Influencer marketing. It's the strategy du jour these days. Everyone's doing it, but not everyone is succeeding. In fact, Oliver Luckett, founder of digital influencer agency TheAudience says: “There’s a new company every week that says it does what we do. They don’t have any fuckin’ clue what we do.
They think we still manage celebrities’ social media presences. We haven’t done that for a year and a half. It was a terrible, thankless business. Why try to move celebrities that are
digital immigrants into it when I’ve got 6,000 kids that speak this language that can push anything and make it trend globally with a push of a button?"
Luckett isn't shy about his company's success, adding: "We are like the puppet master inside of these social media systems, and we work with these creators that do their thing every day, and we bring them funding. We did that to the tune of $27 million in revenue last year. And we’ve doubled every year.”
Luckett has no kind words form brands or agencies or celebrities who don't get the new media landscape. Of Katy Perry's lead up to her Super Bowl performance, of which there was none, Luckett said: “Shame on her. Look at her Facebook page -- not one mention of the Super Bowl! It’s unbelievable. The night of the Super Bowl, I sent her page to the execs at Universal and said, ‘Guys, y’all need to be fired. You’re embarrassing yourselves.’ Her fans wanted to interact with her. Where are the Instagram photos? Show me her inspirations. Show me something. Get people excited.”
As one who watches this space with rapt attention, I can certainly concur with Luckett. Time and time again, too many brands and agencies simply do not understand or simply do not care to understand how dramatically things have changed (and continue to change) and how completely different marketing approaches are now required to affect any metric a brand cares about.
This is not to say you all suck. Far from it. Change takes time, but you can't go around with your head in the sand and adopt a wait-and-see attitude like the agency president who, in an interview I had in 2003, said to me: "Oh, the Internet. No, it's not really anything we concern ourselves with." I swear that actually happened.
No one, of course, is saying that anymore -- but there was a time when, you know, this whole "Internet thing" was just some stupid thing those IT geeks screwed around with when they were supposed to be making sure your Lotus Notes worked.
All of which is to say the "we've always done it that way" attitude will get you nowhere. And companies like TheAudience will be stealing business from you left and right. Of course, you could just do what agencies always do -- promise your client you can do it and then just call TheAudience, pay their fee and take all the credit. At least that would be better than doing nothing at all. And who knows -- you might actually learn something; enough to, you know, realize your agency should be smart enough to provide your clients this kind of service with the ease and panache you display when presenting your latest Flashturbation creation way back in 2005.