Before we jump into this episode, a note for the listeners: Winfluence is now available as a video show. If you’d like to see the magic as well as hear it, just pop over to the YouTube channel and subscribe. The easy way to get there is jasonfalls.co/youtube. Of course, you can also search for Jason Falls Winfluence or just Winfluence on YouTube and find it.
The new episodes will also be offered up on YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter each Monday. We’re going to shift the publishing of the show to 11 a.m. ET so folks can join us for lunch, brunch or breakfast viewing on the stream. The audio podcast will still be there for you, just a couple hours later than it normally fires.
Regardless of where you’re listening or watching, thank you for being here and following along our journey to understanding more about influence and influence marketing.
Now on to today’s show.
There’s a lurking problem in the influence marketing space today. I’ve noticed it and mentioned it a few times on the show. A few others are starting to see it, too.
The problem is not with the mechanisms, softwares or logistics of influence marketing. Brands engage creators they probably find via software. There’s an exchange of value … the influencer is compensated somehow and the brand gets exposure or content or both. All of that is well and good. But all of that is becoming a commodity of sorts.
The problem is the thinking behind most influence marketing efforts today is, well, meh. A brand says, “here’s product and money, tell your fans to try it.” The creator puts on their best happy face and gushes about said product and cashes their check. The audience sometimes buys it. Sometimes not. (The product or the pitch.)
That failure is why I originally launched a consulting firm. I wanted to focus on the strategy and creative concepting that was so blatantly missing from the industry. It’s also a part of why I pivoted to join CIPIO.ai because we go at influence from a different perspective. Plus, I can still bring that strategic thinking and concepting to the table for our customers.
But I’m not the only one who sees the gaps.
Noah Eisemann is a similar thinker in the space. He’s the partnerships lead at Lumanu, a software company that is building infrastructure pieces for the creator economy. They’ve been working on some innovations in approach to payments I found pretty interesting.
But Noah also thinks there are shortcomings and shortfalls in how brands engage with creators, creators engage with brands and the folks in the middle like agencies and software companies are playing. I invited him on the show today to fill those gaps with me. We also touch on what Lumanu is up to.
A good conversation about what needs to get better in the influence marketing space is coming up.
Winfluence is made possible by Cipio.ai – The Community Commerce Marketing platform. What does that mean? It’s an influencer marketing software solution, but it has additional apps that function to tap into your brand community to drive commerce. Community Commerce Marketing moves beyond influencers to fans and followers, customers, employees and more. Try its generative AI application, Vibe Check, with a two-week free trial at cipio.ai/vibecheck, and generate a library of social captions in minutes you can use right away.
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Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is available in paperback, Kindle/eBook and audio book formats. Get it in the medium of your choice on Amazon or get a special discount on the paperback version of the book by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.
Noah Eisemann Transcript
[00:00:00] Intro: You want Instagrammers or TikTok-ers to post about your brand? Or do you actually wanna engage creators who influence their audience to buy your product? If you’re in the ladder of those two, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Winfluence, The Influence Marketing Podcast.
Hello again, friends. Thanks for tuning in to Winfluence, The Influence Marketing Podcast. If you’re seeing this on YouTube, LinkedIn, or elsewhere, you already know what I’m about to tell the podcast subscribers Winfluence is now available as a video show. If you’d like to see the magic as well as hear It, I do have handsome beard, just pop over to the YouTube channel and subscribe. The easy way to get there is Jason Falls.co/youtube.
Of course, you can also search for Jason Falls Winfluence, or just Winfluence on YouTube and find it as well. The video episodes will be offered up on YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. Each Monday, we’re gonna shift the publishing of the show to 11:00 AM Eastern Time so folks can join us for lunch, brunch, or breakfast. I guess probably dinner too if we’ve got some European viewers and listeners, if you’d like to do that on the stream, the audio podcast will still be there for you. It’ll publish and fire a couple of hours later than it normally fires. Just to coincide with the videos going live as well.
