LinkedIn is Removing Lookalike Audiences: What Marketers Need to Know

Starting February 29, 2024, you will no longer be able to create new lookalike audiences or refresh and edit current lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences were designed to help expand audience reach by targeting individuals with similar characteristics to the base audience. Active lookalike audiences will continue to deliver as they appear until the end of February. After 30 days, if a lookalike audience is not active in a campaign, it will be archived.  

LinkedIn has launched predictive audiences, a new tool designed to enhance your campaign’s effectiveness by offering:

  • The ability to reach perfect-fit prospects by matching them with your existing customer base’s characteristics
  • AI-powered precision to identify high-intent buyers most likely to convert.
  • An effortless setup by simply combining your data with LinkedIn’s algorithm to automatically generate a custom audience tailored to your needs.
  • Lead generation gold: campaigns see a significant 21% reduction in cost-per-lead.

So what is the difference between the two? Lookalike audiences rely on historical data to mirror past behaviors of customers, assuming these behaviors will persist. In contrast, predictive audiences use AI to forecast future actions based on recent interactions, like website activity and email engagement, allowing for more tailored and anticipatory campaign personalization. This forward-looking approach enhances the experience by accurately predicting customer interests and potential actions. 

Practical Use

Predictive audiences can be created within the audience tab, found in the same location as lookalike audiences. After you name your audience you’ll be able to choose the source. All predictive audience sources require a minimum number of 300 members. Lastly, you’ll choose the location and size of the audience.

Options for expanding LinkedIn audiences in the future:

  • Predictive Audiences – expand your campaign’s reach by creating an audience that mirrors the traits of your existing data source who are more likely to convert.
    • Create a more targeted audience with minimal data sources, focusing exclusively on LinkedIn-specific inputs such as lead gen forms, contact lists, or conversions through the Insight Tag.
  • Audience Expansion: Target groups that share key characteristics with your primary audience, broadening your reach while maintaining relevance.
    • Attributes specifically excluded from your target audience will not be included in audience expansion.
    • When creating the campaign’s targeting, the audience count will not include members from audience expansion.
    • Audience expansion is not available when predictive audiences are selected.
  • LinkedIn Audience Network – deliver ads beyond the LinkedIn feed to members on third-party apps and sites.
    • The same targeting parameters, bid type, and budget created for your campaign applies.
    • This is only available for the following ad formats: single image, carousel, document, and video ads.

MarketingProfs – ‘Subtractive Innovation’: Four Steps for More Efficient and Effective Marketing

Explore the power of ‘less is more’ in marketing with our latest post on MarketingProfs, where Allie Haupt, Innovation Lead, delves into the concept of subtractive innovation. Learn how rethinking strategies, like Dyson’s bagless vacuum breakthrough, can lead to streamlined processes, enhanced efficiency, and better outcomes. She covers four key steps to adopt a subtractive mindset, encouraging marketers to pause, evaluate, and focus on what’s essential for success. Read now to transform your approach and discover the benefits of simplifying to amplify results.

Using Integrated Media to Position Financial Services Company As Industry Thought Leader

Brief

Coegi’s financial services client wanted to use content marketing to establish themselves as a marketplace leader by growing brand presence alongside a competitive landscape and providing value to financial professionals and consumers through retirement planning content that educates, supports, and inspires action. 

To accomplish this, Coegi and the financial services firm strategized to establish a B2B2C content strategy focused on reaching both financial professionals and retirement-aged consumers through partnerships with well-known publications.

Highlights

17.8
Million Impressions


188,000
Clicks


110,000
Total Engagements

Challenge

The brand leverages a B2B2C model. While the majority of their objectives focus on targeting financial audiences, it is also important to increase brand awareness with consumers to aid in the sale of their products.

Their primary national advertising objectives are twofold:

  1. Brand Awareness – Increasing awareness of the corporate brand across consumer, financial professional, and prospective retail audiences. 
    • Extending their brand promise and messaging into the B2B space
  2. Thought Leadership – Establishing brand recognition and trust among financial professionals and consumers 

The brand had an opportunity to increase brand awareness with consumers. The data showed that unless they were already customers, consumers were less familiar with the brand. The consumers that did know the financial services firm believed their key differentiators were their ability to grow their investment and provide competitive fees. But there were bigger issues at hand:

  1. Consumers were still learning about annuities in general and, therefore, were difficult to convert into purchasers
  2. Financial professionals were not frequently recommending annuities, including the client’s

Solution

Partnering with the brand, we focused on the following key areas to help gain market share:

  • Helping change financial professionals’ perspectives about the value of annuities 
  • Positioning the brand as a trusted leader in the annuity space
  • Explaining how the brand’s solutions can provide value within a sound financial plan and, in turn, how it will help the financial professional grow their business

Based on the brand’s content calendar, the teams assembled a smart strategy to show Coegi would use content marketing partnerships and advertising to help raise their market share by slightly over 1%:

  1. In a traditional advertising driven industry, we would lean harder into digital channels to keep up with innovation, connect with users, and build a data-driven strategy that would differentiate them from competitors.
  2. We would focus these dollars to more cost efficient and effective channels that align to a digitally-minded consumer.
  3. We would work alongside established publishers to continue to build its digital presence and opportunity via a content strategy that would solidify their position as an industry thought leader.

Choosing digital content partnerships required an exercise of evaluating: audience, content quality, distribution, reach and value. This analysis pointed to these front runners: Kiplinger, Investment News, Bloomberg and Barron’s. The goal was to maximize reach with large publications (Barron’s & Bloomberg) while maximizing engagement with niche publications (Investment News & Kiplinger), authentically aligning the publisher’s editorial content with the brand’s subject matter experts. 

