CMO Talks: Kurt Uhlir of Influencer Marketing Platform Sideqik


Join us as we talk to Kurt Uhlir, the CEO and Co-Founder of Sideqik, a platform that has quickly become the application of record for marketing teams working with brand influencers, athletes, players, local retailers, affiliates, ambassadors and other types of partners.

Kurt is known for leading, advising & building disruptive companies across six continents that have generated almost $10 billion in value for investors and clients, most notably at Vitrue and HERE (formerly NAVTEQ).

More about CMO Talks as well as the full transcript are below.

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Every month, Agency Spotter’s CEO and Co-Founder, Brian Regienczuk, sits down with CMOs and top marketing thought leaders. You can find the podcast, more on the talks, and other marketing insights on our blog. If you’re in Atlanta, join us for the CMO Breakfast to hear directly from top leaders and network with peers.

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Thriving in the Influence Economy

* Brian: Today, Kurt Uhlir is joining us. Kurt is the CEO and co-founder of Sideqik, a platform that has quickly become the application of record for marketing teams, working with brand influencers, athletes, and other types of partners.

Kurt is known for leading, advising, and building disruptive companies across six continents with almost $10 billion in value for investors and clients.

Thanks for joining me Kurt.

* Kurt: Yeah, thanks for having me.

* Brian: So, just to start off with a few questions. As you know, Agency Spotter is all about helping marketers understand the landscape and how things are changing. Can you tell us a little bit about influencer marketing and shed some light on what is it? How do you define it?

* Kurt: Great question because I think we all use slightly different terms. For me, influencer marketing is that type of marketing where you’re the individuals and sometimes groups or other types of marketing partners and using them to drive your brand’s message out to your target market.

* Brian: That’s great. Many people also think of celebrities when they think of influencer marketing and I know it’s really evolved. Can you talk a bit about what it is, what it isn’t … are celebrities involved?

* Kurt: Yeah, celebrities can be. For me there’s three types of ambassadors or influencers that every brand should have and celebrities is often where people will try to get started. WE’d all love to have that big celebrity talking about us and there’s even directories that you can go to that you can pay people to talk about it. But that’s not really influencer marketing, that’s more display ads to me. For me it really starts much more with the longer tail influencer.

The rest of marketing started there as well. How do you find the thousands or tens of thousands of people that are highly passionate about your brand? And if one or two of those happen to be celebrities, all the better.

* Brian: What types of companies can actually get the most out of influencer marketing? Are there certain industries or types of companies who benefit the most with the current flavor of influencer marketing.

* Kurt: We do see brands across the consumer spectrum doing some level of influencer marketing. I mean Forbes has said more than two-
thirds of brands currently have an influencer budget right now. Which is great, but for me the real benefit comes from those that have a product or a service in an area where people are highly passionate about it. They’re self-forming communities.

You think about runners around the country. It’s like whether or not the brand is there, they’re getting to know each other and they’re talking. The same thing about new parents as well. Any of the … if that industry kind of matches with what your brand is, that’s where the biggest bang comes to get started.

* Brian: So, passion points basically?

* Kurt: Passion points. Yeah.

* Brian: Okay. There’s a lot of people who are just starting out, either their careers or their brand is jumping into influencer marketing in a new way. Do you have any tips or advice for how they can get started? What are the best ways for them to jump into it?

* Kurt: Yeah, I mean I mentioned that there are three types of influencers. For me the highest growth brands, they always start to segment their strategies based on that. And the next kind of main one is they think about their influence marketing as a strategy and not a campaign. It used to be five years ago you could think about “Hey, we’re going to do a campaign for a month and that’s going to be when we think about influencers.”

Well, that was great five years ago, but the game has changed today. So now the big brands are doing this throughout the year. SO they may have these peak periods that come through, but they’re always thinking about how they can engage it. Almost splitting their marketing into how do I talk to my own audience, how do I pay for access to somebody else’s, and how do I work with my influencers to get engagement from their audiences?

* Brian: Nice, nice. Well thank you for coming today. I think you’ve definitely shed some light on influencer marketing for us. I appreciate it.

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About Brian Regienczuk

Brian Regienczuk is the CEO and Co-Founder of Agency Spotter. With over 19 years experience both at top brands and helping grow agencies, Brian writes and speaks on topics related to finding and selecting great marketing, design and research partners, and on how the future of marketing demands that brand marketers and agencies work smarter together.