I guess you can say web video killed the audio podcast star, if only the bugs would issue a remake of their one hit wonder to apply to 2023, right? Regardless of where you’re listening or watching, thank you for being here and following along our journey to understanding more about influence and influence marketing.
Now on to today’s show. There’s a lurking problem in the influence marketing space today. I’ve noticed it and mentioned it a few times here on the show. A few others are starting to see it too. The problem is not with the mechanisms, the softwares or logistics of influence marketing. Brands engage creators, they probably find via software. There’s an exchange of value. The influencer is compensated somehow, and the brand gets exposure or content or both. All of that is well and good, but all of that is becoming a commodity of sorts.
The problem is, the thinking behind most influenced marketing efforts today is, well, meh. A brand says, here’s product and money, tell your fans to try it. The creator puts on their best happy face, and gushes about said product and cashes their check, and the audience sometimes buys it, sometimes not the product or the pitch.
The failure is why I originally launched a consulting firm. I wanted to focus on the strategy and creative concepting that was so blatantly missing from the industry, in my opinion. It’s also a part of why I pivoted to join CIPIO.AI because we go at influence from a different perspective. Plus, I can still bring that strategic thinking and concepting to the table for our customers. But I’m not the only one who sees the gaps.
Noah Eisemann is a similar thinker in the space. He’s the partnerships lead at Lumanu, a software company that’s building infrastructure pieces for the creator economy. They’ve been working on some innovations and approach to payments, I find pretty interesting.
But Noah also thinks there are shortcomings and short falls, and how brands engage with creators. Creators engage with brands, and the folks in the middle, like agencies and software companies are playing.
I invited him to the show today to fill those gaps with me. We also touch on what Lumanu is up to. Good conversation about what needs to get better and the influence marketing space is coming up on the show.
This episode of Winfluence is presented by CIPIO.AI, the community commerce marketing platform. It has a family of apps that helps you drive commerce through your own community.
One of those apps is focused on helping creators and brands be more efficient with their time. And in today’s economy, we know efficiency is important. Whether you’re a brand or content creator, you probably spend a lot of time writing and rewriting captions for social media content, but you also have to make sure that content will perform well by keeping up with the trends across social media, previous post performance, and so on.
CIPIO’s generative AI content app is called Community Generative AI, or CGI for short. Think of it as an AI content generator with an extra brain for optimizing social media posts and predicting success. All you do with, CGI on CIPIO is tell it the idea of your post or even campaign. Give it a call to action, the tone of voice you prefer, and the length of the word count. With the push of a button, you have a library of smart content recommendations with predictive analysis of how that post will perform.
CIPIO’s powerful AI engine digs into the big data of over 140 million social media users, posts, and images and videos. It mines that data for deep learning insights to give you not just content, but content that will perform that makes it very different from other AI content generators out there.
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CIPIO.AI wants to give you that power with a two week free trial. I’ll give a link in just a second to sign up. There’s no credit card required. Go to JasonFalls.co/cgi and start creating all the captions and content you want with the click of a button, free for two weeks. Just see if you like it. I’m betting you will JasonFalls.co/cgi. Seriously, folks, this will change the game. If you write a lot or have a lot of clients, you need to write social captions for Jason falls.co/cgi.
What’s missing in the influence marketing space today from agencies, software companies, brands and creators? Noah Eisemann from Lumanu will discuss next on Winfluence.
Noah, let’s level set here first. I want to talk about Lumanu, but for those out there who don’t know your background, give us the why and how, why are you in the influence marketing space and how in the hell did you get here?
[00:06:38] Noah: Yeah, that’s a good question. So I’ve been in marketing my entire career. I started off in the agency world initially, but when I was there saw the inefficiencies that were happening with creative production and how millions of dollars were only going to producing a few assets. And I thought there’s gotta be a more interesting way in a modern world. And so it led me down the rabbit hole of the creator economy and how technology and creators combined can produce the scale of content that marketers need now. And so it’s led me down a number of different companies, but that’s, generally the why I’m here and in this space.
