This Mi6 Round Up covers influencer marketing, whether Canadian governments get innovation and startups (nope) and key challenges facing Chief Marketing and Chief Information Security Officers. What’s the key to getting Canada on track when it comes to innovation, creating, growing and keeping companies in Canada? What should you consider when developing and implementing an influencer program? What key issues are facing marketing and security leaders today?

Mi6 Round Ups are published twice a month and feature summaries and opinion on select handpicked articles that caught our eye in the areas sales and marketing; technology and the c-suite.

Sales and Marketing

1) Influencer Marketing

We’ve been running influencer programs and networks for the last five years. Before that I ran a reference and referral (advocates) program for a systems integrator for eight years. These programs and networks have generated millions in revenue, lowered or eliminated content development costs and put our clients in front of buyers, more influencers and positioned them as influencers themselves.

In “5 Predictions for Influencer Marketing in 2016, Onalytica (an  influencer tool we are piloting) state that “influencer marketing is more cost-effective than paid advertising and leads to more credible brand recommendations, which 92% of consumers are more likely to trust. For these reasons influencer marketing has arguably become the most effective, long term marketing strategy”.

Here’s my take on their predictions:

Increased Focus on Employee Advocacy – be careful on this one. Unleashing your employees to share content via social channels can backfire. I see this daily with large technology companies where a whack load of employees are sharing exactly the same content creating an echo chamber of noise. Imagine you’re a buyer and getting a call from 10 people from the same company asking/telling you the same thing. Translate this to Twitter or LinkedIn. Do you really think someone is going to follow all of your employees if they’re all sharing the same stuff! If they do follow a few of your employees will all of them start direct messaging them on Twitter, sending connection requests on LinkedIn and then friending them on Facebook?

The Rise of the Tier 2 Influencers – this all depends on how you define a tier and how you measure. I agree that you need to define what an influencer really means and how you value that influencer. Also, be very careful using “influencer” scoring services like Klout. A certain technology company’s employees gamed their Klout scores by ranking each other up. Also, how much influence does Justin Bieber (Klout Score: 93/100)  have on you or your buyers on anything?

Increased Demand for Authentic Influencers – I agree with this. While some are saying that influencers must be paid there are circumstances where they needn’t be. What’s more important is the strategy and overall value your program can provide to the influencer. Think beyond compensating them for writing something or appearing at an event or on a webinar. None of the influencer programs we run involve direct compensation. Also, you’d be surprised at who influences people in your target customer segments. It’s not always who you think.. and some don’t have a digital/social presence.

Maturing of Influencer Marketing Tools – I’m less optimistic about the “word of mouth” space. There are promising tools, and we’re using some of them, but regardless of the tools you use they need to be simple to use, are NOT overpriced and the the payment terms have to be more favourable for the buyer .. not the vendor. Too many are providing short demo windows and one year lock ins. The space is too new and untested.

Increase in “x-channel” measurement of influencer – this is adding a new layer to measuring influence and it’s too early to tell whether this will work or not. It’s up to the Influencer to make sure their web and social channels are stitched together and don’t become echo chambers. How the Influencer uses Periscope or Anchor should differ from how they use LinkedIn or Twitter.

SEE ALSO: The Engagers: Chris Herbert on B2B Influencer Marketing + Balance Trust With Targeting In Social Reach Marketing

There’s no denying that building strategic networks, that include influencers and advocates, should be an integral part of your B2B marketing program. But before you invest in tools make sure you know what you want to accomplish and design a program that is of mutual benefit to your company and influencers.

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Technology

2) Here's how Canadian Municipal, Provincial and Federal Governments Will Fuel Innovation

This article shows, again, the serious disconnect between government and the private sector when it comes to innovation. Government thinks they need to lead when it comes to innovation and helping companies start and grow. If they were qualified to do so, then the people running government led programs and incubator programs wouldn’t be working for the government.  How is the government qualified to evaluate whether a company has “high potential” or not? And, there is no need to “study” innovation any longer. There is ample research and examples we can pull from now. The reality is that Canada gets a failing grade in innovation, commercialization and starting and growing Canadian owned companies. What’s required is a climate where small businesses are encouraged and supported to innovate and take risks. The first thing government can do is adopt and buy locally made Canadian technologies. The next thing they can do is penalize Canadian startups, that have been heavily funded by tax dollars, for moving to other countries. Finally, our government needs to sell and prove to the world the unique value proposition that Canada offers over any other country. In other words, they need to think and act like a startup. The goal? For companies to start, grow AND stay here. Listen to what Jim Balsillie has to say about the challenges facing Canada with respect to innovation and startups.

3) It’s Not About the Billion Dollar Startup!

Prior to Steven Harper and the Conservatives getting kicked out by Team Trudeau, the Canadian Government commissioned a study aimed at finding out why not enough Canadian companies are being hatched and becoming high growth enterprises. This article, “Ottawa Wants To Know How To Turn Canadian Startups Into Billion-Dollar Businesses, citing the study, misses the mark. Figuring out how to create “unicorns” and billion dollar startups is the wrong goal. Billion dollar companies do not fuel economies… nor do billionaires. What fuel economies are small businesses and to a lesser extent mid-size companies. And, by the way, show me a REAL example of a billion dollar startup! And don’t say Uber. The right focus is on creating world class entrepreneurs and many startups that grow. If you don’t believe me just ask Robert Herjavec.

After reading one of of the five reports deepcentre have produced for the Feds it’s clear there is a lot of work to do with the existing Startup Assistance Organizations currently operating in Canada. There’s also, no concrete evidence that confirms incubators or accelerators are having a positive impact on startups and scale ups in general anywhere in the world.

C-Suite

4) What Are the Key Challenges Facing CMOs Today?

In Korn Ferry’s 2015 Marketing Pulse Survey there were little surprises on the challenges facing today’s CMOs. The top two challenges facing them? Organizational alignment and inability to show ROI. I believe that this is not the CMOs problem alone. It’s a company wide problem and the issues evolve around strategy, structure and culture. Read the article and you’ll see how disjointed some CMOs are thinking. They want to “personalize the customer experience” but they consider “post-purchase experience” as the responsibility of customer service. Huh? They are frustrated with a lack of “organizational alignment” yet very few of them have earned a seat on the board. I wonder, is the CMO role going by way of the Dinosaur?

5) What Are The Key Issues Facing Chief Information Security Officers?

IBM puts out some great content for the C-Suite including this report “CISO Insights From IBM Security

SEE ALSO: Should My CEO be on Social Media?

What I particularly like about this content is the way it’s organized around key security threat focus areas related to analyzing threats, protecting users and data, reducing (why not eliminating?) fraud, safeguarding applications and defending infrastructure. These are key buckets that security needs to address. For each they define the thread, recommend a strategy and share a success story. It’s a good example of role based marketing.

 

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Sign up for updates on the side bar on this page. If you’d like to discuss this post and B2B marketing, sales and business development with us join our private forum or connect with us.

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Chris HerbertChris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.

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