Results

Across four publishers and twelve pieces of content, the campaign generated a total of 17.8 million impressions, 188,000 clicks, and 110,000 total engagements from October – December 2022. Niche publications like Investment News and Kiplinger had the highest engagement rates, both publications reaching an average time on page of over 4:00, while larger publications like Bloomberg and Barron’s garnered the largest reach, with 10M and 15.4M unique views respectively. Consumers resonated with a more indirect approach to annuities by tying content to timely, relevant topics such as women and the recession, while financial professionals resonated with a more direct approach. Coegi extended content reach across platforms by layering programmatic and social campaigns, accounting for 28% of overall impressions.

The Kiplinger content piece “How to Get Retirement Income You Can Count on for Life” had the highest page views (24,516) and longest average time on page (4:39), indicating the importance of applying statistical research in a relevant, easy-to-digest format. Investment News podcasts garnered an average of over 1,000 downloads, on par with their engagement benchmark for Retirement Repair Shop, and “Demographics & the Coming Retirement Crisis” had the most downloads with a final count of 2,184, exceeding the benchmark by 118%. 

Bloomberg exceeded their contracted content impressions by 26%, and shorter, snackable content performed better on publications with high reach and numerous sponsored placements. The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s content “Psychology of Retirement Planning” program delivered 43,000 page views, exceeding the page view goal by almost 40%, while “Retirement Uncertainty” resonated with financial professionals and high net worth individuals, resulting in strong engagement as users spent 40% more time than average.

Key Takeaways

Through data-driven media and targeting recommendations, relevant content partnerships, and innovative thinking, this campaign was able to reach the target audiences in authentic environments by providing educational and informative content. This success was driven in part by tailoring content to different audiences and platforms, and applying statistical research in a relevant, easy-to-digest format. As the partnership between Coegi and the financial services brand continues, we will no doubt continue to see impressive results and strive to keep finding innovative solutions to enhance the traditional financial services advertising model.

The Drum – 4 Questions to Help Build Your 2024 Marketing Budget

Elise Stieferman from Coegi presents four principles to guide marketers in determining their 2024 marketing budget. Addressing the perennial question of how much revenue to reinvest in marketing, she acknowledges the complexities of planning a new year’s strategy amid heightened goals, market pressures, and competition, and emphasizes the importance of aligning with CEOs and CFOs on budget allocations for achieving these objectives.

MediaPost – 5 Ways To Evaluate Brand Partnerships

Unlock the secrets to successful brand partnerships by harnessing the power of audience research, developing content that is relevant, and strategic execution for impactful marketing. This essential guide offers marketers a comprehensive roadmap to create meaningful, long-lasting customer relationships. Don’t miss out on these expert strategies to elevate your brand – click to read the full article now!

The Power of Independent Agencies with John Harris of Worldwide Partners

This Q&A is an adaption of a conversation between Coegi’s SVP of Marketing Innovation, Ryan Green, and John Harris, President of WPI, where they offer invaluable perspectives on the changing landscape of CMO roles, the evolving needs of brands, and the advantages independent agencies have in meeting a brand’s marketing needs. 

The following is an edited transcript of The Loop Marketing Podcast. Click here to listen to the full episode on one of your favorite streaming platform.

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

Ryan Green: Hello everybody. Welcome back to The Loop Marketing Podcast. I’m Ryan Green, the Senior Vice President of Marketing Innovation at Coegi, and I’m honored to be joined by John Harris. He’s the president of Worldwide Partners. 

As a little bit of a background, Coegi just joined Worldwide Partners this year. Worldwide Partners is a group of independent agencies, about 80 agencies worldwide that cover the full gambit of marketing services, from creative to production to branding to media and data services. John has done a spectacular job of bringing together some of the brightest minds, a worldwide of agencies and innovative groups, that are really contributing to some breakthrough marketing and advertising campaigns. It’s an honor to join your network and it’s an honor to have you today John. So thanks for joining us.

John Harris: Ryan, Thank you and we couldn’t be happier to have Coegi joining the network. You’ve been a fabulous edition and really contributing at a very high level. So, officially welcome and looking forward to our conversation.

Ryan: Yeah, and it’s a pertinent one as so much is changing in marketing even before the pandemic but certainly afterwards. The value of truly collaborative partners to brands I think, the lens of that has changed – at least the 10 years that I’ve been at Coegi, but certainly recently too. Independents have an interesting strategic advantage in a lot of situations to be able to really integrate with the business goals of the brands that we’re representing and to bring forth the right tools and the right people to cut through a lot of the red tape, to be more quick and nimble. 

I’d love to hear more about the genesis of your involvement with Worldwide Partners. What ultimately led you to found the network? What’s your background?

John: Sure, well, I’ll start way back when, but I’ll be brief because I’m not sure everybody wants to hear my whole history. I first started in marketing working for a radio station in Houston, Texas as the station mascot. So if you think those big old wooden radios that were rounded at the top. The mascot was called the Runaway Radio, it was a red one with a lightning bolt on the top and a slit over my head and had white tights and big red shoes, and had no peripheral vision in this costume.

Ryan: I’m disappointed that you did not wear that today for the podcast.

John: Yeah, well, I thought about it, but my job was to go to station events and interact and dance with the listeners. We would do a broadcast on a Saturday morning at a McDonald’s. We were promoting McDonald’s breakfast and meals.  At the time local radio station jocks were celebrities so people wanted to see them. We’d have 500 people show up while we were doing a live broadcast and at lunchtime we would go to a car dealership and broadcast from there, and another 500 people would show up, and 300 of them were at breakfast with us. Then that evening we would do something in a nightclub and broadcast, and another 600 people showed up, and 300 of them were at the car dealership. So I was just fascinated by a brand’s ability to literally move people from place-to-place and I think that’s where I first got my bug for this very early on.

I first got into the agency business working for Wunderman at a holding company, managing sports marketing for Miller Brewing Company. From there, I moved to Colorado to work at an independent agency that was actually a reverse trend of what we’re seeing now, which was Coors taking their in-house marketing team and then outsourcing it. So a new agency was set up and they recruited those of us from around the country that had beer experience. When I came there, I was fortunate enough to work on Coors, Procter & Gamble and McDonald’s. After that I went client side at a fast casual restaurant chain called Smashburger. Then, I went to the performance marketing space and back to the client side as a CMO. 