[00:07:13] Jason: Now, I know, you spent a little bit of time, with one of our friends of the show here at Tager. You were there for a bit. Your role there I think was similar to your role now, right? Helping socialize Tager to agencies and other partners. Is that right?
[00:07:26] Noah: Yeah. The only difference now with what I’m doing with Lumanu is that I can include the platforms themselves as some of the potential partners that can work with them. But yeah, it’s very similar..
[00:07:35] Jason: Very nice. All right. So let’s talk a little bit about Lumanu. We talked about the company, a year or so ago when Kelly Alexa, who spent some time there was on the show but that was before, I think Lumanu’s relatively recent pivot to focusing on payments. You guys started out, I think, focusing on whitelisting, which struck me at the time to be a little bit of a narrow thing to focus on. give us the elevator pitch. What exactly is Lumanu focused on now? How are you guys, helping improve the industry?
[00:08:04] Noah: Yeah. Being relatively new to Lumanu, I can say I primarily knew them also just as a whitelist company. But when I got introduced to Tony and Paul, who are the co-founders of Lumanu, they walked me through their pivoting, to your point of it being a narrow focus. They really also saw the writing on the wall that long-term that wasn’t a viable business to, build long term with the constant changes that are happening in the industry and so, they really went back to the tables and surveyed their current partners, the creators they worked with, and everyone kept citing payments as a core issue that they were facing all in their own unique way.
And so Lumanu took a holistic view at what everyone was going through and said, I think we can build a better mouse trap, essentially, if you will that would be better than the PayPal or Stripes, or Tipalti or Bill.com. And then the unique ways that finance teams are trying to jam those into their current processes. When they’re trying to pay out lots of creators all at once. Lumanu said, I think we can build a better process and a better way to help, everyone involved get money to where it needs to go. That’s been the pivot. They’ve been working on that now for about the last 18 months.
[00:09:14] Jason: So, just so people can follow along with an example, when I was at Cornet in the agency world, and we would, use multiple influencers for a given campaign. The conflict here, and correct me if I’m wrong, Noah, this is the conflict I think you’re at least solving for agencies and brands.
Let’s say you’ve got 25 creators, you wanna pay. The CFO and the accounting team, they want an invoice and they want, W2, and they want all this paperwork before creator can even be paid. And they don’t necessarily want to pay via Venmo or PayPal or some of the other places. They want to send a check, but the creators are like, hey, I’ve already done the work. The payments due, within 15, 30 days, you need to pay me quickly. And this is 2023 what the hell are you doing? Sending me a check 60 days later.
And so there’s that conflict of the content creators are used to being in the real world in 2023, dropped, money PayPal and Venmo, whereas the businesses and brands are still in the sort of, maybe you could say antiquated, but the bureaucratic way running a business where you’ve got accounts payable, accounts receivable, all that kind of stuff. Is that generally the problems you’re solving for businesses and brands and creators trying to figure out where those two or three parties need to come together to make things work?
[00:10:36] Noah: Yeah, absolutely. I think that was a great example articulation to say it back in a different way, cuz that’s been what I’ve been practicing and thinking out a lot as I’ve been in my first few months here is everyone thinks through the lens of time saving, cost saving, and can I do something faster?
So to put what Lumanu does through that lens on the time saving end to your first point. There’s a huge communication pain point between a marketing team and a finance team. When a marketer wants to mark that a creator did their work and simply just get that done and off their plate and just finish up the campaign when finance makes them jump through hoops, oops, this creator didn’t get all their forms in.
We don’t want their payment system is, or their information’s wrong. What have you? Can you track that done? Huge communication pain points there. So Lumanu solves all that by being the one that handles the collection of all that, the paperwork, etcetera. There’s also easier automation on that point where a marketer needs to say to a finance person, hey, this is done. Usually that’s done in a spreadsheet than sent via email. It has to be uploaded then into a payment system. All that can be automated with Lumani as well. So lots of time saving there.
