you?
The Traackr team inspires me more than it supports me. Not a day goes by when I’m not in owe with someone on the team who shares something they built to improve 100x an idea, feature or process I may have initiated. So I keep hiring and grooming people who keep raising the bar for the rest of us…
12. What movie inspires you the most?
Lion – The persistence of the main character in the movie to try to make sense of a world around him that feels off is something every entrepreneur can relate to.
13. What apps do you currently have on your phone?
If we count my kids hacking into my phone to use it, it would be Lego Batman.
Otherwise, I’m an avid podcast consumer and use the Apple Podcast app probably the most of all my apps.