Finally, I was on LinkedIn and saw an ad that said Global Advertising Network in Denver, which is where I live. Those words do not end up in the same sentence very often. I explored this and saw that there was an independent agency network out there. I wasn’t familiar with the independent agency network model, and I saw an opportunity to take some of the background that I had at the agency side and at the client side. In both of those, it was really building out service platforms. As a client, I was selecting my performance media agency, I was building a creative team, I was finding the right experiential partner and bringing them together to collaborate, as you talked about earlier. Then, on the agency side, I was building cross-functional, cross-office teams to service clients. So the opportunity to do it at the global level and do it with independent agencies was just a fascinating opportunity for me. So, now you and I are here seven and a half years later having a conversation.

Ryan: That’s a great background and I love always working with people that have an unorthodox background. 

Let’s dive in a little bit about independents, right? I think that’s the one thing that brings us together. When you hear talk about the value of independent [agencies] and the partnerships we bring, maybe to somebody who for the first time that they’re considering picking an agency at all, or getting out of the holding company and into a realm of new possibilities, how do you talk about the value that independents bring versus either in-house teams or holding company agencies?

John: Yeah, I think, what’s been an incredible trend of clients moving more and more towards independent agencies. I think we had this moment, I don’t know, seven or eight years ago, where you were seeing more independent agencies being invited to pitches that may have typically been the territory of the large holding companies. I think that moment turned into a movement because clients are recognizing that independent agencies can bring a level of agility and speed. 

You mentioned the collaborative spirit early on and it’s really an entrepreneurial spirit, right? If you look at a holding company model, these are publicly traded companies. They have an obligation at the end of the day, no matter what, to deliver a positive return for their shareholders. In the independent agency world, you have the freedom to do what’s right for the clients. Sometimes that is investing more in a client’s business. And, when we do that as an agency, that’s not the client’s problem – that’s our problem. It’s our decision to make because we’ve had the ability to do it, but it really changes it from a shareholder mindset to a stakeholder mindset. I think independent agencies always put senior level talent on the business because, let’s face it, clients don’t need just arms and legs, they need heads. You’re a senior representative on the Coegi team and I’m sure you are working with your clients each and every day. So, having the business leadership, the business mindset, and ensuring you’re having the most senior level people working on your business each and every day, is a significant value that independent agencies bring to the table. 

Also with freedom comes the freedom to challenge. Clients will come to us and they’ll say, look, here’s what we want you to do. Independent agencies are always going to say here’s really what we think you should do and challenge, not in an argumentative way, but in a collaborative way without the fear of saying, “oh my God, if we lose this account, then we’re not going to get our bonuses.” You just have people who bring it every day and come with a business mindset, and they’re going to get it done no matter what it takes. I think that’s a very, very unique value proposition that independent agencies have alone. 

Clients aren’t going to hire us just because we’re independent. At the end of the day, we have to bring those behaviors and demonstrate that we can actually move their business forward. That is ultimately what clients are looking for.

Ryan: Yeah, I’ll definitely steal the stakeholders vs. shareholders verbiage. That’s really significant too because a lot of times it is the owners that are still involved with creating the strategy and pushing our clients forward too. A lot of times I think that’s probably pretty obvious with branding creative shops. The work almost speaks for itself, but that’s also true with media.

As an independent media agency that has seen the proliferation of programmatic and automated media buying, I can tell you that that’s not true. In fact, the push for shareholders as the primary focus has hidden a lot of fees and a lot of baggage underneath the surface at holding companies that don’t really exist with independents from the media side. Is that something that you’ve seen? Or am I just painting a rosy picture of why independent media agencies actually do have a strategic advantage by bringing the client’s business first, by bringing senior people who aren’t doing the bait and switch from pitch to execution? 

John: Absolutely. Well let’s tackle it from a couple of fronts. I think on the media front, there is a perception that bigger is better. That this antiquated idea of buying power is what’s driving, what is an extremely democratized digital media environment now. I mean, the programmatic tools that either agencies have, in some cases, have built, or have access to, have 100% leveled the playing field. So this is no longer a story of “what is your media spend?” So I think technology, the platforms, have democratized it. 

I also think that when you look at the upfront side, even on the digital side of it, holding company agencies are buying this inventory. If you’re not their top client, you’re not going to get the best inventory. So that doesn’t happen in the independent space, right? We go at this and put the value of the relationship with the media publishers over the spend. We have agencies that have all of the same level of access to alphas and betas from these major publishers that the holding companies have and we’re not coming in with a pre-packaged solution. You guys are bringing this at a very, very customized level based on what the client needs, not based on what a holding company agency might have to sell. So you’re absolutely right. It’s no longer the case. 

Then the bait and switch that you referenced, we were in a pitch yesterday. A global pitch with a major brand that I can’t share right now. We told them, this isn’t the pitch team. This is your team and it was myself and the senior level executives, and these are the people that are working on the business. So, yes, that’s what you’re going to get from an independent agency. So it’s a big advantage.

Ryan: When you look within independents, what are the things that you look for, especially as you’re attracting and evaluating independent agencies joining your network? What are the things that you’re looking for that differentiate good and great?

John: Let’s start with the customer, the CMO, and why our value proposition as a network is relevant to the CMO and then how that cascades down to the agencies that join us and what separates good from great. 

Change is a constant for CMOs. They are consistently having to innovate, to push the business forward. Resources are limited; we could all use more resources. They articulated that there were some internal gaps in skills that they had with their team that they needed to support with outside partners. There was almost, maybe a level of anxiety around having to constantly prove marketing value. That this is not an expense, but rather, it’s creating value for the organization overall. That’s a matter of driving growth, so this is not an easy job as a CMO. 