Also then, Lumanu can handle tax compliance. So just like PayPal will issue a 1099 when go over $600 now on your limit, Lumanu will take care of all that too. So, huge time savings on a finance team’s end on that front. And then, just like I said, collecting all that info. So then on the cost savings piece of it too, because of the time saving, less overhead costs needed, you have a better payout per cost payout, Lumanu is really competitive on that rate with what else is out there, so you’re saving money on the actual transaction and then there’s really cool partnership opportunities that Lumanu explores with their partners that allows for all sorts of rev sharing applicable. So really cool ways that Lumanu is trying to just to shake things up from the status quo the options that are currently out there.
[00:12:30] Jason: And again, just to add on to make sure that people understand the conflict here. Payments to freelancers and creative talent may be influencers. I could see where if you’re using an influence marketing platform, paying creators there, then you’re also bringing freelancers through maybe Airtable or some other management solution.
Then you’re having people send invoices to accounting for direct deposits. Somebody else is asking for PayPal. That’s just a crazy, complicated thing, so can definitely see why an agency out there or even a brand would say, yeah, I need that. For unified payment system to work though, don’t you have to get everybody on one page? It seems like that is just a herding cat’s problem.
[00:13:07] Noah: That’s the piece that when I said it, think of it like PayPal. I would say, that’s the easiest way when you, like everyone pretty much has a PayPal account and once you’re on there, you can receive payments from anyone everywhere. So yes, you have to initially onboard someone or someone has to onboard themselves onto Lumanu on both sides, both the brand side and the creators side.
But once you’re on, the more people that use Lumanu. Once you’re in the system your information’s uploaded. You never have to do that again if you’re using Lumanu to facilitate that transaction. So, if they can gain traction again, they’ve made this pivot recently. They’re building a lot of great momentum in the space, and a lot of people are really seeing the value of what they’re offering. It’s slowly building momentum, and that’s the long term goal. So that’s what I’m here to do is try and help make that happen.
[00:13:52] Jason: Very nice. We’re talking to Noah Eisemann from Lumanu. When we come back after the break, he and I are gonna roll up our sleeves a bit and talk about what’s not firing on all cylinders in the influence marketing space. And perhaps we can do things to make all the influencer marketing campaigns better for everybody out there. So don’t go away.
Back on Winfluence with Noah Eisemann from Lumanu. Okay, Noah, let’s get down to brass tack on what’s wrong with the influencer marketing space right now. When I began building out what was to become a consulting firm. The gap I was trying to fill was, I felt like influencer marketing had become predictable, stale, sponsored content plays left and right.
Most programs were pay for post. There was really little authenticity at play. Very few creators were taking the content to a level I’d call creative, as a result doubt the effectiveness of influencer marketing overall. My take on it was we needed better strategy and more importantly, better creative concepts to fuel good campaigns and partnerships. Is that what you’ve been feeling about the influence world last year or two?
[00:15:06] Noah: Yes. I don’t know if I would say something that’s wrong though out there. I would say like larger idea is that, people have overcomplicated influencer marketing, but it is complicated. So it deserves the over complication but at the same time, when I say it’s overcomplicated, and before I joined Lumanu, I, for the past year plus was running my own consultancy and so said this all the time to my own clients, when you’re doing influencer marketing, you’re really only ever doing one of four things. You’re generating content, you’re generating awareness. You might also be able to generate sales or an app call to action, and then inevitably you’re building community and you can do all those things simultaneously, but what I’ve generally found is that people conflate what strategies they’re trying to do at once. So someone says, they want to do sales, but really they end up doing an awareness campaign.
And so I think that is the crux of it where I’ve seen that play out over and over again, both with the clients I’ve consulted when I was at Tager, watching people use the platform to try and get to their end results, right? So that’s the complicated part is once you can have that clarity, can you still even execute it correctly.
But most of the time I see people even just misalign on their initial objectives coming out of the gate and that can I think impact everything you just said.