There’s a high degree of pressure that comes with it. You are trying to do two things: you are trying to minimize risk and you’re trying to maximize impact. So when you talk to the most progressive CMOs, what they’re doing is, they’re building out these marketing ecosystems. It’s around subject matter expertise. 

So when they are trying to identify the right agency partners that may manifest itself in an RFP, what they’re really doing when they issue an RFP is they’re issuing an RFE, which is a request for expertise. Sometimes that expertise is by market, it’s by industry vertical, it’s by audience, it’s by channel, it’s by capability. At the end of the day, by surrounding themselves with experts, just going back to the CMOs goal, they want minimized risk and maximized impact. That’s how we’ve engineered the network, and this solution can meet the very precise needs and business challenges of today’s marketers and through one of the largest and most fastest growing independent networks in the world. 

What makes this proposition unique is that the agencies [in Worldwide Partners] are 100% committed to collaboration within each other. We’ve talked about the holding companies, we talked about the fact that they’re publicly traded and that they’re using acquisition to create scale and diversification to offer clients and deliver value to shareholders. In our model, we’re actually set up as a reverse holding company. I didn’t “found” the network, right? I don’t “own” the network. The network was founded 85 years ago which is crazy to think about, and the agencies actually own the network. 

My accountabilities are to a board of directors of agency leaders around the globe and we work together to set the goals and the strategies. What happens here is, rather than the network dictating the terms to the agencies, the agencies are actually dictating the terms to the networks. So what that means for clients is, you’re going to get some of the top independent agencies in the world. We have experts in 90 different industry verticals, we have everything from performance and digital media agencies to creative agencies to experiential agencies to PR agencies. 

So let’s go back to what CMOs want. They are saying, I need this in this market with this capability. For example, I don’t just need a pharma agency, but I need a pharma agency in New Jersey that has child oncology experience and a UX capability, and med ed tech capabilities. What we’re able to do is when a remit comes in is say, yes, we have that. Yes, that may sound like a holding company, but what’s fundamentally different is we have not acquired all of these agencies and said, you guys come together, push clients between each other’s offices, cross sell services and make our shareholders all this money. These agencies are working together because they’ve chosen to work together, not because they have to work together. That element of opting in is the only incentive that they need to work together, because every agency has made a personal commitment that I want to be a part of this. We’re going to give you everything you need and nothing that you don’t, right? We’re not here to oversell. 

So, that’s kind of how we’ve shaped the network proposition. 84 agencies in 46 countries, 40 of them are full service, 12 media, 6 creative, and 26 specialist agencies.

Ryan: The brilliance of it is thinking and really tapping into what the CMO needs. You talked about how they’re trying to build an ecosystem, and you’ve built an ecosystem essentially that can cover all of those CMOs needs and be able to pick the three needs that they have to fit their ecosystem. Everything becomes customized to what their brand, their business needs. 

That being said, I think even the title Chief Marketing Officer, is under siege a little bit. There’s Chief Growth officers, Chief Revenue Officers that you’re seeing more. I’ve been to a couple of the ANA conferences that have Chief Media Officers that are separate from the Chief Marketing Officer. There’s always the friction between finance and the CFOs wanting to have an ROI calculation for every single breath that the CMO takes. So being able to sit and understand where they’re coming from, where their challenges are, and what their customer’s challenges are too, goes another layer deeper. We’re able to do that and I’m so thankful to be part of Worldwide Partners because I’m smarter now as a marketer. Because of the collective experience that I’ve gotten from working with such a great ecosystem of agencies that you’ve built.

John: If I might build on something that you said when you were talking about the evolution of the title of CMO. Chief Growth Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Product Officer, Chief Commercial Officer, it all comes back to what I talked about earlier of the requirement of demonstrating value. I don’t want to make this about myself, but I think it’s important for us to all understand this context. When I became a CMO, I was thrilled. I was invigorated because having been on the agency side for 15 years, where you are consistently trying to uncover the right insight and bring forth strategies, now I was gonna be on the other side of the table. I was going to get to make the call, right? It was on me. So I went into the role thinking that now I’m going to be able to work on the brand of the business and make the decision. 

But the reality of it is, 95% of that CMOs job or Chief Growth Officers job, or whatever you want to call it, has absolutely nothing to do with media and with making decisions on creative campaigns. It is a marketing operations role. It is managing through a matrix organization. It is looking and understanding the impact of adding a different label to one sweater and the cost implications of that on EBITDA. It is doing menu board optimization and understanding what’s more profitable. Do we do a free drink with a burger or a free fried egg with a burger? You are forecasting out the operational component of the marketing implications. 

So when you think about it, if agencies are not focusing on the 95% of what the CMOs job is, you are nothing but a commoditized resource. If you’re only focused on delivering the 5% of their role, then you are replaceable. Not to get ahead of, one of our questions I know we’re going to explore is, what makes a good independent agency a great independent agency. The great independent agencies are saying, I need to be up here in this 95% helping and adding value to my client’s job there. Not just in the, just purely in the media and the creative side of it.

Ryan: Then leading into the question that you know was coming, do great agencies then have a really intimate understanding of the customer, of our clients, and are empowering the brands that we’re working with to have even more astute understanding of those customers to empower the CMO, to bridge those conversations between the spreadsheet and the customer?

John: Without question. I think that with the great independent agencies, quite honestly there’s no shortage of data. But, what the CMO and the CEO don’t need is another dashboard. They don’t need a weather report. They need someone who’s going to extract the meaningful data from the dashboards and say, this is happening, and why do I care? What are the implications of this for my business? What are we going to do differently because of the data? I think that’s where agencies have an opportunity to really, really support clients. The ability to interpret the data into something that’s meaningful and actually contextualize the data. Great agencies are doing that for their clients and really kind of defining your value to the client within that ecosystem by doing so.