[00:16:22] Jason: In respect to the creativity piece of it, and the strategy piece of it, which are part of the conversation, I blame the agencies. The managed services and to a degree thethat the SAS solutions for a lot of the problem. They all want these projects to be scalable and programmatic. They want them to be as turn key as possible, and that takes the creativity out of it. If all your campaign briefs dictate the content has to be uniform and check all these boxes, there’s less room for someone to say, hey, let’s blow this up with a cool idea.
Now, I know you think there’s a gap between the software providers and what they can enable via a feature set and the fact that most marketers, brand or agency side don’t know how to use the feature set that may provide that true potential, right? Explain that gap that you see in software to agency and brand side for us.
[00:17:10] Noah: Well, on the software end, I think everyone’s going ahead and creating amazing features and tools, and I think there’s been over the last couple years, really awesome segmentation and platforms trying to help S&B brands, more than enterprise and certain platforms going more enterprise focused.
It still comes down to the marketer though, who is inevitably given that tool and how do they learn it? How do they know how to apply it? What do they know they’re capable of achieving in it? And again how are they defining their objectives initially anyway. I think those are all the things and it now it sounds like I’m beating a dead horse but I really think that’s the simplest way to keep like stripping it down.
And I think when you bring it even to the agency level, especially on the idea of wanting influencer marketing just to be programmatic. I do think that is also the future state of what influencer can be. That’s what got me really interested all the way back in that aha moment when I was back in the agency world of the creators with technology could ultimately solve programmatically what media buying has already been able to achieve with creative.
But we’re not there yet, and I think that’s what is the frustrating part for a lot of people is that we’re trying to get there. People are trying to do it in the immediate, but there’s still that technology gap. I think if anything, that’s the real piece that’s missing, but in terms of what’s immediately available, the technology platforms are doing a great job, but we’re starting to see now with what the social platforms that they get their data from are deciding to do and how they share that data. That’s also a real curve ball that’s being thrown to the general market right now.
[00:18:41] Jason: Yeah, I think the changes, in some API calls and what not. I think it was for Instagram not too long ago, kinda crippled grin, one of the larger influencer marketing platforms out there because I guess their API access wasn’t quite at the level it needed to be to avoid that.
And so again, we’re at the bequest and at the folley of these, social networking platforms and what data they allow us to see and what they don’t. So that certainly has something to do all the problems out there.
I love that you say that one big mistake marketers make with SAS solutions is they don’t know what their objectives are before they pick the platform. Like they go out and they find the software and then they figure out how they’re going to approach and what goals they wanna map out for themselves. I’m gonna ask this, it’s gonna sound like I’m stupid, but it’s a trick question. Why is that important aren’t the influencer marketing platforms out there generally the same?
[00:19:35] Noah: Yes and no. I would say, pre-COVID that it was a resounding yes maybe pre covid is the wrong way to say. It’s pre segmentation and platforms choosing strategically to serve certain parts of the market. In the first wave of this, I would call it like 2016 to 2019, everyone was trying to build a better version of the same platform.
And then I think there was a moment where a lot of people said, okay, I’m gonna try and go in certain routes. That was a huge part of when I was working on my consultancy and helping brands and agencies in particular.
That was one of the main messages I was communicating to them was based on what you tell me to that list that I mentioned earlier, the things you can achieve when you’re doing influencer marketing. I’ll recommend to you which platforms you should prioritize or you’re gonna tell me things that might even say you’re not even set up to bring a SAS platform in-house. You don’t even have the manpower or strategy internally to execute with it. You’re better served going and trying to spend that with an agency that might be able to get you there. Here are the best to consider. So, that would be my answer to your question.
[00:20:38] Jason: You’re right. There’s a lot of people out there who think software is the solution. Software is the mechanism. It’s not the solution. The solution is you as a brand deciding what you’re going to use that mechanism for and how you’re going to use it and what goals you’re trying to achieve.
So it’s, I guess I liken it too. You can have the world’s greatest hammer, but if you don’t pick it up yourself and aim it at a nail, it doesn’t do any damn good.