Ryan: Makes a lot of sense. So, what are the elements that make the strongest brand agency relationships? Agencies don’t wanna have a two year lifeline either. We wanna be partners for 20 years. What are the elements that make those long lasting, trusting, impactful partnerships? What advice do you have for brands to seek the agencies that are ready to partner for the long haul?

John: Building on the previous discussion about what makes great agencies, I think great agencies understand where they can add the most value. They’re not trying to be everything to everyone. Agencies hate it when I talk about specialization because it feels like it’s this limiting thing. But I actually think specialization can be an advantage in that it allows you to scale. In other words, if you’re the best at x, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, clients are going to find you because they’re looking for a level of expertise. If you are an expert in delivering that value for clients, you should be able to charge a premium and clients will be willing to pay it because you understand where you can add the most value. 

You talked about trust and that’s an outcome, right? We always say we want to be partners, we don’t want to be vendors. But there’s something that we have to deliver to earn that right. I used to tell my team, when I was running an account group, that our job is to get our clients promoted. Just sit with that for a moment. If your KPI at Coegi was I’m going to get my clients promoted, what does that look like? It looks like, okay, why do they get promoted? They’ve had a high degree of performance in the business. They’re driving growth, they’re innovating, they’ve managed change. If you’re in the mindset of we’ve got to deliver a 10 to 1 ROS, or if you’re in the mindset of, I’ve got to get this person to the next level, you’re going to do everything you can as an agency to understand their world. Let me have a real clear understanding of what your path to performance and growth is and what are the KPIs that you have as an individual and how do I help you hit those? 

We’ve got to push the clients. Clients have to let us in and not be protective of the data and the drivers they’re having in their world. I think if you put yourself in that mindset in service of the client to get them to the next level, you are going to succeed and they’re going to succeed. We’ve been working with 3M for 15 years. We’ve been working with Las Vegas tourism for 40 years. We’ve been working with ActiVision for 17 years. These are unheard of relationships and it goes back to where we started, about the value of independent agencies, how they put the best people on the accounts, and how they’re committed 100% to putting stakeholder, which is the client, above everything else. Trust is an outcome of a behavior set. My belief is if you said that’s my KPI, I’m going to get my client promoted, you’re going to have a very long standing relationship.

Ryan: That’s a great KPI for account people in particular. How can I get you promoted is a more succinct way of getting to that. Are there any other thoughts that you’ve had to wrap up the conversation? Anything else that you’d like to say before I let you go?

John: I would just say the idea of understanding who you are as an agency, I think it’s absolutely critical. I think it gives you the ability to make decisions about every aspect of your business. We are very good at helping clients connect with their highest value customers. That’s exactly how Coegi positions itself. It guides every decision you make. It guides the type of investments you make in your organization. It guides the type of people that you hire. It guides the type of clients that you know you can be right for. That notion of freedom, you’re seeing independent agencies make smarter decisions about the partnerships with clients. They know when they’re right for a client and they’re open with the client if they feel like maybe we’re not the right solution for you and that’s okay because they have the freedom to not have to chase everything. When you know the pieces of business that you have the right to win when you’re going into the new business opportunities, because let’s face it, pitching is a lot of work and it’s a lot of time not just on the agency side, but on the client side of the business. The data has just come out that pitches are costing clients up to a million dollars in time. Independent agencies are saying no to the wrong opportunities, saying yes to the right opportunities, and I think the more that that happens, you’re going to see the partnership between clients and agencies just flourish. I’d leave a collective group of clients and agencies that are on this call to say let’s lean into the partnership opportunity, not treat each other as vendors, and really kind of work together to elevate everybody’s business. I think our industry’s going to be in a greater place moving forward.

Ryan: I love it John. Thank you so much for joining us and looking forward to everything that’s to come from our partnership. Thanks again.

John: Yep Ryan, a pleasure. Thank you.

The Drum – Unraveling the Multidimensional Consumer Tapestry

The pursuit of inclusive marketing is a shared goal, but the path to achieving it remains elusive. In this article on The Drum, Coegi’s Stephanie Dwyer outlines four actionable steps to foster inclusivity within the intricate customer journey of today.

Driving Patient Lead Generation for a Pharmaceutical Brand 

Brief

Coegi worked with a pharmaceutical company that supports people living with primary immunodeficiency (PI) and their care partners. They work to empower individuals with resources, treatment and education to manage their conditions. They partnered with Coegi to develop a patient-first lead generation strategy to enroll more individuals in their support programs.

Highlights

415%
Lift in Sign-Ups


3639%
Lift in Form Fills


453
Registration Submissions

Challenge

We faced the challenge of reaching and generating leads from a very niche healthcare audience. The brand did not yet have first-party data, so we partnered with Pulsepoint to leverage their healthcare targeting capabilities as well as compliant third-party audience segments and lookalike models. 

Solution

To engage this audience and provide resources for managing PI, our media drove towards key landing pages where users were encouraged to take action via guide downloads, assessment completions, and patient support program registrations. 

With a budget of around $1.4M for a 12 month campaign flight, we activated a cohesive media campaign spanning across paid search, paid social on Facebook and Instagram, and native and display programmatic ads. 

We outlined three primary goals:

  1. Engage audiences through thought leadership content. 
  2. Drive enrollment traffic through website sign-up forms. 
  3. Educate patients and providers by increasing landing page traffic to informational guides, assessment completions, and registration form fills.

To drive these actions, we amplified content centered around the realities of living with PI, patient empowerment, and other educational support provided by the brand. Through strategic retargeting and sequential messaging, we were able to develop a lead generation funnel 

This campaign was highly successful in generating a pool of first-party patient audiences including 502 patient program sign ups, 444 completed assessments, and 453 registration button submissions. For all key website actions, this campaign drove between a 225% to 3,539% lift in quarter over quarter results.

Inside the World of Influencer Marketing with Tagger Media’s Peter Kennedy

This Q&A is an adaptation of a conversation between Coegi’s SVP of Marketing and Innovation, Ryan Green, and Peter Kennedy, the founder and president of influencer marketing company Tagger Media, which was recently acquired by Sprout Social. You can listen to the full episode of the podcast here

Read on to hear Peter’s insights on the startup journey, and how he was able to adapt and build a successful company by focusing on customer needs. ______________________________________________________________________________________________

Ryan: I’m happy to be joined by the founder and CEO of Tagger Media, Pete Kennedy. Thanks for joining us today. I know we have some big news to talk about but would love to hear a little bit about your background, a quick elevator pitch, and resume of how you got here today.

Pete Kennedy: Thanks for having me here. I’ve been doing stuff for a long time, but I’ve always kind of started companies. That’s always been my thing. So I’ve started companies in the independent travel space back in the.com era, I started a medical device company, I started a water sports recreational business, and then obviously most recently started Tagger Media about eight years ago.

Ryan: So, I don’t wanna bury the lead here. Tagger just got acquired by Sprout Social, so congratulations. I’m sure that was quite the process. I’d love to hear, and I’m sure our audience would love to hear a little bit about what happens during an acquisition – how do you know that the company that’s acquiring you is the right fit? What was that process like?

Pete: I think selling a company is harder than actually starting a company. Crazy enough. When they say that the deal changes a hundred times a day, it really does. We talked to Sprout probably in December of 2022 for the first time. They reached out and said, hey, we’re kind of looking at this space. The real conversation happened [in the late spring of 2023], and they came out and we met with their CEO, their president, head of business development, and what we were looking for is an opportunity to win in this space. 

Sprout has 30,000 customers and they’re all doing influencer marketing, ’cause it’s such a major part of the media mix and it’s obviously such an important part of the social space as well. What we were looking for is not only a company that we could scale with in a major way, but also the right cultural fit. This team is absolutely amazing. A lot of people are coming from Salesforce at that company, which is interesting. So they have this growth mentality and we have like maybe 10 sellers around the world. They have like 600. So it’s just this machine that we can jump into which is great, and that the entire team is so excited about Tagger and the ability to sell influencer to all their customers. 

Ryan: Let’s step back a little bit to when you first were kind of coming up with the concept of Tagger. Most businesses, and you’ve started a number of them in various industries, we’re trying to find a problem to solve, right? So what was the problem that you were really looking at and where did you see your ability and your team’s ability to find a unique solution with Tagger?

Pete: It’s so interesting, that ideation stage. There’s like five stages of a startup, right? There’s ideation, there’s launch, there’s validation, there’s growth, and then there’s maturity or exit. Ideation stage is so much fun and there’s two ways that you can really do this: One is, which is the smart way to do it, identify a need, and then create solutions based on that need. Or you can create an idea that you think is interesting that might pertain to a market and then you build that. We actually did both of those things when we started Tagger. 

We first started with this idea, and the idea was we wanted to disrupt the music industry. The music industry spends billions of dollars every year trying to find new artists and then promoting those artists. They do that by having boots on the ground all over the world. They have music bookers, they have doormen at venues who are seeing artists that they think are interesting, sound producers, all these different people. A lot of times they’re able to find these people very early on, but what we did is we said, well, let’s listen to everyone who matters in the music space, primarily on Twitter at the time. If everyone’s talking about “Ryan”, we could predict that “Ryan”’s gonna go somewhere. Not surprising. The most popular people early on are gonna go somewhere and it really had nothing to do with listening, likes, or views, which that market had been somewhat gamified. 

So we created this platform where we just tracked all these people, but we had to create databases of all these musicians. We had to create databases of all these people who were talking about musicians. When we turned on the platform, we found, like Dua Lipa eight years ago, we found Billie Eilish eight years ago. I mean, we found all these amazing artists and go to the music industry, right? To validate this concept and they all said, what do you idiots know about music? I was like, nothing, but listen, we’re doing what you’re doing, but we’re doing a million times a day and they said, we’re not interested. (Now, fast forward, most of those music companies are clients, not to find artists, but to find influencers.) 

Then I went to New York and I took 40 meetings in like a two week time period. And every time I was just pitching a new thing because we had this really interesting platform where we could understand audiences and their propensity, and we could find artists and all these things, but we didn’t know what we had and how it might apply to someone else’s business. Gary Vaynerchuk over at VaynerMedia, “Gary V”, his team heard what we were up to. We got a meeting and they heard about these crazy people running around New York meeting with everyone. Gary and his team were like, listen, we love your data, we love how you can understand audiences, but you need workflow around influencer marketing. 

I asked the most important question: what is influencer marketing? Because I had absolutely no idea. And he said we have 30 people running campaigns for these big brands around the world and we’re really doing it on Excel spreadsheets. So if you can take our workflow, and by the way, they were hiring like a thousand influencers per campaign. Absolutely crazy and they said, if you can take our workflow and put it into a platform, we’ll be your first customer. 

So I moved to New York for a month, and I lived with them to really understand what they actually needed. Instead of just making a spreadsheet on a platform, we wanted to take that workflow to figure out how we can make it easier. My development team’s in Poland, so I was going back and forth during that month. But by the end of the month, we were able to deliver them a product that worked for them. 

Then it was really interesting. We then brought on a couple more clients. So we could have gone big and just raised money and hired all these people, but we didn’t, we slowly got another client and then another client. We focused on agencies because they had the biggest pain points. Just like I did with Vayner, we would get a new client and then I would go sit with them for weeks and just go in their office and I’d watch the bouncing ball: Like, you discover influencers, but why are you discovering those influencers? Is there a strategy? Who’s the strategy person saying we need to go do that? I’d go meet with that person and then we would have to go pay these people. I’m like, well, who pays these people? They’re like, oh, that’s, accounts payable. I go talk to them. I’m like, well, what are your pain points? So it was interesting, within like a year, I would walk into every agency or any brand, and I would know more about their business because I lived with all these different people to really understand what their needs were. That’s really how we did it. So I was able to identify a need based off of them telling us “this is what we need,” then really just going in and understanding everyone else’s needs so that you can build a unified platform that works for both brands and agencies.