[00:21:04] Noah: Yeah.
[00:21:05] Jason: You’ve gotta figure out what you’re using that hammer for and I think that’s where a lot of people dropped the ball.
[00:21:11] Noah: Yeah to add to that, you threw out grins name, so I’ll throw them a slight praise. In that idea of segmentation, they really led that in saying, we’re gonna go after S&B, we’re gonna make the Shopify integration the core part of that platform, and we’re gonna make it the best for any D2C brand built on Shopify, the best option to funnel your campaign through. They had significant other flaws that other platforms, I think could stake a better claim to having better features around. But they were able to have a tremendous amount of success, building up a huge client base with that positioning. And that kind of goes to your point as well.
[00:21:46] Jason: Yeah. And by the way, that was a trick question. I went to CIPIO because they weren’t the same, they weren’t more of the same for everybody else. The angle there is going after mapping your brand community and going after the influencers that you already know as opposed to going out and finding different ones. So, there’s different things out there, that’s why I ask that question that way, for the listeners to edification.
So how can we educate marketers to better understand that they need to get their goals and objectives aligned. They need to get the strategy together before they worry about the software and we need them to understand the full potential of the software they ultimately choose. And I guess a follow up question to that is, whose responsibility is it to do all this educating?
[00:22:27] Noah: Yeah. It’s a big question, right? Cause I think the hardest part is when whoever it is, whether it’s an intern, a director, a mid-level marketer, a CEO, tasked with going out and figuring out how am I gonna build my influencer marketing offering campaign engine or whatever it is. When they start to Google it, they get inundated with a million companies, all saying they do exactly the same thing with exactly the same language. So you can check that off as like an option. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll request the demos and you’ll spend weeks having 30 minutes to an hour conversations. Really quickly getting run through platforms where by the end of it you’ll be so confused by what you saw. You can’t recall who is who and which features belong to which.
[00:23:09] Jason: Yeah.
[00:23:10] Noah: And so then you’ll go and read the blog post and there’s not a lot of literature out there that really explains it cuz it’s still such a new industries. The answer that I’m trying to get are, what I’m trying to paint is actually, that’s the real difficult part. So, I think it’s finding the few knowledgeable industry leaders that are out there talking about it and just remembering that people are human and that you can reach out to them and they’ll most likely respond cuz that’s their livelihood, they love talking about it anyway, so they’ll be really happy to share their knowledge with you most likely. That would be my recommendation, to anyone who’s listening out there that’s really thinking about what’s the best way to approach it.
[00:23:44] Jason: Well, and I will humbly submit that I will do my part as someone who thinks about this and studies all this stuff all the time that if people wanna reach out to me, great. And I’m assuming, Noah, that you’re gonna do your part too. As you do that and as people want to connect with you, where can they people, find you on the interwebs?
[00:24:01] Noah: You can find me on LinkedIn usually, right? All the time. Probably. But you can find Lumanu at Lumanu.com, spelled how it sounds, L U M A N U. And yeah, that’s where we’re at.
[00:24:14] Jason: That’s awesome. Noah, thank you so much for being here, man. I love going back and forth with you. Great. Having you on the show.
[00:24:18] Noah: Oh, I appreciate your time as always.
[00:24:30] Outro: I always like talking to Noah, super smart guy, and a like-minded thinker about all this. Be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn and check out Lumanu as well, especially if you’re looking for help with those payment tasks and technologies. They are at Lumanu.com. Those links will be in our show notes. This episode will be filed under JasonFalls.co/noaheisemann, and that’s my format for these things. And Noah’s last name, by the way, E I S E M A N N. So JasonFalls.co/noaheisemann, or you can always go to JasonFalls.com click on the articles up there in the navigation thing, and find the episode on that page.
Also, don’t forget to completely change the way you produce social media content for the better. Get the community generative, AI app from CIPIO.AI, two week free trial. No credit card required that awaits you at JasonFalls/cgi.
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Thanks for listening, folks. We’ll talk again soon on influence.