Ryan: So, continuing on that, what are some of the ways that influencer and content marketing has changed and how have those changes evolved the way your platform has changed? You talked about having a modular concept for different workflows with different agencies in house brands, et cetera. But the marketplace has changed quite a bit too externally, so what things have you seen change over the years and how has your company reacted to those changes?

Pete: Yeah, definitely. There are multiple different ways it’s changed. First of all, what you get from influencer marketing has changed dramatically, right? 

Back when I started this, it was very much a PR focus where it’s just like, let’s get these mentions out there. It kind of was replacing newspapers, magazines, and traditional PR because that had kind of died off and was really being replaced by influencer marketing. So it was very much awareness building KPIs. But that shift, that allowed money to flow into this space, is when agencies and brands started to look at this more as a paid media execution versus a PR execution, right? So we would go into agencies, especially PR agencies and train them about paid media. 

Really, Vayner was the one who kind of got me on this. I mean, the Chris Aldi who was running their influencer business, he works for us now, but he started Gary’s paid media business. He’s like, no, this is paid media. This is what it is. So, even if you’re paying someone or you’re giving them a free product, you’re giving them something that costs you money, it’s paid, right? So I think that was a big change. 

Then the platforms made it easier to report on these campaigns and measure an influencer campaign the same way we measure your other media mix. That was massive. For Procter and Gamble to put $200 million into this business, they need to be able to measure this the same way we measure their other media mix and that was vital. 

Then a big shift that we’ve seen, especially over the last two years, is we’re not selling our platform to the influencer marketing team. We are now selling to the strategy team, the analytics team, the growth team, the new business teams at agencies, the technology team. All these different teams are using our platform really to get a holistic view of what’s happening socially, right? Social listening is important. Sprout has this amazing social listening platform and they’re listening to everyone in the world. What we do is we fine tune that down to the people who actually matter in terms of moving culture and those are influencers or creators. So having that view is helpful when you create that strategy. 

Then I think the last thing that’s changed dramatically is just, AI and, well, I’m sure we’ll talk about this, but AI has just allowed us to really get a better understanding of what’s happening, being able to ingest billions of bits of data, consolidate that down to really specific things so you can be like, okay, yeah, It’s raining, but how do I make it rain harder? Or how do I make it stop raining? You need a platform like ours to do that.

Ryan: When we think about who, what, when, where, why and we’re talking about AI, I think AI has a lot of potential in the first four, and it’s that fifth one that seems to still be the human element of it. I think that’s almost true in your platform to some degree as well. I know you have why definitely covered there but that’s where the humans are spending most attention. Thinking about the, why the marketers behind the screen are interacting in that area, probably the most, if I were to summarize.

Pete: Well, I think that that is actually where AI comes in the most, to be honest with you. Let’s say that your client manufactures pickup trucks. Well, why are people buying your pickup truck versus someone else? How did those customers — marketers always say the customers actually position your brand. Marketers don’t position the brand, right? The consumer positions the brand, not marketers. So if we can take all the content from influencers about pickup trucks over the last eight months, it’s probably a million pieces of content. I can’t actually go through all that content to pull out nuggets, but I can put that through AI.

What AI will do is they will look at all of that content and they will pick out themes like within two seconds: Towing capabilities, technology, interior comfort, all these different benefits. Then you can then stack rank how your brand fits within each one of those based off of mentions. So if your pickup truck is mentioned the fewest times in terms of towing capability and the few times you were mentioned, you have the worst sentiment. Everyone’s saying your towing capabilities are horrible. You as a marketer was like, I think our towing capability’s amazing. Well, the market doesn’t and the people who move culture are actually saying the opposite of what you think. 

So as a marketer, my strategy now on the why could be, oh, towing capabilities important for this industry because it’s the most talked about benefit with all the benefits of the pickup truck and we’re the worst. We probably need to create a campaign around our towing capabilities. Maybe we need to go back to the product team and say, listen, our towing capability sucks. We need to make it better. But I think AI allows you to filter all this data to understand what are the benefits and where do you stack up along those benefits?

Ryan: There’s obviously positive use that Tagger has with AI. Another thing that is a benefit to us is being able to sniff out fake followers and bots and things of that nature too. As AI becomes more sophisticated, as there are deeper fakes, things like that, is there a roadmap that Tagger has to help marketers at scale, identify where there’s nefarious content? Where we’re to avoid certain areas so that when we are looking at a plan with 2000 content creators on it, that we’re able to get the 200 out that may be coming from a negative place to make sure that we’re focusing our spend on what’s gonna move the needle and what matters?

Pete: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think that fake followers is definitely something that is important but there’s two things that I think are even more important. 

One, it’s content, right? That’s what we’re also seeing. Like I said, we’re selling into all these different departments, but that influencer content is being used across the entire customer journey. So for example, yeah, you’re gonna run a campaign and it’s gonna be an awareness building campaign, or maybe you’re trying to get conversion. But that customer journey, okay, they’re gonna see that influencer content and then they’re gonna start to see other social media ads about that brand. As you know, you have to see something multiple times before you go buy it. Well, what we know is that influencer content performs 300% better than branded content — on TikTok It’s like 3000% better. Why? Because it’s user generated content and does better than branded content. So now we’re seeing all this influencer content being used in paid media ads and then when you go onto these product pages on an e-commerce site, we’re seeing influencer content because again, it does better than branded content. 

Then when we look at like cart abandonment emails, they’re AB testing that with influencer content, it’s actually converting better. So all the way along this customer journey, what you’re seeing is the influencer content. So yes, if your sole purpose is I just want to go out and buy an influencer, hire their audience essentially, and use that as my conversion, yes, fake followers is super important – but to me it’s like, let’s go find creators who make amazing content. Who creates content that’s authentic to themselves and authentic to their audiences because we, through our affinity data, we can really understand, like, do these audiences care about these things? Then let’s go take that content and use it across our entire e-commerce, our entire customer journey so that we’re getting the most outta that content. So fake followers are becoming a little less. 

Then we’re also looking at more in terms of first party data and saying, well, do certain influencers convert better than other influencers do? When you start to be able to get more and more of that data, then it’s like, Ryan, you might have a hundred thousand followers and maybe 50% of them are fake, but you convert better in healthcare than anyone else. I don’t really care. Now, maybe what that means is instead of paying you based off of your a hundred thousand followers, yeah, I’m gonna pay you based off of you having 50,000 followers, but if I know that your conversion is so high, your followers don’t really matter because I’m paying you based off of what you’re gonna convert from me anyways. Again, not always. There’s multiple ways to think about that and I think fake followers are getting less and less relevant and more about, well, what can we do with this data and what’s our ROI on this campaign as a whole?

Ryan: Switching gears a little bit. Thinking about brands that really do well in the content marketing space, there’s obviously some brands that have built the almost entirety of their marketing function around influencers. I have some brands that don’t spend a dime on influencers and that are performing very well for themselves. 

What are a couple examples that you see of brands that are using creators and influencers appropriately, making it part of their bigger ecosystem, but using that to really drive their brand growth, their conversion growth, their sales, all of it? 

Pete: Companies that do it well are finding influencers that are authentic to their brand category, but whose audiences also care about those things. I think Lululemon’s done a really interesting job of this, because yes, they’re out there promoting all of their clothing, which is great. But they’re also partnering with mental health influencers as well because they know that that’s an important part. So when brands are partnering with influencers to, yes, talk about their products, but more importantly they’re talking about things that matter to their audience. Mental health is something that matters to their audience and they realize that. 

So, back in the day, influencer content used to be polished and beautiful and just everything. And now it’s real because people are looking for social connection and they’re kind of rejecting this social comparison, you know? I think that companies like Lululemon have realized that. You’re gonna see every size model in their content, you’re gonna see them talking about issues, not about working out, but about mental health, things that matter to their consumer. 

Then another company that I think did some interesting stuff was Behr Paint. They create paints and they have a bunch of different colors and they partnered with Emily Zugay and she’s this hilarious influencer that basically takes all of her paints and then she destroys the paint colors and renames them. So she might take like, green or something and call it like, cute green or way more clever than what I’m gonna come up with. But again, it’s kind of rejecting this high gloss social comparison and being real and hilarious. Brands are able now to kind of take the polish off of themselves, I think which is kind of interesting as well. Letting an influencer who, this is what she does, and that’s why she has a big audience, literally kind of like destroy the brand in a way because, you know, that that’s what people are looking for. So I think those are two pretty interesting examples. But, there’s hundreds of brands that are doing a great job of promoting their companies, but really bringing in social issues that matter to their audience, which is gonna be different from a brand next door whose audience is completely different.

Ryan: Very brave of Behr to strip off the gloss, so to speak. I think that leads into my next question: what changes do you predict will come in influencer marketing over the next couple of years? You’ve talked about the change from that curated content to a lot of more unfiltered content brands that are looking to partner with longer term ambassadors. Then just one-off activations with individual influencers as I’m sure you’re looking at how your company’s going to grow with the recent acquisition. Where do you see the marketplace going?

Pete: Yeah, again, I think that you’re gonna see more and more influencer content being used across the entire customer journey. I think that’s gonna be a big shift. Honestly, though, I think AI is gonna be a major addition to the influencer marketing process. Again, it’s not gonna replace anyone’s job, it’s just gonna allow them to be better at what they do. 

So a couple examples would be, just sending out communications with creators, being able to analyze that creator’s content and their voice, and then writing emails to these creators. You have to ask these people to work with your brand and not every creator wants to work with your brand. So being able to create a voice that’s gonna resonate with the creator using AI and be able to do this across a hundred influencers at the same time, is gonna make you way more efficient in your job. So that’s one quick example. 

Another example is just to take all of your content as a brand and look across all these creators instantaneously to find that perfect match of tone and thought and content in order to find those right creators. I also love this idea. AI does a great job of summarizing content. What it doesn’t do a good job of yet is to say, hey, here’s what’s happening in my industry. I have a hundred thousand dollars. How should I spend that? It can’t do that yet. I think in the future it might be able to, because again, it can just summarize data pretty well, but it can’t tell you how to spend your money. 

Ryan: So can I surmise that there may be some changes or enhancements to your platform that artificial intelligence is gonna be able to fuel?

Pete: Oh, we’re already doing it right now. So, I’ve already seen a lot of this. Like I’ve seen all this stuff already on our platform. We’re still developing it and we’ll be launching it over the next month or two, but yeah, it’s just gonna make your life so much easier.

Ryan: Coegi’s going to be a beta tester for that.

Pete: A hundred percent. I mean, there are certain agencies that are thought leaders and you guys are ahead of the curve with most of this stuff. So obviously we always look for partnerships with you guys to help us drive that product development. That’s really where our product development happens, is with you guys, it’s like, what do you guys need? What are you guys thinking about how the market’s going and how can we build based on those needs?

Ryan: Well, we’re excited to see what that looks like both, with the quick wins and those longer ones that’s fresh off the press. I’m really excited to continue to partner with you. 

Pete: Amazing. Thanks, Ryan.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

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MediaPost – Why All Marketing Should Be Niche

There are very few institutions in American life (besides maybe Taylor Swift) that are truly ubiquitous today — not sports, higher education, the Supreme Court, or even beer.  Mass appeal is still possible, but there are strong headwinds to this approach.

In this article from MediaPost, Coegi’s SVP of Marketing and Innovation, Ryan Green, discusses why brands should ditch the mass messaging and turn their focus on niche audiences in today’s landscape.

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